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Dharshan Kumaran's chess career seemed to stall after he shared first place in the 1993 British Championship. He lost the play-off to Michael Hennigan and has rarely shown the same form since. At the Drury Lane Grandmasters tournament this week, however, Kumaran, who is still at Oxford University, finally earned his grandmaster title by sharing second place with Lalic, behind the clear winner, John Emms. Kumaran needed to win in the last round to reach the norm of six points, and did it with a very polished performance.

From a Caro-Kann Defence, the game transposed into a line of the Nimzo- Indian with which Karpov had a great deal of success some 20 years ago. Black solved his opening problems with 15...Qe8! and 17...a6 (when 18.Bxf6 axb5 19.Bh4 Bxf3 favours Black). As the game went, White put his faith in his bishop pair, and probably thought he was doing well after 22.Bg3, when Nxg2 loses to 23.d5.

Kumaran seized the initiative with 23...b5! when White should have settled for a slight, but manageable disadvantage with 24.cxb5 Bd5. Instead he drifted into a bad endgame, which Black handled with perfect delicacy.

White: J Agaard

Black: D Kumaran

1 e4 c6 27 Bxe7 Rxe7

2 d4 d5 28 Qa5 Bc6

3 exd5 cxd5 29 f3 Rd7

4 c4 Nf6 30 Rd1 e5

5 Nc3 e6 31 d5 Rxd5

6 Nf3 Bb4 32 Rxd5 Bxd5

7 Bd3 dxc4 33 a4 Qc6

8 Bxc4 0-0 34 Qb6 Qxb6

9 0-0 b6 35 cxb6 bxa4

10 Bg5 Bb7 36 Bxa6 a3

11 Re1 Nbd7 37 Bc4 Bb7

12 Rc1 Rc8 38 Kf2 Kf8

13 Qb3 Bxc3 39 Ke3 Ke7

14 Rxc3 h6 40 Kd3 Kd6

15 Bh4 Qe8 41 Bxf7 Kc5

16 Bb5 Rxc3 42 Kc3 Kxb6

17 bxc3 a6 43 Kb4 Ba6

18 Bf1 Qa8 44 Kxa3 Kc5

19 Ne5 Nxe5 45 Bg6 Kd4

20 Rxe5 Nd5 46 Kb4 Bf1

21 c4 Nf4 47 g3 Be2

22 Bg3 Ng6 48 f4 e4

23 Re1 b5 49 f5 e3

24 c5 Bd5 50 Kb3 Bd1+

25 Qc3 Ne7 White resigns

26 Bd6 Re8