WIN, LOSE SOME? - The upset of a world champion in an individual game always causes a stir, even though it does not bring about the loss of his title. It takes an official match of 24 games to do that.

But it is a galling experience for the champion and a heartening one for the underdog."Doubtless such a thing can have repercussion, though without a crystal ball," says Robert Byrne, chess editor of the New York Times, "we cannot tell what they will be.

"It may be a bit of early evidence of the champion's decline and the elevation of his opponent.

"But on the other hand, it may just provoke the champion into a fit of creative rage the next time they sit down to play."

In the World Chess Olympiad in Moscow, Gary Kasparov, the Professional Chess Association's world champion, was sharply defeated earlier this month by a 19-year-old Bulgarian grandmaster, Veselin Topalov.

For perspective, it must be kept in mind that Topalov is already among the top 20 players of the world.

The game was a Sicilian defense, with Topalov playing white and with Kasparov resigning on his 29th move.

- TOUCH MOVE - Perhaps the easiest way to determine if the player you are watching or playing is a rank amateur is to see how quickly he releases his hand from the piece he is moving. If he is holding his index finger on the piece after having moved it, you know he is a beginner - and even worse, that he was not properly taught.

In tournament play if you touch a chess piece intending to move it, you must move it. If you touch an enemy piece, intending to capture it, you must capture it. If you move a piece from one square to another and remove your hand from it, you must leave it where it is.

In order to avoid all doubt of your intentions, you ought not to touch a piece, you own or your opponent's, unless you intend to move or capture it.

If a piece is not securely placed on its square, and you wish to adjust its position on that square, you must clearly enunciate the phrase, "I adjust" (or as is more usual, its French equivalent, "J'adoube") before touching the piece or pieces to be so shifted. And in tournament play, make sure somebody hears you. Preferably the one to overhear you should be the tournament director, though this is not always possible.

In instances of possible infraction, the player's intention is all-important. If you or your opponent accidentally nudge one or more pieces when plainly intending to move another one, there is no violation.

However, to avoid all possibility of doubt, you should keep your hands well away from the pieces until you are sure you want to move one of them.

Players whose hands constantly hover above first one piece, then another, then perhaps a third before coming back to over the first, will occasionally be accused of "alighting" - it is no more than they deserve.

If you are in the habit of hovering in this way, sit on your hands - literally. This will save you from making a hasty move, and you will find that after a time you will no longer feel inclined to hover at all.

The privilege of adjusting a piece on its square belongs only to the player whose move it is. If you begin adjusting pieces while your opponent's clock is running, you may well interrupt his train of thought, and you would be guilty - however unintentionally - of an infraction of the rule against annoying or worrying him.

More important, if you expend much energy during a game worrying about whether or not all the pieces are sitting dead center (or which way the knights are facing, another common fixation among players of all classes), you are thereby reducing your chances of finding the best moves.

The board and men are only the concrete physical representations of an abstraction - the game itself - common to the minds of both players, and you ought not to concern yourself overmuch with the medium at the expense of the message.

The best advice, to repeat: Sit on your hands.