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Hou Yifan Close to Winning GP; Will She Pass Judit Polgar?

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 9/3/14, 8:00 AM.

Hou Yifan of China is on the verge of winning the overall 2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix. With three rounds to go, she tops the standings of the Sharjah GP together with her compatriot Ju Wenjun.

More important, Hou Yifan is 3 points ahead of her closest rival in the Women's GP: Humpy Koneru of India.

If the women's world champion can keep a margin of 2.5 points in tomorrow's ninth round, she will be the overall winner no matter what happens on the last two days.

Besides, Hou Yifan's live rating is now dangerously close to that of Judit Polgar's: 2670.8 vs 2675.0.

It's quite possible that at the end of the week, the women's rating list will have a new number one, for the first time in 25 years.

Recently, Polgar announced her retirement. On her website, she writes:

In the past quarter of a century, all my life centered on chess. I feel eternally grateful for all the wonderful experiences it has granted me. I am also beholden to those amazing people who have made this possible. I am thankful to my family for their patient love and generosity, to my fans for their unwavering support, to my trainers and team-members for their resolve as well as to my opponents for their vigorous challenge.”

You can read the full statement here.

So what happened in Sharjah in rounds 5-8? Let's have a look. 

On Saturday, Hou Yifan caught Ju Wenjun in first place. The latter drew very quickly with Tuvshintugs Batchimeg of Mongolia, while the Chinese GM outplayed Russia's Tatiana Kosintseva:

Hou Yifan vs Tatiana Kosintseva. | Photo © Maria Emelianova courtesy of FIDE

The next day, the tournament leaders both won their games. Alina l'Ami started with four losses, then drew with Zhu Chen, but Ju Wenjun was too strong:


L-R Alina l'Ami, Ju Wenjun & press officer Nastja Karlovich. | Photo © Maria Emelianova courtesy of FIDE


Hou Yifan quickly got the upper hand against Ukraine's Anna Ushina in a Nimzo-Indian, and had no trouble converting the extra material:

Hou Yifan. | Photo © Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE

Both Chinese ladies continued winning in round seven as well! Ju Wenjun easily reached 6.0/7 as Nafisa Muminova just played quite a bad game. Hou Yifan took her time, but eventually outplayed Zhu Chen in an ending:


The eighth round saw a lot of draws, and now Hou Yifan and Ju Wenjun top the standings with 6.5/8. They're followed by Tuvshintugs Batchimeg who has 5.5, while Humpy Koneru is in ninth place with 3.5 points.

Wednesday is the second and last rest day in Sharjah. In the last three rounds, Hou Yifan can write history.

2014 Sharjah Grand Prix | Round 8 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Hou Yifan 2661 2747 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 6.5/8 23.00
2 Ju Wenjun 2559 2718 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 6.5/8 21.25
3 Batchimeg,T 2346 2642 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 5.5/8
4 Ushenina,A 2487 2535 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 4.5/8 16.50
5 Harika,D 2521 2539 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 4.5/8 13.00
6 Danielian,E 2490 2495 0 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 4.5/8 12.75
7 Zhao,Xue 2508 2516 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 4.0/8 15.25
8 Kosintseva,T 2494 2486 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 1 4.0/8 13.50
9 Koneru,H 2598 2429 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 3.5/8
10 Muminova,N 2315 2343 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/8
11 Zhu Chen 2461 2227 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.5/8
12 L'Ami,A 2446 2157 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/8

The Grand Prix in Sharjah is the last of six tournaments in the 2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix Series. Hou Yifan will win the overall series if she finishes ahead of Humpy Koneru, and thus secure a place in the 2015 women's world championship match even if she loses her title later this year in the knockout championship.

Women's GP 2013-2014 | Standings After 5 Tournaments

# Player Rtg Geneva Dilijan Tashkent Khanty-Mansiysk Lopota Sharjah Played Best 3
1 Koneru,H 2598 160 160 50 x 3 370
2 Hou,Y 2661 45 160 160 x 3 365
3 Muzychuk,A 2555 130 120 85 50 4 335
4 Dzagnidze,N 2550 100 120 65 90 4 310
5 Khotenashvili,B 2494 160 10 120 20 4 300
6 Lagno,K 2540 60 120 85 3 265
6 Ju,W 2559 75 70 120 x 3 265
8 Dronavalli,H 2521 60 85 75 x 3 220
9 Girya,O 2484 10 30 55 130 4 215
9 Kosteniuk,A 2531 45 55 110 50 4 215
11 Kosintseva,T 2494 100 90 15 x 3 205
12 Stefanova,A 2505 60 30 65 75 4 200
13 Ushenina,A 2487 75 80 45 x 3 200
14 Danielian,E 2490 30 40 120 x 3 190
15 Zhao,X 2508 85 45 30 x 3 160
16 Batchimeg,T 2346 20 60 15 x 3 95
17 Cmilyte,V 2525 30 30 2 60
17 Muminova,N 2315 20 30 10 x 3 60
19 Nakhbayeva,G 2336 10 1 10
20 L'Ami,A 2446 x 0 0
21 Zhu,C 2461 x 0 0

phpfCo1l0.png


9105 reads 22 comments
2 votes

Comments


  • 4 months ago

    Gitananda

    Unless there is a serious flaw in the Elo system then it shouldn't matter what gender you play against; a 2650+ rating earned by playing against mostly women should have the same win/lose/draw expectancy as one earned by playing against mostly men. However Hou Yifan does not refuse to play in open or mix-gendered events and so I don't understand why people keep bringing up the fact that she ALSO competes in women-only events. She has tended to perform at least as good as her rating in those open and mix-gendered events.

  • 4 months ago

    aashu0510

    graduating to the level of judit polgar will be a eternal dream for any female chess player just like garry kasparov will never become bobby fischer even with a higher elo rating

  • 4 months ago

    Tralitrala

    I hear myself, but you are arguing about something I did not talk about at all. I don't question that it is hard to reach the level and I also don't question that beating a super GM once is not the same as a constant play on very high level. Did I say that anywhere?

    You refered to gender, and there I said it is not gender which makes it per se unlikely. From that it does not follow, that it is not unlikely in general (e.g. due to lower female activitiy rate or because reaching this level is generally hard). Do you understand the difference?

    "Does that make her better than him? Do you even hear yourself?"

    lololol where did I even say such a thing that Yifan is better than Giri to "hear myself"? Don't strawmen me dude.

  • 4 months ago

    TRANKD

    @Tralitrala... come on... do you even believe in what you're saying? Yes, Judit Polgar was a chess phenomenon. No matter how sexist you are, you can't deny that. But reaching 2760 is much harder than it seems (Judit reached 2735 and was no.8 so the stakes are getting higher every year). It would be an accomplisment if she reached 2700. It's not sexism, it's statistics. Also, there's a big difference between beating the top player and preserving a constant high quality play. Hou Yifan beat Giri recently. Does that make her better than him? Do you even hear yourself?

  • 4 months ago

    edpratomo

    zhu chen was actually a very promising talent. but her sparring is only her husband that's why no more progress from her. if only she stayed in china and training, competing, with her china colleauges... 

  • 4 months ago

    Tralitrala

    The ratio of active women to active men playing chess is not 4:1, in Switzerland it is 1:20 (a bit less even) and in the US only 8.5% of the chess players are women. And yes the ratio can explain it. Facts? Here:

    http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/276/1659/1161

    If it would be only innate, you would have to assume that swiss men are innately less talented, since the best russian women have a higher rating than the best swiss born male players ever had.

    The ratio at the tail of the distribution correlates with how equalitarian a country is btw, so we will have to wait quite some time until the right conditions are given.

    I am a PhD student in computational neuroscience btw, so I assume I know a bit more about the brain than you do.

  • 4 months ago

    steve_bute

    @smscities

    Speaking statistically -- I am a professional statistician -- the tails can take a long time to fill in. Comparing tails of small populations can lead to grossly misleading conclusions.

  • 4 months ago

    smscities

    Tralitrala 

    Fact =! Sexism

    Female players are generally far below mens level, stistically. Among the top 100 there are only 2 female players (50:1 ratio) but the number of girls to numbers playing chess ratio is only around 4:1. So, the commonly used "less women participation" logic does not make any sense. You just need to accept the fact instead of trying to fabricate facts for the sake of political correctness. 

  • 4 months ago

    suzettemy

    "(in the nick of time)"??!  She just earned a Silver Olympic Medal!!!  What have you done lately, hmmm? And thanks to SpeedyBird for pointing out that Judit never played in women only events.  Judit's 2734 rating was earned playing Men.  

  • 4 months ago

    Tralitrala

    "I don't think any woman will achieve top 10 in men's chess again. It's possible, but very unlikely. The current 10th player, Mamedyarov, stands at 2760. Very hard to achieve."


    It's lovely how sexism never dies out. First it was "a woman will NEVER beat the strong male players" and after Polgar has achieved this, it's "it is unlikely" now. And I guess you don't mean because women make up a much smaller percentage of chess players but because of some supposed inherent blabla.

  • 4 months ago

    pund

    I doubt Hou would have a chance against Judit in a death match. Judit has performed great at the blitz WC recently. Likewise I doubt Judit would have a 'good' chance in classical these days as Hou has performed great recently

  • 4 months ago

    steve_bute

    "dangerously close"? ... I have to say, I do not understand the 'danger', but I don't get out much.

    That aside, I would like to see her playing against strong opposition on a frequent basis; otherwise, someone might complain that her rating is pumped up by (mostly) playing weakies.

  • 4 months ago

    zealandzen

    Top games of this tournament are in Live right now. Thanks for the info.

  • 4 months ago

    Gitananda

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 4 months ago

    Gitananda

    Retiring (in the nick of time) while still the #1 rated female player was a great way for Polgar to end a stellar career. Hou Yifan likes to play blitz on this site so how about a 'Death Match' between her and Polgar? http://www.chess.com/members/view/yifanhou

  • 4 months ago

    SpeedyBird876

    I think that Hou Yifan has a good chance of getting into the top 10. Remember she's only 20. But she'll have to start competing in  men's competitions to face stronger opposition.

  • 4 months ago

    vpai

    The one time they met Yifan defeated Polgar...reminds of Sampras v/s Federer

  • 4 months ago

    smscities

    She will definitely pass Judit Polgar in rating, but will definitely not pass Judit as the greatest female player in history. Judit Polger is the only woman who belonged to the top 10 league, and the only women who did not compete for the the  women "world championship", as she could compete in the real chess and even beat almost all top players.

  • 4 months ago

    TRANKD

    I don't think any woman will achieve top 10 in men's chess again. It's possible, but very unlikely. The current 10th player, Mamedyarov, stands at 2760. Very hard to achieve.

  • 4 months ago

    savantz

    l'Ami was last minute stand in for a "no show"... so she wasn't quite prepared but was generous enough to volunteer so that the event could continue. she originally was there to report on the event.

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