Chess

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The unofficial world pecking order has undergone some adjustments as a result of events this year. At the highest level the two world champions, Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, have been joined by Vladimir Kramnik, who has shown a consistent ability to perform as well as or better than the other two.

Next come Anand, Kamsky and Ivanchuk, none of whom would cause great surprise if they finished ahead of the super-trio in any event. And close behind them lurk a dangerous group that includes Shirov, Gelfand, Adams, Short and Topalov, four of whom are currently in action in Madrid.

As the scores after five rounds show, they are not having everything their own way: Salov shares the lead with Illescas on 31/2 points, followed by Azmaiparashviliand Gelfand 3; Adams and Shirov 21/2; Morozhevich 2; Korchnoi 11/2; San Segundo 1/2.

Gelfand, who normally specialises in long games of massive strategic complexity, has been having an unusuallybexciting time with the shortest win in round four and the quickest loss in round five.

Here's the first of them:

White: Alexei Shirov

Black: Boris Gelfand

1 e4 c5 15 Bxb6 Nxb6

2 Nf3 d6 16 Bh3 Ra8

3 d4 cxd4 17 Nc6 g6

4 Nxd4 Nf6 18 f4 h6

5 Nc3 a6 19 f5 hxg5

6 Be3 e5 20 Qd3 Rxh3

7 Nb3 Be6 21 Qxh3 Nxd5

8 f3 Nbd7 22 fxg6 Qxc6

9 Qd2 b5 23 gxf7+ Ke7

10 g4 Nb6 24 0-0-0 Rc8

11 g5 Nfd7 25 Qf5 Ne3

12 Nd5 Bxd5 26 Qxg5+ Kd7

13 exd5 Rc8 27 c3 Qe4

14 Na5 Qc7

Dspite his fine knight at c6, the raggedness of White's position was exposed by 18...h6! and 20...Rxh3! At the end 28.Kd2 is most simply met by 28...Nc4+ 29.Kc1 Qh7 30.Qg4+ Kc7 with Bh6 to follow. And here's what happened the next day:

White: Boris Gelfand

Black: Miguel Illescas

1 d4 Nf6 11 Qd3 f5

2 Nf3 e6 12 Bb2 Rf6

3 c4 Bb4+ 13 d5 Rg6

4 Nbd2 b6 14 dxe6 Nf8

5 a3 Bxd2+ 15 c5 Nxe6

6 Qxd2 Bb7 16 cxd6 cxd6

7 e3 0-0 17 Rad1 Kh8

8 Be2 d6 18 Ne1 N6g5

9 0-0 Nbd7 19 Kh1 Nh3

10 b4 Ne4 White resigns

Strategically impeccable. Pity about the tactics.

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