Chess v

After the sixth round of the Fide world championship semi-finals, the title match later this year looks likely to be between the defending champion, Anatoly Karpov, and the young pretender, Gata Kamsky.

Yesterday, Kamsky beat Valery Salov again to go 5-1 ahead and now needs only one draw from the last four games to win the match. This was the match that every commentator said was too close to call, yet Salov has been swept away.

Kamsky's progress defies all logic. His results seem so much better than his play. And young players traditionally never have the emotional maturity to do as well in matches as tournaments. Yet Kamsky is now on schedule to become the youngest world champion ever. One wonders - given his results when just out of his teens - just how well he'll play with a bit of experience.

In the other semi-final, Anatoly Karpov, after losing the third game against Boris Gelfand has taken the lead with wins in games 4 and 6. The first of those was a typical piece of Karpovean manoeuvring. After the opening, Gelfand looked happily in control of d5, with his knights hopping in and out of the square like traffic at a busy intersection.

Karpov secured the advantage when 28.h4(!), with the plan of creating weaknesses with h5, tempted a black knight back from c7 to g7. Then his own knights stepped back from c4 and e4 to c3 and e3, restarting the battle for d5. Finally 37.d5! reaped the benefit, when Qxd5 loses to Rg3+ and exd5 leaves Black in difficulties after Rd3. By that stage, White's centre pawns guarantee victory, even if his attack does not win the game.

White: A. Karpov

Black: B. Gelfand

1 d4 Nf6 26 Rec2 Rb8

2 c4 g6 27 Qd2 Rf8

3 g3 c6 28 h4 Ne8

4 Bg2 d5 29 Ne3 Ng7

5 cxd5 cxd5 30 Nc3 Nxc3

6 Nf3 Bg7 31 Rxc3 g5

7 Ne5 0-0 32 hxg5 fxg5

8 Nc3 e6 33 Ng4 gxf4

9 0-0 Nfd7 34 gxf4 Bd6

10 f4 Nc6 35 Rf3 Be8

11 Be3 f6 36 Ne5 Nf5

12 Nf3 Nb6 37 d5 Bxe5

13 Bf2 Bd7 38 fxe5 Rb7

14 e4 dxe4 39 Kh2 Rg7

15 Nxe4 Nd5 40 Bh3 Bh5

16 Re1 b6 41 Rf4 Kh8

17 Nc3 Nce7 42 Bxf5 exf5

18 Qb3 a5 43 Bh4 Qe8

19 a3 a4 44 Bf6 Bg4

20 Qd1 Nc7 45 Bxg7+ Kxg7

21 Rc1 Ned5 46 Rc7+ Kh8

22 Nd2 Re8 47 e6 Qh5+

23 Nc4 Bf8 48 Kg1 Qg5

24 Ne4 Bb5 49 Kf2 Qh4+

25 Re2 Be7 50 Ke3 resigns

William Hartston