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Tony Miles maintained his lead in the European Zonal tournament in Linares, Spain, with a win in round nine against the Dutch grandmaster, Jeroen Piket. The event is a qualifier for next year's Interzonal tournament for the world championship, though precisely which world championship has become unclear after a meeting of the Fide Central Committee in Paris last weekend.

Fide has yet to organise its own world title match between Karpov and Kamsky. And the winner of that match will play a unifying match with the PCA champion, Garry Kasparov. The lack of activity on the Karpov-Kamsky front has led to severe recriminations and accusations of attempts to scuttle the Fide cycle. Reports from the Paris meeting indicate that a motion of no- confidence in the Fide President, Florencio Campomanes, was carried by a narrow majority. To take effect, this must be confirmed by the Fide General Assembly.

Enough of the politicking. Here's how Julian Hodgson enjoyed his eighth round in Linares:

Gomez-Hodgson: 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 c4 c6 4 Nc3 a6 5 h3 Bf5 6 Bf4 dxc4 7 a4 Nbd7 8 Nh4 Be4 9 f3 e5 10 dxe5 Nh5 11 Nxe4 Nxf4 12 Nf5 Nxe5 13 Ned6+ Bxd6 14 Qxd6 Qxd6 15 Nxd6+ Ke7 16 Nxb7 Rab8 17 Na5 g5 18 Rc1 Rxb2 19 Nxc4 Nxc4 20 Rxc4 Kd6 21 g3 Nd5 22 Kf2 Re8 23 Rd4 c5 24 Rd1 c4 25 h4 g4 26 fxg4 Kc5 27 Rc1 c3 28 g5 Kb4 29 Kf3 Re3+ 30 Kg4 c2 31 Bg2 Nc3 32 Bf3 Na2 33 Kh5 Nxc1 34 Rxc1 Kc3 35 Kh6 Kd2 36 Rxc2+ Rxc2 37 Kxh7 Re5 38 Kg7 Rc7 39 Kf6 Re6+ 40 Kg7 f5+ 41 Kf8 Rb6 42 h5 Rb8 mate.

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