Chess

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Vladimir Kramnik has moved into the sole lead in Dos Hermanas after a smooth sixth round win against Judit Polgar and a steady draw in round seven with Nigel Short. With two rounds left to play, scores are now Kramnik 5; Anand 41/2; Gelfand, Topalov and Polgar 4; Karpov 31/2; Salov, Short and Shirov 3; Illescas 1.

When the sixth round began, Kramnik, Anand and Polgar were sharing the lead. Anand drew an exciting game with Karpov, leaving Kramnik to go ahead with the following victory.

Playing Black in a French Defence exchange variation, he found a challenging set-up with 4...Nc6 (unusually blocking his c-pawn) and 9...Be6!? willingly accepting an isolated e-pawn.

Perhaps White would have done better to attack e6 immediately with 11.Qe2 or 11.Re1 instead of waiting until after she had played Nc3. As a result, Black's queen was allowed to emerge to an active posting on g6. The critical moment, however, came after 19...e5.

Exchanging pawns would leave White with a permanently inferior pawn structure, so Polgar went for complications with a pawn sacrifice. After 24.Ne4, Black seemed to be in trouble: 24...Qa3 25.c5 Bxc5 26.Qc4+ costs him a piece, but 24...Nd4! which must have been foreseen several moves earlier, preserved his advantage. As the game went, 27.Qc4+ would have been met by Ne6.

White: Judit Polgar

Black: Vladimir Kramnik

French Defence

1 e4 e6 24 Ne4 Nd4

2 d4 d5 25 Qf1 Qc6

3 exd5 exd5 26 c5 Bxc5

4 Nf3 Nc6 27 Rc1 b6

5 Bd3 Bd6 28 Qa6 h5

6 0-0 Nge7 29 Rh4 Qg6

7 c4 dxc4 30 Qc4+ Ref7

8 Bxc4 0-0 31 Rc3 Nf3+

9 h3 Be6 32 Rxf3 Rxf3

10 Bxe6 fxe6 33 Be1 Be7

11 Nc3 Qe8 34 Nd2 Bxh4

12 Re1 Qg6 35 Nxf3 Bf6

13 Re4 Rae8 36 Nd2 Kh7

14 Qe2 Nd5 37 Ne4 Rd7

15 Rg4 Qf5 38 Bc3 c5

16 Bh6 Rf7 39 Qe2 Kg8

17 Nh4 Nxc3 40 Qc4+ Qf7

18 bxc3 Qa5 41 Qe2 c4

19 Bd2 e5 42 f4 Rd3

20 Nf3 Ree7 43 f5 Be7

21 d5 Qxd5 44 g4 Rxh3

22 c4 Qc5 White resigns

23 Ng5 Rf5

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