With two rounds left to play at Wijk aan Zee, Viswanathan Anand is half a point ahead of Alexei Shirov and Vladimir Kramnik. Full scores: Anand 71/2; Shirov and Kramnik 7; Timman, Topalov and Adams 6; Karpov, Polgar and Gelfand 51/2; Piket 5; Salov 41/2; van Wely and Nijboer 4; van der Sterren 31/2.

Karpov lifted his score back up to 50 per cent with a win against van der Sterren. His moderate results in this event, however, will only increase the criticism of his victory in the recent world championship in which he was given a bye directly into the final while his eventual challenger, Anand, had to fight his way through 23 hard qualifying games.

According to the February issue of the British Chess Magazine, Garry Kasparov plans a defence of "his" world title at the end of the year. He will play against the winner of a challengers' tournament that will include Anand and Kramnik but not, he says, Karpov, who is "a player of the past, like Bobby Fischer".

Kramnik showed his remarkable powers in an 11th round win against Judit Polgar at Wijk aan Zee. After the exchange of queens, it hardly looked as though Black stood better, but White's game fell apart with great speed. After 38...a4! and 39...Re4, White could not get her pieces off the long diagonal quickly enough.

White: Judit Polgar

Black: Vladimir Kramnik

1 e4 c5 25 Qh5 Qe8

2 Nf3 Nc6 26 fxe5 Qxe5

3 d4 cxd4 27 Be2 f4

4 Nxd4 Nf6 28 Nc4 Qxh5

5 Nc3 e5 29 Bxh5 Bb5

6 Ndb5 d6 30 Bxg6 hxg6

7 Bg5 a6 31 Rf3 Be5

8 Na3 b5 32 Nxe5 dxe5

9 Nd5 Be7 33 c4 Bc6

10 Bxf6 Bxf6 34 Re1 Rfe8

11 c3 0-0 35 g3 g5

12 Nc2 Bg5 36 gxf4 exf4

13 a4 bxa4 37 Rxe8+ Rxe8

14 Rxa4 a5 38 h4 a4

15 Bc4 Rb8 39 bxa4 Re4

16 b3 Kh8 40 Kg1 Rxc4

17 0-0 g6 41 Rd3 g4

18 Kh1 Bh6 42 a5 g3

19 Qe2 Bd7 43 Rd1 f3

20 Raa1 f5 44 Ne7 f2+

21 exf5 gxf5 45 Kf1 Bb5

22 f4 Bg7 46 Kg2 Rc2

23 Rad1 Ne7 White resigns

24 Nce3 Ng6