A very Merry Christmas to every lover of chess!

Gary Kasparov gave his challenger, Anatoly Karpov, a convincing performance in an attack that led to a smashing victory in Game 20 of the World Championship match in Lyon, France.And, in the words of Robert Byrne, a former USA champion and chess editor of the New York Times, "virtually killed Karpov's hopes of recovering the title."

The champion then led by two points and, with the score at 11-9, needs only three draws or one more victory and a draw to win. In fact, he needs only two draws in the remaining four games to keep his title, according to the match rules.

After a long stretch - virtually the whole of the mid-match - Kasparov showed his awesome attacking power, just as he did in the magnificent Game 2.

In his best form, he performs like a magician - now you see his opponent's apparently trouble-free array of pieces and pawns, and now you don't, because it's been blown to smithereens by an imagination that can propel his pieces through any resistance.

Then why didn't he win more games in this style? Karpov deserves high praise for that. In game after game, he stubbornly stopped attacks that would easily have floored a lesser player.

Game 20 was one of the inspired blasts of the champion, and it proved too much for even Karpov's trenchant defense.

Kasparov combined speed and power to unleash a ferocious attack on the black king, which eventually caused Karpov huge material losses. Karpov was forced to defend a very risky position with only seconds separating him from loss by forfeit.

Kasparov manipulated the game in his best crowd-pleasing style, sacrificing assets to strip his opponent of defenders, then invading to recoup his investment with interest.

The players exchanged a firm handshake at the end of the game as applause erupted from a capacity crowd of about 1,000.

Kasparov, who seems determined to retain his crown, put off the 21st game of the title match on Monday to play Wednesday. Karpov had the advantage of the white pieces and the first move.

- AS OF THIS COLUMN'S Wednesday night deadline, in a report from Reuter News Service: Reigning world chess champion Kasparov and challenger Karpov adjourned the 21st game of their title match after 41 moves and five hours of play on Wednesday.

Experts said the adjourned position was extremely complex, but offered winning chances for Karpov, who would keep his hopes alive for a late comeback when play resumed Thursday.

- LET'S PLAY CHESS - Ted Pathakis, Utah's longtime teacher of chess, will conduct a new course at the University of Utah Cedar Park.

According to the U.'s brochure, "This is chess - new beginners or advance players can improve their playing and enjoyment of chess by maneuvering through modern thought, analysis and practice of this superb game.

"Practical instruction and actual play will be interlaced with an introduction to the addictive nature and sheer fascination that has surrounded this game for centuries. Group competition, simultaneous exhibitions and local Salt Lake chess activities, as available, will be planned."

Two hours of college credit can be earned: Course 190R-61, Recreation & Leisure.

The course can also be taken without college credit. The non-credit fee is $45.

The class will be held on Tuesdays from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m., Jan. 8 through March 12. It will be held in the U.'s Cedar Park, 5286 S. 320 West.

- CONGRATULATIONS to the solvers! Steven L. Staker, Julie Brimhall, Dan Brimhall, Ronnie Millet, Ken Frost, E.O. Smith, Ted Pathakis, Brian Harrow, Eugene Wagstaff, William DeVroom, Joseph Pergler, Monroe Iversen, Neil Iversen, John Newman, Peter Rogers, Scott Mitchell, Hal Harmon, Jack Crandall, Robert W. Lee, Farrell Ostler, Alison Hermance, David Feguson, Jim Reed, Jim Turner, Wilburn West, George Stucki, Aaron Brough, Ron Copier, Michael Brough, Daniel Barker, Nathan Kennard, Thomas Hazen, Hal Knight, Paul R. Lindeman, Kay Lundstrom, David Wilnes, Kevin Smullin, Ann Neil, Russell O'Dell, Ramon Bassett, David D. Kirk, Tim Painter, Ryan Stucki, Ardean Watts, Vali Kremer, Chere Wood, Glennin Cloward, David L. Evans, Curt Jeppson, David Wilhite, Stephen Kirk, Dale Brimley, Joye McMulland, Donovan Weight, Joseph Evans, Brent Tarry, Raeburn Kennard, Stanley Hunt, Richard Adams, Dan Thompson, Dave Sonntag, William D. Price, Gordon Green, Kim Barney, Gary Lee, Ashley Graves and Douglas J. Duncan.