The tournament currently in progress in Madrid will play an important part in defining more accurately the pecking order at the top of world chess. At the moment, there are three levels of mega-grandmasters. At the top, despite his recent humiliation at the hands of a machine, is Garry Kasparov. Behind him come Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik and Anatoly Karpov. None of those four is playing in Madrid, but most of the chasing group are there, led by Nigel Short, Judit Polgar, Valery Salov, Veselin Topalov and Alexei Shirov.

After three rounds, Topalov leads with 21/2 points, half a point ahead of Polgar, Salov, Shirov and Akopyan. Nigel Short won in the first round against San Segundo, but has since registered a loss to Topalov and a draw with Illescas.

The following cheerful miniature comes from round two and is the quickest decisive game so far.

Once White had played 10.g4, the game became a battle over control of the black squares. Shirov's 16...Bh6! was the intelligent way to get on with his strategic plan, rather than delay matters by recapturing on f6. White promptly dug his own grave with 18.f7+? and 19.Qxb7? missing the point that 21.Qxa6 Qxf2! would be disastrous for him.

White: P San Segundo

Black: A Shirov

1 d4 Nf6 12 Qxb3 Qh4

2 Nf3 g6 13 Rg1 Bh6

3 c4 Bg7 14 g5 Bg7

4 Nc3 0-0 15 0-0-0 f5

5 e4 d6 16 gxf6 Bh6

6 h3 e5 17 Na4 Bd7

7 d5 a5 18 f7+ Rxf7

8 Be3 Na6 19 Qxb7 Bxa4

9 Nd2 Nd7 20 Qxa8+ Rf8

10 g4 Ndc5 21 Qxf8+ Kxf8

11 Nb3 Nxb3 White resigned

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