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It took less than 15 minutes for the last rites to be performed at the PCA/Intel world championship. Kasparov and Anand played only 12 moves in their 18th game before agreeing the draw that gave overall victory to the defending champion by 101/2-71/2. Kasparov took the winner's purse of $900,000, Anand received $450,000 (lower than the $1m and $1/2m originally advertised, following a 10 per cent windfall tax imposed by the PCA for organisational expenses).

Anand can hardly be blamed for not fighting in the last game. His hopes of winning the title had gone and his prospects of even tying the match to share the prize-money were so slim as to be negligible. Yet the final draw was, for many spectators and chess fans following the contest around the world, the last disappointment of a generally unsatisfying contest.

With eight quick draws at the start, most of them distinctly on the brief side, and four at the end, the five-week event provided just one six-game period of violence. Between games nine and 14, the play included five decisive results: one win to Anand followed by four to Kasparov. And that was it.

Anand made one horrendous blunder, Kasparov made none; Anand missed two excellent chances to win (in games three and 17), Kasparov pounced on every chance he was offered. That was the difference between them.

Now Kasparov must prepare for a more difficult battle: the unification of the two world titles. A year ago, an agreement was reached between his Professional Chess Association (PCA) and the International Chess Federation (Fide) to hold a unifying match in 1996 between their respective champions. Since then, little has been heard of Fide's plans for its own title match between Anatoly Karpov and Gata Kamsky. The Fide president, Florencio Campomanes, has been accused of, at best, dragging his heels and, at worst, conniving with Kasparov to prevent the Fide match from taking place. He needed all his political skills to head off an attempt by the French Chess Federation last month to summon an Extraordinary General Meeting to get the show back on the road. But with the prospect of yet another Karpov-Kasparov match at the end of it, the road in question may be too well-worn to suit everyone's taste. Here are the moves of the 18th game in New York:

Kasparov-Anand: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be2 e6 7 0-0 Be7 8 a4 Nc6 9 Be3 0-0 10 f4 Qc7 11 Kh1 Re8 12 Bf3 draw agreed.