Challenger Anatoly Karpov won Game 7 of the world chess championship yesterday in New York and drew even with defending champion Gary Kasparov. Kasparov had won Game 2, and the other five games ended in draws, leaving the match score tied at 3 1/2-3 1/2.

The victory means a fresh start for the 39-year-old challenger, but the champion, 27, still has a slight edge. Kasparov keeps his title in case of a 12-12 tie in the 24-game match score, as happened the last time they played for the championship, three years ago in Seville, Spain. Otherwise, the championship and a $1.7 million prize go to the first player to reach 12 1/2 points. The loser's prize is $1.3 million.

Kasparov will have the white pieces, which give a player more initiative, in nine of the remaining 17 games. His youth also is generally considered an asset in a test of stamina that may grind on, at a scheduled rate of three games per week, until nearly the end of the year.

The actual end of the game, shortly after noon yesterday, was much less dramatic than the play itself had been on Friday. Neither player was present when a note from Kasparov, conceding defeat, was handed to chief arbiter Geurt Gijssen. For the record, Karpov's 44th and final move, written down and kept overnight by Gijssen in a sealed envelope, was Kg1/K-N1, moving his king toward the center of the board.

Game 8 is to begin Monday with Kasparov playing white.

For results of the latest game, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 on a Touch-Tone phone and enter code 8000. The service is free.