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The Independent Culture
The Credit Suisse Masters tournament ended earlier this week in a tie for first place between Vladimir Kramnik and Vassily Ivanchuk. After Anand's disintegration in New York last month, these two have established themselves as the men most likely to succeed Karpov and Kasparov at the top of the chess world.

Kramnik owed his share of first place to a fine win against Vaganyan in the penultimate round. Black must have been content after 13...Qh4 forced White to take the pressure off the centre with f4. With White's pawns fixed on the same colour as his bishop, Black had good prospects, but 15.c5! changed all that. For the price of a pawn, White brought all his pieces into play and developed a strong bind on Black's Q-side.

Exchanging pieces usually eases the task of the defender, but 25.Bd4! increased the pressure by getting rid of Black's only piece.

Vaganyan went into contortions trying to develop his knight, but after 30.Nxc8 it had nowhere to run. 30...Rb7 loses to 31.Qxb7 Qxb7 32.Rd8+ Kf7 33.Nd6+. Black's last gasp of 30...Qa3, hoping for 31.Qxb8 Qxe3+, was firmly extinguished by some well-chosen checks.

White: Vladimir Kramnik

Black: Rafael Vaganyan

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 d4 e6 3 c4 b6 4 a3 Bb7 5 Nc3 Ne4 6 Nxe4 Bxe4 7 e3 Be7 8 Bd3 d5 9 Bxe4 dxe4 10 Nd2 f5 11 f3 Bd6 12 Qa4+ c6 13 0-0 Qh4 14 f4 0-0 15 c5 bxc5 16 Nc4 Qe7 17 dxc5 Bxc5 18 b4 Bd6 19 Bb2 Bc7 20 Rfd1 c5 21 bxc5 Qxc5 22 Rac1 Qe7 23 Qb5 Bb6 24 a4 Bc5 25 Bd4 Bxd4 26 Rxd4 a6 27 Qb6 Ra7 28 Nd6 Rd7 29 Rc8 Rxc8 30 Nxc8 Qa3 31 Qxe6+ Kf8 32 Qxf5+ Ke8 33 Qe6+ Kd8 34 Qb6+ Ke8 35 Nd6+ 1-0