Happy birthday Judit Polgar! I'm a day late celebrating your 21st, but that chap who writes the Creativity column wrote so much yesterday that I felt I couldn't do you justice in the slim space left for chess.

Now that you're an old lady of 21, it's nearly six years since you became the youngest grandmaster ever - and that record has now been broken by both Peter Leko and Etienne Bacrot. Meanwhile, you have progressed to 13th place in the world rankings (or 12th if we exclude Gata Kamsky, who has had enough of chess for the time being). Not bad for a 21-year-old, but the really encouraging point is that there's no one younger than you in a higher place. Yet Kramnik and Topalov are only a year older than you, and they're already in second and fourth places. You've a lot of work to do in the next 12 months if you're to catch them up.

This year, you seem to have moved into a higher gear. In four tournaments - in Dos Hermanas, Linares, Madrid and Dortmund - you've shown that you can be a threat to the very best. It's the raw energy of your play that I find so exciting, as you showed in this game against Jeroen Piket in Linares. Your sacrifice of two pawns in the opening was bold, but what showed real class was the cool way in which you refused to win them back until the time was ripe. And the way you won a piece, then gave it back for a mating finish, was most impressive.

White: Jeroen Piket

Black: Judit Polgar

1 d4 Nf6 25 d5 Nf5

2 c4 g6 26 Qa4 Nh5

3 Nc3 d5 27 Ne2 Bf6

4 Nf3 Bg7 28 Bg5 Qxb2

5 Qb3 dxc4 29 Bf3 Nhg7

6 Qxc4 0-0 30 Qe4 Nd6

7 e4 a6 31 Qg4 Ngf5

8 e5 b5 32 Nf4 Nf7

9 Qb3 Nfd7 33 Be4 Ne5

10 Be3 c5 34 Qh3 Nd4

11 e6 c4 35 Bh6 Bg7

12 exf7+ Rxf7 36 Bg5 Qb4

13 Qd1 Nb6 37 Qe3 h6

14 Ne5 Rf7 38 Nxg6+ Nxg6

15 a4 Bb7 39 Bxh6 Nf4

16 axb5 axb5 40 Bxg7+ Kxg7

17 Rxa8 Bxa8 41 Kh1 Nde2

18 Nxb5 N8d7 42 Bf3 Ng6

19 Nxc4 Kh8 43 Bxe2 Qxh4+

20 h4 Bxg2 44 Kg1 Rh8

21 Bxg2 Nxc4 45 Qc3+ Kf7

22 0-0 Qb8 46 Qf3+ Nf4

23 Nc3 Nf6 White resigned

24 Bc1 Nd6

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