Rapid match Hou Yifan vs Anatoly Karpov

by André Schulz
2/7/2018 – The northern Chinese city of Harbin was the venue for a friendly competition between Hou Yifan and Anatoly Karpov. Over two days, the pair contested six rapid games. Karpov won the match 3½ : 2½. These days the 66-year-old Karpov rarely competes in serious tournaments. But he is still dangerous. | Photo: Imsa.cn

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Karpov wins narrowly

On Saturday, Anatoly Karpov was still a guest at the 13th Congress of the Russian Chess Federation. The next day, the 12th World Chess Champion was already in China, specifically in Harbin, located in the north of the country, in the Amur province, where he played a match with Hou Yifan.

After the Russian occupation of Manchuria in 1898, Harbin was one of the stations of the Trans-Siberian Railway: a number of Russian-style buildings still characterize the cityscape. After the Second World War, Harbin remained occupied for some time by Russian troops, before 1946, when Chinese Communists took over the city and used it as a base in the Chinese Civil War. 

Karpov and Hou played six rapid games with 15 minutes plus 10 seconds per move for each player. Karpov took an early lead with a finely played positional game and then increased his victory in the second game. Hou won the third game. The fourth game ended in a draw. With a victory in the fifth game, Karpov decided the match with a game to spare. On the white side of a Benoni defense from Hou, Karpov proceeded with careful and prudent play, which eventually resulted in a strong counterattack.

The last game was perfunctory, and Karpov lost without much of a fight, resulting in a final match score of 3½ : 2½.

Match table

 


Games

 

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.