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AFTER A long, hard battle, China's Xie Jun won the Women's world championship match against Russia's Alisa Galliamova on Sunday.

After they had left the first half of the match in Kazan on the Volga tied four-all, Xie Jun took control in the second half in Shenyang, in Manchuria, with victories as Black in games 9 and 11. Galliamova though, won in turn with Black in game 12, reducing Xie Jun's lead to a single point going into the last rest day on Wednesday.

But, after a draw in game 13, Xie Jun bucked the trend by winning with White in game 14 and, although Galliamova fought to the bitter end in a knight ending in game 15, Xie held on.

So the final score was 8.5-6.5, and Xie Jun has regained the title she lost to Zsuzsa Polgar three years ago (Polgar was stripped of her title by Fide after she refused to defend it less than six months after the birth of her son).

Galliamova spoiled a perfectly playable position with the wild rook manoeuvre Re1-e3-g3-g4 and was given no chance to recover.

White: Alisa Galliamova

Black: Xie Jun

Shenyang 1999 (Game 11)

Ruy Lopez

In Las Vegas on Sunday, Alexander Khalifman as black defeated Vladimir Akopian in the first of the six-game final of the Fide world championship.

1 e4 e5

2 Nf3 Nc6

3 Bb5 a6

4 Ba4 Nf6

5 0-0 Be7

6 Re1 b5

7 Bb3 d6

8 c3 0-0

9 h3 h6

10 d4 Re8

11 Nbd2 Bf8

12 Nf1 Bb7

13 Ng3 Na5

14 Bc2 Nc4

15 a4 d5

16 Nxe5 Nxe4

17 Nxe4 dxe4

18 Nxc4 bxc4

19 b3 Qd5

20 Re3 cxb3

21 Bxb3 Qf5

22 Rg3 Bd6

23 Rg4 Qf6

24 Qc2 Re7

25 Ba3 Bxa3

26 Rxa3 Rae8

27 Ra1 c5

28 dxc5 Qe5

29 Re1 Kh7

30 Qd2 f5

31 Rg3 Qxc5

32 h4 Qc7

33 h5 Rd8

34 Qc1 Qe5

35 c4 f4

36 Rc3 Rf8

37 c5 Bc6

38 Rh3 Qg5

39 Qc2 Kh8

40 a5 Bd7

41 Rh2 Bc6

42 Qc4 e3

43 fxe3 f3

44 Kh1 fxg2+

45 Kg1 Rxe3

46 Rb1 Ref3

White resigns