So it's Nigel Short against Michael Adams in the world championship, with the winner playing Anand or Gelfand for the right to challenge Anatoly Karpov. With two Englishmen, one Indian and one player from Belarus as the last survivors of the knock-out stage, we have - until Karpov joins in - the rare spectacle of a world championship without any Russians.

Adams won through in a quick-play play-off against Loek van Wely in a game of great excitement. After two draws in their match proper, they drew their first play-off game in which the players each began with 25 minutes on their clocks, and gained an extra 10 seconds for each move played. The second game, played at the same rapid rate, ended with Van Wely having used up his main time allowance and having to survive on the emergency supplies of 10 seconds a move. At the end, he fumbled and knocked a piece over when playing his 41st move and was unable to complete the move in time.

It was hardly surprising that both players ran short of time - the game was full of complexity from start to finish. Adams's old favourite, the Trompowsky Attack, was met in uncompromising style by Van Wely, who chased White's impertinent bishop with f6, g5 and h5, finally inducing a weakness in the white pawn formation when he forced a recapture on g3 with the f-pawn.

To achieve that, he had to pay the price of letting his king be chased to d7. For the rest of the game, the safety of his king was a major concern and he needed to spend a good deal of time making sure that it was well- enough protected.

Threading his way through the tactics, he survived Adams's attacking plans and it looked as though the game could go either way. Coming under pressure again, Van Wely gave up his queen for rook and bishop and seemed to have a good chance of establishing a blockade. Adams infiltrated with his queen, however, and then came the fatal fumble.

At the end, White was probably winning anyway. He had intended to play 42.Qh7, followed by Bg6 to exchange the white-squared bishops and then use his queen to pick off the black pawn on h5.

White: Michael Adams

Black: Loek van Wely

Trompowsky opening

1 d4 d5 22 dxc6 bxc6

2 Bg5 f6 23 Qc2 Qa5

3 Bh4 Nc6 24 Nd4 Bd7

4 e3 Nh6 25 Ne4 e5

5 Bd3 Nf5 26 Ne2 Nxe4

6 Nf3 h5 27 Bxe4 Qc5

7 Bg3 Nb4 28 Nc3 Be7

8 e4 dxe4 29 Rc1 Ra5

9 Bxe4 g5 30 Rhd1 Rd8

10 c3 Nd5 31 Qe2 Be8

11 h3 Nxg3 32 Rxd8 Kxd8

12 Bg6+ Kd7 33 a3 Bd6

13 fxg3 c6 34 Qf3 Ke7

14 c4 Nb6 35 Qf5 Qc4

15 Qe2 Qc7 36 Nd5+ cxd5

16 Qf2 Nxc4 37 Rxc4 dxc4

17 Nc3 Qb6 38 Qh7+ Kd8

18 0-0-0 Kc7 39 Qg8 Ke7

19 Qe2 Nd6 40 Qxc4 Rc5

20 Kb1 a5 41 Qg8 Bf7

21 d5 a4 Black lost on time