Breakaway group leads chess race

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The Independent Online
AT THE END of the first week of the Hastings International Chess Tournament, the players have split into two distinct groups. At the top end, Yevgeny Bareyev, Jonathan Speelman and Judit Polgar are chasing the top prizes, while the other five players are struggling a long way behind.

On their ratings and reputations, John Nunn and Lev Polugayevsky should have been up with the leading group, but both of these grandmasters had a rotten weekend.

Nunn, after being comprehensively outplayed by Bareyev in the fifth round on Saturday, lost yesterday to the bottom marker, Ilya Gurevich. After accepting a cramped position in order to win a pawn, Nunn missed a tactical point and lost rook for knight, leaving Gurevich with a simple technical win.

After blundering on Friday to throw away a probable draw against Bareyev, Polugayevsky went one worse yesterday, losing an endgame with an extra pawn against Judit Polgar. Manoeuvring to try to squeeze a win, Polugayevsky ran short of time then blundered a piece away.

Yesterday Judit Polgar scored her third consecutive win when Matthew Sadler miscalculated a combination shortly after the opening.

It was Sadler's first loss of the tournament. Polugayevksy regained some lost ground by taking advantage of rather loose play by Colin Crouch. Keeping on satisfactory terms with his clock, the Russian grandmaster calmly shepherded home an extra pawn that his opponent had donated to him shortly after the opening.

In the game between the two leaders, Bareyev moved further ahead by beating Speelman, leaving Polgar now clear in second place. While Polgar's score is slightly flattered by the new year's gift from Polugayevsky, Bareyev and Speelman have been amassing points in their characteristically effective, though different styles.

Scores after round six: Bareyev 5 1/2 , Polgar 4 1/2, Speelman 4, Sadler and Nunn 2 1/2, Gurevich and Polugayevsky 2, Crouch 1.