Michael Adams (England)

RAKESH RAO

S. SUBRAMANIUM

World ranking: 13. Rating: 2719. Date of birth: November 11, 1971.

THE best British hope after the much-hyped Nigel Short, Michael Adams missed out on a great opportunity to become the World Champion when he lost to unfancied Rustam Kasimdzhanov in the tie-break phase of the final last year.

In the 2000 edition, champion Viswanathan Anand stopped him in the semifinals. In 1999, too, Adams had lost in the last-four stage to the eventual runner-up V. Akopian.

The 2004 runner-up has struggled for form this year, though he had a rare victory over Anand, his nemesis, and that too with black pieces in Linares.

The heart-breaking 0.5-5.5 defeat to super computer Hydra added to the woes of Adams. He finished seventh in the 14-player field at Wijk aan Zee, fifth in the seven-player league at Linares, last in the six-player Mtel Masters and seventh in the 10-player contest at Dortmund. This positionally-gifted player is indeed capable of performing much better than what his form suggests. Known for his amiable ways, Adams will be looking to reproduce the form that earned him the top-board gold medal at the Chess Olympiad last year.