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The match for the women's world championship has begun in Spain between the holder, Xie Jun of China, and her challenger, Zsuzsa Polgar of Hungary. After three games, Xie Jun leads 2-1.

Zsuzsa, at 26 the eldest of the three Polgar sisters, took the wise course in her early years of shunning women's tournaments. With little sister Judit, 19, on course for the "men's" title - she is currently ranked 10th in the world - the Polgars appear to have decided that it might not be a bad idea to annex the women's version too. But it has not been easy going. Three years ago, Zsuzsa missed out on a title match on the spin of a roulette wheel after her final contenders' match with Alisa Maric ended in a tie.

This time, she has qualified to challenge Xie Jun and started the match as narrow favourite, but she had a bad setback in the opening game. White's opening succeeded in its objective of creating a space-gaining pawn wedge in the centre, but at the cost of falling behind in development. Xie Jun developed a powerful initiative and demolished the whole structure.

Polgar-Xie Jun: 1 g3 g6 2 Bg2 Bg7 3 e4 e5 4 Ne2 Nc6 5 c3 Nge7 6 d4 exd4 7 cxd4 d5 8 e5 f6 9 f4 0-0 10 0-0 Bg4 11 Nbc3 fxe5 12 fxe5 Rxf1+ 13 Qxf1 Qd7 14 h3 Rf8 15 Nf4 g5 16 hxg4 gxf4 17 gxf4 Qxg4 18 Qe2 Qg3 19 Qf2 Qxf2+ 20 Kxf2 Nxd4 21 Nxd5 Ng6 22 Nc3 c6 23 Be3 Bxe5 24 Rd1 Nxf4 25 Bxf4 Rxf4+ 26 Ke3 Nf5+ 27 Kd3 Rg4 28 Bh3 Rd4+ 29 Ke2 Rxd1 30 Nxd1 Nd6 and Black won at move 60.