Chess pair flounder with lacklustre play

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NIGEL SHORT and Michael Adams, Britain's two strongest chess players, have made the worst possible start to their world chess championship semi-final matches in Linares, Spain.

Yesterday, Adams's third loss to Anand brought the English tally to zero out of five, and the manner of their defeats has been as depressing as the score-line.

In Gata Kamsky, Short faced a player of immense determination and concentration. There is little to choose between them in terms of natural ability, but Short seems to have been suffering from a lack of energy at the crucial moments. He has still to recover fully from his defeat by Garry Kasparov last year.

Adams faces still greater problems against Viswanathan Anand. Most grandmasters' thoughts expand to fill the time available to them, but Anand is different. 'I get bored if I think about my moves,' he explained some years ago.

In world championship competitions, each player is allowed two hours' thinking time for 40 moves; Anand frequently uses less than an hour, and in top gear will polish off a game in 20 minutes.

By running his opponents short of time and disrupting their normal thinking patterns - most players become accustomed to taking a little rest between moves while their opponents are thinking - Anand has made a habit of hustling the world's best to defeat.

His second game against Adams was a fine example. Reaching a delicately balanced endgame directly from the opening, Adams seemed unsure whether he should be trying to win or to draw. Unsettled by Anand's speed and apparent certainty, he made a string of inaccurate moves and slipped to defeat.

Here are the full moves:

White: Adams

Black: Anand

1 e4 e5

2 Nf3 Nc6

3 Bb5 a6

4 Ba4 Nf6

5 0-0 Nxe4

6 d4 b5

7 Bb3 d5

8 dxe5 Be6

9 Nbd2 Nc5

10 c3 d4

11 Bxe6 Nxe6

12 cxd4 Ncxd4

13 Nxd4 Qxd4

14 Qe2 Rd8

15 a4 Qd5

16 axb5 axb5

17 Qe4 Bc5

18 Qxd5 Rxd5

19 Ne4 Bd4

20 Nc3 Bxc3

21 Ra8+ Rd8

22 Rxd8 Kxd8

23 bxc3 Ke7

24 f4 f5

25 exf6 Kxf6

26 f5 Nc5

27 Be3 Ne4

28 Bd4+ Kf7

29 Be5 Re8

30 Bxc7 Nxc3

31 Ba5 Nd5

32 Rb1 b4

33 Rd1 Re5

34 g4 Ne3

35 Rd7+ Ke8

36 Rd8+ Ke7

37 Rd3 Rxa5

38 Rxe3+ Kd6

39 Re6+ Kc5

40 Re5+ Kb6

41 Re1 Rb5

42 Kf2 b3

43 Kf3 b2

44 Rb1 Ka5

45 Ke4 Ka4

White resigns

Later, Nigel Short lost the third game of his world chess championship semi-final match against Gata Kamsky. Scores are now Kamsky 3 Short 0; and in the other match, Anand 3 Adams 0.