The Smith & Williamson British Championship, currently in progress in Hove, is not only the strongest for many years; it also looks like developing into one of the most exciting. With four rounds left to play, three players share first place, hotly pursued by a pack of nine half- a-point behind. Leading scores: Adams, Kosten and Miles 51/2; Sadler, Gallagher, Ward, Hebden, Ledger, Martin, Emms, Summerscale and Turner 5.

In the seventh round, the defending champion Chris Ward showed that he is not ready to surrender his title without a fight when he held the favourite, Michael Adams, to a comfortable draw with the black pieces. With Aaron Summerscale, who started the round sharing the lead with Adams, losing to Tony Kosten, this allowed Tony Miles to catch up by beating Simon Ansell.

Miles's win was typical of the style that has kept him at the top since he became Britain's first grandmaster 21 years ago: a slightly off-beat opening to catch his opponent off guard, then a demonstration that he had understood the resulting position better.

The opening should have been good for White, but once he had been lured into playing a3 and b4, Miles had the advantage and never let go.

White: Simon Ansell

Black: Tony Miles

1 e4 e5 24 fxg5 Bxg5

2 Nf3 Nc6 25 Kf2 Rd8

3 Bb5 Nf6 26 Be3 Bxe3+

4 0-0 Nxe4 27 Kxe3 Kxe5

5 d4 Nd6 28 Nxa4 Ra8

6 Bxc6 dxc6 29 Nb2 Rxa3+

7 dxe5 Nf5 30 Kd2+ Kf6

8 Qxd8+ Kxd8 31 Nc4 Rg3

9 Nc3 Ke8 32 Rf2 Ke6

10 b3 a5 33 Re2+ Kd7

11 Bb2 Bb4 34 Ne5+ Ke7

12 Ne4 a4 35 Nxc6+ Kd6

13 a3 Be7 36 Nd4 Bg6

14 b4 Be6 37 Nf3 Bf5

15 Rad1 Rd8 38 Nd4 Be6

16 h3 h5 39 Rf2 Rg5

17 Nd4 Nxd4 40 Kd3 Bd5

18 Rxd4 Rxd4 41 Nf5 Ke5

19 Bxd4 b6 42 Ne3 Be4+

20 Re1 Kd7 43 Kd2 f5

21 Nc3 Bf5 44 b5 Rg3

22 Re2 Ke6 45 Ke2 f4

23 f4 g5 46 Nc4+ 0-1