Hou Yifan dismantles Evgeny Najer in Shanghai

by Priyadarshan Banjan
12/19/2015 – The Chinese Chess Association and the Russian Chess Federation jointly hosted the Russian-Chinese ‘Match of Friendship’ on December 13-15 in Shanghai. It included an exhibition rapid-and-blitz match between the 2015 European Champion GM Evgeny Najer and the world’s strongest female player Hou Yifan. The Chinese super-talent won it 9.5-4.5. Big pictorial report.

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Russians in Shanghai: Hou Yifan dismantles Evgeny Najer

Shanghai is the largest Chinese city by population in the world – more than 24 million!

The Russian-Chinese ‘Match of Friendship’ on December 13-15 in Shanghai was, in fact, a chess festival where a Scheveningen between the Russian and Chinese school teams was held alongside an exhibition rapid-and-blitz match between the 2015 European Champion GM Evgeny Najer and the world’s strongest female player Hou Yifan. This was followed by a simultaneous exhibition by the players to the juniors of both the countries.

The federations and the Charitable Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko, who are the sponsors of the festival, dedicated the ‘Friendship Match’ to the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Allied forces, of which both China and the then USSR were a part of, in the World War II. It is only fitting that to pay tribute to the countless people who died for their countries, a new generation of citizens fight a new war, only that this one is on a chessboard.

This joint effort between the two countries is a culturally significant activity, other than the obvious sporting value such a match is bound to generate.

While Russia has been a century-old superpower in chess, China has made phenomenally quick inroads into the elite circles, team events and, of course, the women’s championships as well.

9.5-4.5: Hou Yifan subjected Najer to a bloodbath, mercilessly hounding him in the rapid-and-blitz matchup

Unfortunately only three games are available, the rest seem to have been lost in transmission

[Event "China-Russia Friendship Match 2015"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.12.19"] [Round "?"] [White "Yifan, Hou"] [Black "Najer, Evgeny"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B19"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.12.19"] 1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bd2 Ngf6 12. O-O-O Bd6 13. Ne4 Nxe4 14. Qxe4 Nf6 15. Qe2 Bc7 16. g4 Qd5 17. c4 Qe4 18. Qxe4 Nxe4 19. Be3 b5 20. Ne5 bxc4 21. Nxc4 Nf6 22. f3 Nd5 23. Kb1 Nxe3 24. Nxe3 O-O-O 25. Rd3 Rd6 26. Nc4 Rd5 27. Ne3 Rd6 28. Nc4 Rd5 29. Ne3 Rd7 30. Rc1 1/2-1/2 [Event "China-Russia Friendhship Match 2015"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.12.19"] [Round "?"] [White "Najer, Evgeny"] [Black "Yifan, Hou"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B81"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.12.19"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e6 7. g4 h6 8. Bg2 Nc6 9. Be3 Be7 10. f4 Qc7 11. O-O Nxd4 12. Qxd4 e5 13. Qd2 exf4 14. Rxf4 Be6 15. Raf1 Nd7 16. Nd5 Bxd5 17. Qxd5 Bf6 18. e5 Nxe5 19. Qxb7 Qxb7 20. Bxb7 Rb8 21. Rb4 Kd7 22. Rb3 a5 23. Ba7 a4 24. Rb5 Kc7 25. Bxb8+ Rxb8 26. Ba6 Ra8 27. Bb7 Rb8 28. Rd1 Rxb7 29. Rxb7+ Kxb7 30. Rxd6 Nc4 31. Rd7+ Kc6 32. Rxf7 Nxb2 33. Kf1 Nd1 34. Ra7 Nc3 35. Ke1 Bd4 36. Ra8 Kb7 37. Ra5 Kb6 38. Ra8 Kb5 39. a3 Bc5 40. Kd2 Kc4 0-1 [Event "China-Russia Friendship Match 2015"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.12.19"] [Round "?"] [White "Najer, Evgeny"] [Black "Yifan, Hou"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B80"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.12.19"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be3 a6 7. f3 b5 8. Qd2 Nbd7 9. g4 h6 10. O-O-O b4 11. Nce2 Qc7 12. h4 g6 13. Qxb4 e5 14. Nb3 d5 15. Qa4 dxe4 16. Nc3 exf3 17. Bh3 Rb8 18. a3 Rxb3 19. cxb3 h5 20. Kb1 hxg4 21. Bxg4 Qb7 22. Bh3 Be7 23. Ka2 Kf8 24. Bg5 Nc5 25. Qc4 Be6 26. Bxe6 Nxe6 27. Bxf6 Bxf6 28. Nd5 Kg7 29. h5 Rxh5 30. Rxh5 gxh5 31. Nxf6 Kxf6 32. Qh4+ Kg7 33. Qg3+ Kf6 34. Qh4+ Kg7 35. Qxh5 Qe4 36. Rg1+ Kf6 37. Rg3 Nd4 38. Qh6+ Ke7 39. Rg8 Ne6 40. Qd2 Qd4 41. Qa5 f2 42. Qxa6 Qf4 43. Qf1 e4 44. Rc8 e3 45. Rc1 Nd4 46. Qa6 e2 47. Qb7+ Kf6 48. Rc7 Qxc7 49. Qxc7 e1=Q 50. Qd8+ Ke5 51. Qc7+ Ke4 52. Qe7+ Kd3 0-1

GM Evgeny Najer (2674) proved no match for the strongest female player in the world

GM Hou Yifan, the smile of an assassin?

Or of a former child prodigy: the budding chess star in 2008

In that year, at the age of 14, Yifan became the Chinese Women's Champion for the second consecutive time (9.0/11 points); she gained her GM title in August at the age of 14 years 6 months 2 days, making her one of the youngest grandmasters in history, as well as the youngest female ever; and she competed for the second time (!) in the Women's World Chess Championship in Nalchik, Russia, where she beat IM Elena Sedina, IM Lilit Mkrtchian and GM Humpy Koneru, only to narrowly lose in the final to Alexandra Kosteniuk.

To instill a sense of cooperation among the children the Russian officials had gifts for the Chinese kids…

...while the Chinese officials had their own method for making their guests feel more comfortable.

Hey, you look awesome too!

A very important reason behind the Russian dominance over the years and the Chinese successes in the recent past lies in the inter-school team championship tournaments these countries organize. In Russia, thousands of Russian schoolchildren gather to compete in the qualification stages of Belaya Ladya scholastic tournament.

Payenerskaya Pravada, 1968: Petrosian, Botvinnik, Smyslov and Tal inviting
schools to form chess teams and compete in Belaya Ladya [Photo: FIDE]

This year, the all-Russian Belaya Ladya scholastic tournament went international: the strongest school teams from Armenia, Belarus, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Moldova took part in the final stage of the championship to determine the winners. Next year onwards, there will be a new country sending their best team to this legendary tournament.

Mark Gluchovsky, the Executive Director of the Russian Chess Federation, Maria Morozova, the CEO of the Charitable Foundation of Gennady and Elena Timochenko, and Yang Junan, the President of the Chinese Chess Association, signed a memorandum of cooperation

This tournament is the only large-scale international scholastic team event in the world. The Russian Chess Federation, the Chinese Chess Association, and the Charitable Foundation of Gennady and Elena Timchenko, which supports the annual Belaya Ladya, signed a memorandum of cooperation, thus allowing the winner of the Chinese Scholastic team championship a spot in the Finals of the Belaya Ladya tournament.

In this edition of the Friendship Match, the Russian team, consisting of the 2015 Belaya Ladya champions St. Petersburg 2nd Gymnasium and a few other young players aged below fourteen, managed to beat their Chinese counterparts quite easily with the score reading 12-4 in their favour.

On the final day, Hou delivered a simultaneous exhibition to the school team of Russia…

… while Najer returned the favour by playing with his Chinese fans

Friendship matches of such ilk go a long way in building cooperation and mutual
understanding between the countries and carry a significant cultural and sporting value

All photos from Shanghai are from the official qipai.org.cn site

Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.


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