The traditional Friendship Match between Russian and Chinese teams was played in Jinan this year. It was organized by the Chinese Chess Association, the Chess Federation of Russia and the Charitable Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko.
As in previous years, the Match included competitions between young chess players from the two countries, as well as a duel between big-name grandmasters – ex-world champion Hou Yifan and Vladimir Fedoseyev, the winner of Aeroflot Open 2017 and world rapid chess vice-champion 2017.
Playing for the Russian team were Andrey Tsvetkov, Dmitry Kirillov, Robert Safin, Volodar Murzin, Maria Yakimova, Alisa Nur-Mukhametova, Grigory Averyanov and Roman Kuzmin. The head coach of Russia’s national junior team is Mikhail Kobalia.
At the end of two days of matches, the junior teams tied at 32:32; the Russians won on extra points, however. Hou Yifan defeated Vladimir Fedoseyev in rapids 2.5-1.5, and the Russian won in blitz 7-1.
Traditionally, the Friendship Match had a sociocultural programme: the tournament over, the grandmasters played simuls with young contestants. Hou Yifan played against Russians; Vladimir Fedoseyev against Chinese players. All opponents put up a good fight.
The Russian team visited the main landmarks of Jinan, and during the farewell dinner the guests were introduced to the Chinese tea culture. As part of the Chess at Schools programme, Vladimir Fedoseyev and Hou Yifan also played simultaneous displays at a local training centre, where they faced off against 32 trainees. After the simul, the young Russian chess players battled it out against the centre’s best trainees.
All participants in the Friendship Match received souvenir gifts from FShR [Chess Federation of Russia (CFR)] and the Timchenko Foundation, as well as from the local organizers.