Nihal Sarin strikes back to hold Anatoly Karpov 2-2

Sarin bounced back to hold the former world champion in a four-game rapid and blitz challenge.

Former World champion Anatoly Karpov making a move during his four-game match against Nihal Sarin on Saturday. Photo: Nihal Sarin

Nihal Sarin, 15, bounced back to hold former World champion, legendary Russian Anatoly Karpov 2-2 in a four-game rapid and blitz challenge match in Cap d’Adge, a resort off France’s Mediterranean coast on Saturday.

The first two rapid games were drawn before Karpov, 68, surged ahead by winning the first blitz game. In the second, where Sarin played with white pieces, the youngster gained the upper hand after claiming a rook for a bishop. But the game ended abruptly on the 28th move when Karpov resigned after overlooking a knight move that ‘forked’ his king and queen.

‘Not satisfied’

In Sarin’s words, “Not satisfied with the result. Failed to grab my chances, and he defended very well. Honoured to have played him in a match. I will be playing him again in a classical game next year.”

Karpov was at his vintage best in the first game of the blitz where he pulled off a stunning win from what appeared a theoretical drawn endgame, involving a rook each and the Russian’s lone pawn.

Sarin held some advantage in the second rapid game, with black pieces. But his decision to exchange an active knight probably allowed Karpov more defensive options and led to a draw.

The results
  • Rapid (25 minutes each + 10 second increment for every move):
  • Game 1: Nihal Sarin drew with Anatoly Karpov in 59 moves.
  • Game 2: Karpov drew with Sarin in 49 moves.
  • Blitz: (5 minutes each + 5 second increment for every move):
  • Game 1: Karpov bt Sarin in 69 moves.
  • Game 2: Sarin bt Karpov in 28 moves.