THE FOURTH Smith & Williamson Young Masters tournament being played at King Edward's School in Whitley, near Guildford, is turning into a close contest between two of the best British juniors and a female grandmaster from Georgia.

After five rounds, Matthew Turner leads with 4 points, half a point ahead of James Poulton and Ketevan Arakhamia. The reigning British champion, Michael Hennigan, is in the middle of the field with 21 2 , and last year's winner, Tomas Polak of the Czech Republic, is languishing on 11 2 .

Polak's second-round defeat by Poulton is one of the best-fought games of the event so far. In the opening, Black's 10 . . . Bf5 (Qd5 is better) led to an exchange of the bishop for knight, leading to a position which should have been better for White. The bishop on g2 and rooks on the c-file ought to be able to generate strong Q-side pressure.

Polak allowed himself to be tempted by an attacking chance on the other wing. When 17. Qf4 induced g6, the idea of Qh6, Ng5 and Qxh7+ was alluring, but led to nothing. With the white queen away, Poulton seized the initiative with 21 . . . d3] then made White suffer for weakening his white squares.

After 36 . . . a5] White had to play 37. b4 (though Qg3+ and Qxa3 still gives Black winning chances). As the game went, White had to exchange queens to avoid Ne2 and Qg1 mate, and the king and pawn endgame was lost.

White: Polak

Black: Poulton

1 d4 d5 24 Rc8 Ne2+ 2 Nf3 e6 25 Kh1 Qxd3 3 c4 c5 26 Rxd8 Qxd8 4 cxd5 exd5 27 Rf1 Qd4 5 Nc3 Nc6 28 Qg5 Re5 6 Bg5 Be7 29 Qf6 Nf4 7 Bxe7 Nge7 30 h3 h5 8 dxc5 d4 31 gxh5 Nxh5 9 Ne4 0-0 32 Qf3 Rf5 10 g3 Bf5 33 Qxb7 Rxf2 11 Nd6 Qa5+ 34 Rxf2 Qxf2 12 Qd2 Qxc5 35 Kh2 Kg7 13 Nxf5 Nxf5 36 a3 a5 14 Bg2 Rfe8 37 Qb3 Nf4 15 0-0 Re7 38 Qc3+ f6 16 Rac1 Qb5 39 Qf3 Qxg2 17 Qf4 g6 40 Qxg2 Nxg2 18 g4 Ng7 41 Kxg2 a4 19 Qh6 Ne6 42 Kf3 f5 20 Rc2 Rd8 43 Ke3 Kf6 21 Rfc1 d3 44 Kd3 Ke5 22 exd3 Ned4 White resigns

23 Nxd4 Nd4