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The final leg of the Intel Grand Prix has begun in Paris with five players still in with a chance to win the $50,000 bonus for first place in the four-event series. At the start, Vassily Ivanchuk led with 12 points, ahead of Garry Kasparov (who missed the London leg) on 9 points, Anand on 7, Adams and Kramnik on 6.

Since Paris carries 10 for the winner and 6 for the runner-up, Kasparov can ensure first place by winning, while Anand, Adams or Kramnik could win by defeating anyone other than Ivanchuk in the final.

Michael Adams, sadly, lost in the first round to Joel Lautier. The most exciting encounter of the first day, however, was the match between Vladimir Kramnik and the prodigious French 12-year-old Etienne Bacrot. Bacrot drew the first game and gave Kramnik some very anxious moments in game two:

White: Kramnik

Black: Bacrot

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 e4 Nxc3 6 bxc3 Bg7 7 d4 c5 8 Rb1 0-0 9 Be2 cxd4 10 cxd4 Qa5+ 11 Bd2 Qxa2 12 0-0 b6 13 Qc1 Bb7 14 Bc4 Qa4 15 Bb5 Qa2 16 Re1 Rc8 17 Qd1 e6 18 Ba4 Na6 19 h4 Qa3 20 h5 Qf8 21 Bf4 Rd8 22 Bg5 Rd6 23 Bf4 Rdd8 24 Qd2 Rac8 25 hxg6 hxg6 26 Qe3 Rc4 27 Bb5 Rb4 28 Qe2 Rxb1 29 Rxb1 Nb8 30 Rd1 Qb4 31 Bg5 Rc8 32 d5 exd5 33 exd5 a6 34 Be8 Qf8 35 Ba4 b5 36 Bb3 Re8 37 Qd2 Qa3 38 Qd3 Nd7 39 d6 Qb2 40 Bc1 Qf6 41 Ng5 Rf8 42 Qh3 Rc8 43 Bxf7+ Kf8 44 Nh7+ Kxf7 45 Qxd7+ 1-0.

Alan Hiron's regular bridge columns will now appear on Wednesdays and Saturdays.