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At the midpoint in the quarterfinals sponsored by the Professional Chess Association and Intel to determine a world title challenger for Gary Kasparov, two of the matches are one-sided and the other two are even.

Last Sunday at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where the games are being staged, Gata Kamsky of Brooklyn led Vladimir Kramnik by 3 to 1 and Viswanathan Anand of India also led Oleg Romanishin of Ukraine by 3 to 1.Sergie Tiviakov of Russia was tied 2 to 2 with Michael Adams of England and Boris Gulko of Fair Lawn, N.J., was also tied 2 to 2 with Nigel Short of England.

The victors will go on to the semifinals in September in Barcelona, Spain.

Adams won the first two games, but Tiviakov won the third and fourth, making the contest the most erratic of the four.

Probably the finest individual performance so far has been Kamsky's defeat of Kramnik in their first games in a thorny, complex battle a week ago Tuesday.

- THE WINNAH! - Judit Polgar registered the greatest success of her life by running away with the Madrid International Tournament that ended recently.

The 17-year-old Hungarian grandmaster took first place with a 7-2 tally in an illustrious field.

Second prize went to the Bosnian grandmaster Ivan Sokolov, who scored 51/2-31/2.

Three grandmasters tied for third place:

Gata Kamsky of Brookln, Miguel Illescas Cordoba of Spain and Alexei Shirov of Latvia. They each had 5-4.

The depth of this competition can be further emphasized by the placing of two more of the world's top players, the Russian grand-mas-ters Sergei Tiviakov and Valery Salov. They tied for sixth place with 41/2-41/2.

In her third-round game with Sokolov, Polgar gave a good example of how she kept the opposition at arm's length throughout the tournament. She patiently fought for the initiative and then won with a sharp mating attack.

- MEMORIZATION - With an increasing number of first-rate grandmasters competing for larger prizes, chess bears little resemblance to the game for gifted amateurs that it may have once been.

One striking change: Databases with tens of thousands of games have become standard equipment for today's tournament players.

At his first news conference after returning to chess two years ago, Bobby Fischer observed: "Chess is becoming more and more memorization . . . They are analyzing the different openings now to the endings."

As a remedy, he suggested "shuffling the first row of the pieces by computer and this way you will get rid of all the theory."

Fischer, of course, had been away from the game for 20 years. But ex-world champion Anatoly Karpov, one of the more active players in the game, voiced a similar complaint a few months ago.

Understanding of the game and fighting mettle played a smaller role than before, he said, while the need for opening preparation has, indeed, escalated.

But Karpov's 18-year-old compatriot, Vladimir Kramnik - currently ranked among the top five players in the world - seems more bothered by the brutal struggle demanded by many of today's chess events than by the demands of keeping up with current chess knowledge.

"They (qualifying tournaments for the world championship) are not much fun. You have to fight all the time. That's not what I like. I like to play and not to think about points. Nobody cares about creativity in these tournaments."

After playing in such an event in the Netherlands, Kramnik complained: "I think I couldn't have survived another qualification tournament."