It seems only yesterday that I wrote about Garry Kasparov's effective style of gaining convincing revenge on any who dared beat him. Indeed, it was only yesterday, but then the PCA world champion spoiled all my argument by losing to Joel Lautier, who had beaten him last year too.

Clearly the matter is more complex than I suspected. When you've beaten Kasparov once, you should avoid playing him until immediately after he has gained brilliant revenge on another foe. Then, when his confidence is boosted beyond its normally high level, you can tempt him into an unsound attack and beat him again.

That's more or less what happened in Kasparov's game against Lautier in Amsterdam. Except that Kasparov's sacrificial attack may not have had so much wrong with it. If he had played 16.e5 before Nd6+, Black's knight could not have retreated to its best defensive square on e8.

After the game, an annoyed Kasparov said that he had simply forgotten his analysis of the position, though that is the sort of thing one should be able to work out at the board.

When Kasparov spent over an hour on his 20th and 21st moves, it was clear that things were not going according to play. Lautier played some fine defensive moves, particularly 20...f5! putting a halt to White's K-side ambitions, and 23...Ra5! preparing an effective defence along the fifth rank. He must already have seen the idea of meeting 28.fxg5+ with Rf5!

In the final position, 32.fxg5 loses to Rxf3, while other moves may be met by gxf4 or even Qa8 and Rg6, trapping the white queen. This must have been a most annoying game for Kasparov, against an opponent he surely feels he ought to be able to beat with little effort.

After four rounds, with two left to play, Topalov leads with 3 points. Kasparov has 21/2.

White: G. Kasparov

Black: J. Lautier

1 e4 c5 17 Nxc8+ Rhxc8

2 Nf3 e6 18 e5 Ne8

3 d4 cxd4 19 Qh5 h6

4 Nxd4 Nc6 20 Rae1 f5

5 Nc3 Qc7 21 Rf3 c4

6 Be3 a6 22 g4 fxg4

7 Bd3 Nf6 23 Qxg4 Ra5

8 0-0 Ne5 24 Ne4 Qc6

9 h3 Bc5 25 Nd6 Nxd6

10 Kh1 d6 26 exd6+ Kf8

11 f4 Ned7 27 Rg1 g5

12 a3 b5 28 Rg3 Rf5

13 Bxb5 axb5 29 Qh5 Nf6

14 Ndxb5 Qb6 30 Qxh6+ Kf7

15 Bxc5 dxc5 31 Kg1 Rg8

16 Nd6+ Ke7 White resigns

William Hartston