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The English team is poised for a historic achievement in the Chess Olympics in Moscow. With two rounds left to play, they have taken the lead ahead of the top seeds, Russia I, and the junior team, Russia II, that set the pace during the early roun ds.

After losing to Kazakhstan and drawing with Scotland and Indonesia in early rounds, England looked completely out of contention, but a string of convincing victories has enabled them to sweep past the field. In the past two rounds, while the matches around them have been tightly contested, England has scored two magnificent 31/2-1/2 wins against Yugoslavia and the Netherlands. Against the Dutch, Nigel Short had a quick draw playing Black against Jan Timman, after which Michael Adams, Jonatha n Speelman and Julian Hodgson set about the task of demolishing the opposition.

After a long period before the Olympics of arguments about team selection and captaincy and general ill-humour, the players have settled down to their job splendidly. The atmosphere in the English camp is buoyant and they must have a real chance of securing the best result ever.

Leading scores: England 311/2 ; Russia I and Bosnia 31; Russia II 301/2; Bulgaria 30; United States 291/2.

The following game must be considered one of England's more fortunate victories, though Michael Adams deserves full credit for bamboozling his Israeli opponent.

In the opening, 8...f5 is an idea that brought Nigel Short success against Anatoly Karpov last year. White gets nowhere with 10.Qh5+ g6 11.Bxg6+ hxg6 12.Qxh8 Nc2+, but 10.a3 caused problems. Black won a pawn, but his displaced king gave Black time to regain it with interest. 22.Rad1 was the start of White's trouble. After that, with a passed pawn and all the white squares, Adams romped to victory.

White: Greenfeld Black: Adams 1 d4 d5 18 Ngxe4 h6

2 c4 dxc4 19 Nc5 Qf7

3 e4 Nf6 20 Nxb7 Kh7

4 e5 Nd5 21 Nc5 Rhe8

5 Bxc4 Nb6 22 Rad1 Bxc3

6 Bd3 Nc6 23 bxc3 a5

7 Be3 Nb4 24 Bc1 a4

8 Be4 f5 25 Ba3 Nc4

9 exf6 exf6 26 Ra1 Nd2

10 a3 f5 27 Rfe1 Nb3

11 axb4 Bxb4+ 28 Rad1 Bc2

12 Nc3 fxe4 29 Rxe8 Bxe8

13 Qh5+ Kf8 30 Rf1 Nd2

14 Nge2 Qe8 31 Rc1 Qa2

15 Qh4 Kg8 32 Qf4 Nb3

16 0-0 Bf5 White resigns 17 Ng3 Bg6