ON THE mantelpiece in my study (whatever idyllic scene this conjures up in your mind's eye don't even think of it - it's utter chaos) there's a small metal lion, symbol of Belfort where the second of the six tournament "World Cup" cycle took place in June 1988.

This city in eastern France just by the Swiss border has been the home to many events before and since, due to the massive energy of Jean-Paul Touze; and is currently hosting a powerful tournament - the 4th Masters Comtois d'Echecs.

Averaging 2,614 (category 15) the six-player double-rounder features an interesting mixture of players with (in rating order) Alexei Fedorov (Belarus), Vadim Zvjaginsev (Russia), Mikhail Gurevich (Belgium) and Viktor Bologan (Moldavia); Ye Jiangchuan from China; and French IM Arnaud Hauchard.

The six have created plenty of action, with nine of the 21 games in the first seven rounds decisive, to leave Bologan first on 4.5, ahead of Fedorov and Ye 4; Gurevich 3.5; Zvjaginsev and Hauchard 2.5. This interesting gamelet was played on Sunday. 11...Bd6 was very bold though Alexei Shirov has claimed that the "main line" starting 11...Bg4 12 d5 Bxf3 13 gxf3 cxd5 14 Bxd5 Ba3 15 c3 0-0 16 Be4 is good for White. After 13 d5!, Black, with his king stuck in the centre, was soon in trouble. 24 Be7+! finished off nicely - if then 24...Kxe7 25 Nxd5+ Kd6 26 Qb6+ Kxd5 27 Qa5+ b5 28 Qd2+ Kc6 29 Rxe6+ fxe6 30 Qxg5 etc.

White: Ye Jiangchuan

Black: Arnaud Hauchard

Belfort 1999 (Round 7)

Center Counter

1 e4 d5

2 exd5 Qxd5

3 Nc3 Qa5

4 d4 c6

5 Bc4 Bf5

6 Nf3 Nf6

7 Bd2 e6

8 Nd5 Qd8

9 Nxf6+ Qxf6

10 Qe2 Nd7

11 0-0-0 Bd6!?

12 Bg5 Qg6

13 d5! cxd5

14 Rxd5 Be7

15 Bxe7 exd5

16 Bxd5 Be6

17 Bd6 Rd8

18 Re1 Nb6

19 Qb5+ Rd7

20 Ne5 Qg5+

21 Re3 Nxd5

22 Nxd7 a6

23 Nf6+ Kd8

24 Be7+! Kc8

25 Qc5+ Kb8

26 Nd7+ 1-0