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The Independent Online
PLAY STARTED yesterday in the second round of the Fide knockout world championship in Las Vegas, with 28 players seeded. Happily, in contrast to the events in Groningen and then Lausanne a year and a half ago, nobody is seeded any further. Adding in the 36 survivors from round one, there is a full complement of 64 who will fight it out to the final match between 22 and 29 August.

Not that this equitable arrangement has pleased the current Fide champion. After months of indecision Anatoly Karpov declined his second- round place but signalled his intention to take Fide to the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, where he will demand the right to "defend his title" against the winner from Las Vegas. No doubt you could find human beings on the planet apart from Mr Karpov himself and his lawyer, Mr Shiloh Quinn, who support him. But not, thus far, in my straw poll in Vegas - my "expletive per competitor" count in reaction to the news is about two.

The first round on Saturday and Sunday, with play-offs on Monday, already saw immense bloodshed. As reported yesterday, I scrambled through against Pablo Ricardi from Argentina. Tony Miles, having lost the first game badly, showed superb resolve against Ralf Akesson from Sweden to equalise the score by effectively winning twice, having blundered his extra pawn just before the first time control. He went on to win the tie-break and qualify for round two.

Other notable fight-backs came from the Russian Alexander Khalifman, who had lost his first game to the Indian Dibyendu Barua, and Sergei Dolmatov who fought back after the shattering loss below.

In a Kan Sicilian Black has already at least equalised after 10 ...d5 and quickly gained the advantage. 23 ...Qxe4!! decided matters: if 24 Rxb2 (24 Nxe4 Rxd1 mate) Qe1+ 25 Rxe1 Rxe1+ 26 Nf1 Rdd1 27 h4 Rxf1+ 28 Kh2 Rh1 is mate.

White: Sergei Dolmatov

Black: Pavel Kotsur

Sicilian Kan

To follow Las Vegas games live, join the Internet Chess Club (http://www.chessclub. com) or see Mark Crowther's home page (

In the British Chess Championship at Scarborough Julian Hodgson, Alexander Baburin, John Emms, Stuart Conquest, Bogdan Lalic, Joe Gallagher, Mark Hebden, Chris Ward, Peter Wells and Jonathan Rowson all powered their way to first-round wins. Surprisingly, the Indian boy star Krisna Susikiran lost to Jovanka Houska.

1 e4 c5

2 Nf3 e6

3 d4 cxd4

4 Nxd4 a6

5 Bd3 g6

6 c4 Bg7

7 Nb3 Ne7

8 Nc3 0-0

9 0-0 Nbc6

10 Bf4 d5

11 cxd5 exd5

12 Qe2 d4

13 Nb1 Nb4

14 N1d2 Nxd3

15 Qxd3 Nc6

16 Nf3 Re8

17 Rfd1 Bg4

18 a3 Qe7

19 Nbd2 Bxf3

20 Qxf3 d3

21 Qxd3 Bxb2

22 Ra2 Rad8

23 Qg3 Qxe4!!

24 Rf1 Qc2

25 Qg5 Re2

26 h4 Rdxd2

27 Bxd2 Rxd2

28 Re1 Rd1

29 Qe3 Qb1

30 Rxd1 Qxd1+

31 Kh2 Qb1