Karpov Wins Opening Chess Match
Jan. 03, 1998
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ After a marathon of more than six and a half hours, Russian world chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov won the opening game Friday against challenger Viswanathan Anand in the FIDE World Chess Championship finals.
Karpov played the first game with the white pieces and surprised his opponent by doing a theoretical novelty move in the semi-slav defense, Meran variation, which involves a knight sacrifice on move 17.
Anand, 28, will play with the white pieces Saturday in his bid to claw back the deficit in the second game of the championship.
He beat grandmaster Michael Adams of England in the semi-finals in Groningen in the Netherlands to challenge title holder Karpov.
Anand is rated 2765, 20 points ahead of Karpov in the statistical measure of playing ability.
The pair are all that's left of the starting field of 98 grandmasters.
Six games are scheduled in the finals with a possible tiebreaker to decide the title next Friday.
Whoever wins, both Karpov and Anand are going to be a lot richer: The champion will net nearly $1.4 million and the runner-up gets $768,000.
The tournament at Lausanne's Olympic Museum was opened by the President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch.