Chess: It's a knock-out event in Tilburg

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The Independent Culture
THE INTERPOLIS tournament in Tilburg, the Netherlands, has just begun with 112 contestants - mainly grandmasters - competing in a massive knock-out event. Sixteen top players, including last year's winner, England's Michael Adams, have been seeded into the second round, while the other 96 are engaged in two-game matches to determine the other qualifiers.

Of the three English grandmasters involved in first-round matches, Jonathan Speelman and Tony Miles won their opening games against Dutch players, while Julian Hodgson drew. Speelman's win was achieved in typically patient style, Hodgson drew an equally characteristic brief but wild game, ending with neither player daring to diverge from repeating moves, while Miles showed excellent understanding in turning an apparently unpretentious opening idea into a powerful attack.

By playing 7. e3]? where one would normally expect the pawn to advance two squares, Miles avoided both sharp theoretical lines and giving his opponent an object of attack on e4. Only after he had all the central squares well covered, and his pieces developed, did he push forward with f3 and e4. Black seemed totally confused by this novel approach and once Miles had the position he wanted, the push with f4 and e5 came quickly. Black's 24 . . . a5 led to the win of the d- pawn, but this only seemed to give White more lines of attack. Once the position was opened, the end was swift.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Miles Black: De Kleuver ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 d4 Nf6 20 f4 c4 2 Nf3 e6 21 Qf3 Nd7 3 c4 c5 22 Nb4 Nc5 4 d5 exd5 23 e5 Qd7 5 cxd5 d6 24 Be3 a5 6 Nc3 g6 25 Bxc5 bxc5 7 e3 Bg7 26 Nc6 Nxd5 8 Be2 0-0 27 Nxd5 Rxc6 9 0-0 Na6 28 Rd1 Kh8 10 Ne1 Nc7 29 Rfe1 Qc8 11 a4 b6 30 Nf6 Rd8 12 Nc2 Ba6 31 Qd5 Rf8 13 Bxa6 Nxa6 32 Qxc4 dxe5 14 Qd3 Nc7 33 Nd7 Rd8 15 Rb1 Re8 34 Nxe5 Rc7 16 Bd2 Qe7 35 Rxd8+ Qxd8 17 f3 Qe5 36 Nxf7+ Rxf7 18 e4 Qe7 37 Qxf7 1-0 19 Rbe1 Rac8 -----------------------------------------------------------------

Among the casualties of the round was Vassily Smyslov, now perhaps the strongest 70-year-old of all time, who was beaten in 29 moves by Shabalov, who was not even born when Smyslov was world champion 35 years ago. Smyslov must now win the second game to have a chance of going into the second round.

Meanwhile, in Monaco, the women's world title match seems close to finishing. Xie Jun of China leads Nana Joseliani by 71 2 -21 2 and needs only one draw from the last six games to retain her title. Considering both players had identical world ratings at the start of the match (2470 on the Elo scale) the champion's domination of the contest has been remarkable.