SEVILLE, SPAIN, NOV. 24 -- Acknowledging a hopeless situation, champion Gary Kasparov resigned the adjourned 16th game of the world chess championship today without resuming play. The victory for challenger Anatoly Karpov evens the match score at 8-8, and revives Karpov's chances of regaining the title he lost to Kasparov in 1985.

The two Soviet grandmasters now have three victories each, with five points apiece from their 10 drawn games. The first player to win six games or score 12 1/2 points will be the winner; Kasparov, 24, remains champion if the match ends tied at 12-12.

A member of Kasparov's team telephoned his decision to resign to chief arbiter Geurt Gijssen four hours before the adjourned game was due to continue.

Experts said Monday that Karpov, playing black, had Kasparov clearly on the run by the time the game adjourned at the 41st move. With a one-pawn advantage and his own king safely tucked away from attack, the 36-year-old contender was poised to rout Kasparov's retreating pieces.

Karpov took an early lead in the match, winning the second and fifth games, but Kasparov overtook him in their 11th encounter.

Unless a timeout is called, Karpov opens with white in the 17th game Wednesday.