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Hou Yifan Closer to Grand Prix Victory After Beating Humpy Koneru

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 8/28/14, 11:21 AM.

On Thursday, Hou Yifan of China came one step closer to overall victory in the 2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix Series after beating her closest rival, Humpy Koneru of India, with the black pieces.

The women's world champion needs to finish ahead of Koneru in the final Grand Prix tournament in Sharjah, UAE.

The first round of the Grand Prix in Sharjah went Hou Yifan's way, as she won her own game while Humpy Koneru lost. However, in the next two rounds the Indian grandmaster, who is Hou's biggest rival in the overall Grand Prix standings, got a half-point closer as she scored 1.5/2, while the women's world champion had to settle for two draws.

In the second round, Koneru beat Alina l'Ami, who served as (an excellent!) press officer at previous events, but entered as a substitute player for this tournament.

Koneru vs l'Ami in round two. | Photo © Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE

So far, l'Ami (who is married to GM Erwin l'Ami), is having a rough time in Sharjah: she lost all of her first four games. There is perhaps some consolation in the fact that she's not the only one. Former women's world champion Zhu Chen, who lives in Qatar and is married to GM Mohamed Al-Modiahki, is also on 0.0/4.

IM Alina l'Ami. | Photo © Maria Emelianova courtesy of FIDE.

Thursday's round four saw the big clash between Humpy Koneru and Hou Yifan. The Indian committed an early inaccuracy (8.cxd5 instead of 8.e3) and then another one on move 14, after which she got into a slightly worse double rook ending. Slowly but surely the Chinese GM made progress, and just before the time control she was going to win a pawn.

At the press conference the players both thought that Black was already winning there, but instead the final mistake was made on move 40 as the analysis shows: 

“Everywhere I just slipped out slightly and finally it became worse and winning [for Black],” said Koneru.

An important win for Hou Yifan. | Photo © Maria Emelianova courtesy of FIDE

After four rounds, it's one of Hou Yifan's compatriots who tops the standings: Ju Wenjun. She beat the aforementioned Zhu Chen in round two, then the third Chinese participant (Zhao Xue), and on Thursday she won against Elina Danielian, who blundered after many hours of play:

Ju Wenjun leads after four rounds. | Photo © Maria Emelianova courtesy of FIDE

2014 Sharjah Grand Prix | Round 4 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Ju,Wenjun 2559 2824 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 1 3.5/4
2 Hou,Yifan 2661 2676 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 1 3.0/4 5.00
3 Ushenina,Anna 2487 2651 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 3.0/4 4.75
4 Batchimeg,Tuvshintugs 2346 2700 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 3.0/4 4.25
5 Harika,Dronavalli 2521 2673 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 3.0/4 3.50
6 Kosintseva,Tatiana 2494 2488 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 2.5/4
7 Zhao,Xue 2508 2550 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 2.0/4
8 Danielian,Elina 2490 2412 0 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.5/4 1.25
9 Koneru,Humpy 2598 2354 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/4 0.50
10 Muminova,Nafisa 2315 2377 0 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/4
11 Zhu,Chen 2461 1676 0 0 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 0.0/4 0.00
12 L'Ami,Alina 2446 1725 0 0 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 0.0/4 0.00

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


5509 reads 5 comments
4 votes

Comments


  • 7 weeks ago

    PeterDoggers

    @vaiuuii

    Yes, sad situation. I mentioned in the previous article on this tournament.

  • 8 weeks ago

    nonzer0

    The score table is very picturesque; A strip of 1/2 along the main diagonal, 1s in the top right, 0s in the bottom left.

  • 8 weeks ago

    Dawnflower101

    Cool

  • 8 weeks ago

    vaiuuii

    Nice article. Yifan Hou does seem head and shoulders above everyone compeeting in women's events.

    Does nobody inquire FIDE about the fact the the Women's World Championship is less than a month and a half away and there is no official (or even unofficial) announcement for the host city? Or even if the Championships will take place? This is a disgrace for chess.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_World_Chess_Championship_2014

    It's funny how Kirsan seems so keen on respecting the deadlines in the Carlsen case and he doesnt care if this world championship even takes place!

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