Hou Yifan Beats Inarkiev In Blitz/Rapid Match

Hou Yifan Beats Inarkiev In Blitz/Rapid Match

| 19 | Chess Event Coverage

Women's World Champion Hou Yifan defeated GM Ernesto Inarkiev 7.5-6.5 in a match in the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsk. The match was part of the third "Friendship Match" in which children from China and Russia compete. 

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. | Photo Wikipedia.

This was the third "Friendship Match" between the Chinese and Russian youngsters. It was organized by the Russian Chess Federation with support from Elena and Gennady Timchenko's Foundation. This was the first time the match was held in Russia. Previously the event was held in Beijing (2014) and Shanghai (2015).

An important part of the event is a Scheveningen-system match between the Chinese and Russian youth teams. This year the teams weren't exactly close. The Russian youth won 51.5-12.5.

Young Russian and Chinese players playing each other. | Photo courtesy Russian Chess Federation.

This report focuses on the match between Hou Yifan, representing China, and Ernesto Inarkiev, representing Russia. They played four rapid games on September 17 and ten blitz games on September 18. They also played simuls the following day after with Inarkiev taking on the Chinese kids and Hou playing the Russian ones.

The location was Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the central city in Kamchatka Krai, all the way in far eastern Russia. So, after attemtping chess on Antarctica, the women's world champion traveled to another fairly exotic venue for the king's game. It is even more eastern than Beijing. She must have flown there directly after the Baku Olympiad.

Obviously not on a direct flight, Hou Yifan traveled a 7600 km straight-line distance (about one-fifth of the equator) between Baku and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. | Image from Google Maps.

As the slight underdog rating-wise, Hou won the rapid part 2.5-1.5 on the first day. That was a pretty good start, with three decisive games followed by a draw. After both players achieved a win, Hou won the third game with an easily missed, nasty trick.

The start of the match on Saturday. | Photo courtesy Russian Chess Federation.

The next day Inarkiev had ten blitz games to come back, but after only two draws and eight decisive games, the blitz match ended 5-5. Consequently, Hou won the overall match by the narrowest of margins.

Inarkiev took the lead in game eight with a good positional win.

The Russian GM was doing well in the next game and was on the verge of winning the match. But then it went wrong, and he lost the penultimate game while the last game ended in a draw.

A good result for the women's world champion after a long Olympiad and a long trip! | Photo courtesy Russian Chess Federation.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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