Twenty years after his first victory in a world championship match, Anatoly Karpov has shown what a formidable contestant he still is by winning the Fide title again - this time at the expense of Viswanathan Anand in a quick-play play-off which the fast-moving Indian had been widely tipped to win.

The play-off became necessary on Thursday night, when Anand won the final encounter of their six-game final to level the scores at 3-3. So on Friday, Karpov, who cannot have slept well after playing so miserably to throw away his chance to take the match, and in any case has always been far less impressive than Anand at quick-play, began the play-off as a distinct underdog. As he showed, however, he was an underdog with a ferocious bite.

Karpov played White in the first game, with each player receiving an initial allocation of 25 minutes, with 10 seconds added to the clock for each moved completed. After a quiet opening, the critical moment came after Karpov sacrificed (or lost) a Q-side pawn. After 42...Bd7, Black can play Re7, with a probable draw, but Anand gambled with 42...Nd4? and soon found himself defending a hopeless position.

White: Anatoly Karpov

Black: Viswanathan Anand

Play-off: Game One

1 Nf3 d5 32 Bh3 Nb6

2 g3 Nf6 33 Rbc1 c4

3 Bg2 c6 34 bxc4 Nxa4

4 0-0 Bg4 35 c5 Qe7

5 d3 Nbd7 36 Ra3 Nxc5

6 Nbd2 e6 37 Rac3 Ncb3

7 e4 Be7 38 Rc7 Qf6

8 Qe2 0-0 39 R1c3 Nxf3+

9 h3 Bh5 40 Qxf3 a4

10 Re1 dxe4 41 Qxf6 gxf6

11 dxe4 e5 42 Bd7 Nd4

12 b3 Qc7 43 Bxe8 Ne2+

13 Bb2 Rfe8 44 Kg2 Nxc3

14 Qf1 Rad8 45 Bxf7+ Kf8

15 a3 b5 46 Bxg6 Nb5

16 Bc3 Bf8 47 Rf7+ Kg8

17 Nh4 Nc5 48 Rxf6 Ra8

18 Bf3 Bg6 49 h5 a3

19 Nxg6 hxg6 50 h6 a2

20 Bg2 a6 51 Bf7+ Kh7

21 Qe2 Ne6 52 Bxa2 Rxa2

22 Nf3 Nd7 53 g4 Nc3

23 a4 b4 54 g5 Nxe4

24 Bb2 a5 55 Rf7+ Kg6

25 c3 bxc3 56 Rg7+ Kf5

26 Bxc3 Rb8 57 h7 Rxf2+

27 Rab1 Bb4 58 Kg1 Kg4

28 Rec1 Bxc3 59 h8=Q Kg3

29 Rxc3 c5 60 Re7 Rg2+

30 Qe3 Qd6 61 Kf1 Nd2+

31 h4 Nd4 62 Ke1 resigns

That left Anand, for the third time in the match, one game behind. But this time he never looked like coming back. In the second play-off game, Karpov met Anand's Trompowsky opening in a much sounder manner than in game six of the match proper. Anand sacrificed a pawn in the hope of a Q-side initiative, but he may have overlooked 15...c4 which left Black a sound two pawns ahead. 23.Ng6 was a last desperate fling, but never looked like working.

White: Viswanathan Anand

Black: Anatoly Karpov

Play-off: Game Two

1 d4 d5 18 Rcb1 Bd6

2 Bg5 h6 19 e4 Nxh4

3 Bh4 c6 20 Nxh4 Rb8

4 Nf3 Qb6 21 Rxb8+ Bxb8

5 b3 Bf5 22 exd5 cxd5

6 e3 Nd7 23 Ng6 fxg6

7 Bd3 Bxd3 24 Qxg6+ Kd8

8 Qxd3 e6 25 Qxg7 Re8

9 c4 Ne7 26 Qxh6 Qa5

10 c5 Qa5 27 Qg5+ Kc8

11 Nc3 b6 28 Qg6 Rf8

12 b4 Qxb4 29 Rc1 Qb6

13 0-0 Nf5 30 Ne2 e5

14 Rfc1 bxc5 31 Qh5 Qf6

15 Rab1 c4 32 Rf1 Rh8

16 Qc2 Qa5 White resigned

17 Rb7 Qa6