Hou Yifan One Point From Title

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 9/18/13, 8:41 AM.

GM Hou Yifan now has three wins and three draws from six games against Women's World Champion GM Anna Ushenina in their best-of-ten series. The Chinese teenager, playing near her hometown in Taizhou, now only needs one point from her final four games to recapture the top title in women's chess.


Hou Yifan won her third game today from the Black side to remain perfect with that color. Unlke rounds one and three, which were Nimzo-Indians, the Queen's Indian was used in round six. Even with the change, Hou Yifan did not spend much time in the opening, and got her attack going with a Benoni-style pawn structure.

Ushenina tried to mitigate the pressure with an exchange sacrifice, but Black's rooks proved too dominant. Running low on time, White began to make errors leading up to the time control.

Facing a desperate situation, Ushenina made her 40th move, Bxa1, but her time ran out before she pressed her clock, leading to a loss on time.


All three games in which Hou Yifan was White ended in draws.


The players will have a rest day tomorrow, with round seven to come September 20th. The match could end then, if Hou Yifan wins with White to get to the winning margin of 5.5 points.

All pictures courtesy FIDE Press Officer Anastasiya Karlovich.

10001 reads 35 comments
6 votes


  • 2 years ago


    What, no article yet on the victory?

    Edit: article is up, thanks chess.com.

  • 2 years ago


    I wouldn't give a lot of credence to any conspiracy theories - the fact is that Hou is just a much stronger player than Ushenina. Losing on time happens frequently even at the highest level - how many times did Chucky lose on time during the latest Candidates Tournament? Wink

  • 2 years ago


    congratulatons to Hou Yifan

  • 2 years ago


    Congrats Hou Yifan!

  • 2 years ago


    Come on, the match has been sold to the Chinese. Ushenina couldn't push the clock before the time ended, really? Did she never play blitz or bullet? Is she around 80 who cannot move her hands?

    Further what about the preparation for this important event? It seems at amateur level from Ushenina's side, which doesn't make sense, if we don't see that likely Ushenina got more money selling the games, and letting Yifan win.

    The male world championship is the only one which makes sense, because chess professionals are playing in it.

  • 2 years ago


    Well congrats to Hou Yifan and I am a really sorry for Ushenina about being dominated so convincingly.

  • 2 years ago


    7th round update: Hou has won with White after 40 moves, so she is now the World Champion (again)! Smile

  • 2 years ago


    According to Wikipedia, a player whose Elo rating is 100 points greater than his or her opponent's is expected to score 64%, while if the difference is 200 points the expected score for the stronger player is 76%.

    The match score is actually 75% in favour of HY, which suggests a rating difference of around 200 Elo points. I can believe that, as I think that HY is slightly stronger than her rating suggests, while AU is slightly weaker than hers.

    But even assuming a 200 point rating gap between HY and MC, the probability of him winning by a 4-0 margin is only about 1 in 16. If we trust the statistics, of course.

  • 2 years ago


    I read Mark Crowther's tweet on TWIC that the openings Ushenina was using as white were backfiring since they were 'too sharp'. I don't agree. In the first round she fumbled around in a much better position and gave Hou time to create a counter-attack. It wasn't an especially sharp position a 2500 should have trouble in. The 6th game was perhaps not a kind of opening known to Ushenina, but it wasn't sharp so much as unbalanced. As White, Ushenina couldn't create any offense -- yet again. I think she's just not as strong as Hou.

  • 2 years ago


    Anyone who thinks she would give Carlsen a hard time is delusional. The last game they played together was very recent and she continued in a clearly lost position for a dozen moves before resigning... 

  • 2 years ago


    I'm living in China at the moment - and ironically Hou Yifan is relativley unheard of by the locals (at least the ones I've come across). A bit of a shame really since sshe is on the cusp of winning the world championship again.  

  • 2 years ago


    It wasn't really an exchange sacrifice.. Ushenina just missed that she couldn't take the bishop because the queen penetrates into the first rank after c3 and Qg5 (and Qg4 after f4).. So it really was actually a blunder

  • 2 years ago


    At this point even Magnus Carlsen may not be able to save the match if he suddenly replaces Anna Ushenina: 3.5 points out of 4 games is next to impossible to achieve, playing against a 2600+ (i.e., a competent) player these days.

    It all goes to show how big the difference in strength is, and how unlikely Ushenina's championship title (from last year) has been in the first place.  Interestingly, all world champions in recent history who have been unable to defend their titles, both men and women, have been Ukrainians: Khalifman (one of Ushenina's seconds for the current match), Ponomariov, and now Ushenina.  Apparently, the Ukrainian chess school prepares them excellently for knock-outs and high-stakes single tournaments, but not so well yet for longer matches or series of (Grand Prix-style) tournaments.

  • 2 years ago


    @rorschach1985. Hou earned the right to play for WWC because she won the Grand Prix cycle. The shame is that a winner of a single tournament (Ushenina) became WC 

  • 2 years ago


    Can somebody tell me what the point is to have two world championship matches, one a series of knockout matches, one a traditional match in such a short period of time.  Doesn't seem quite fair that Usherina should have to defend her title already against somebody who lost quite early in the World Championship knockout matches.  There really should be one format used every two years instead of this nonsense.  I do not mean any disrespect for Yifan Hou as she is a great player, but she had her opportunity to defend her title a few months back and blew it.

  • 2 years ago


    Interesting moves but time should have been kept in mind. Tongue Out

  • 2 years ago


    the scored games look pity, almost like a "target practice"...

  • 2 years ago


    jerks what do you mean you hope hou yi fan will lose soon so unsupportative @ELfisher2 do you think she never lost before? If so, you are terribly wrong >:(

  • 2 years ago


    Hou Yifan!!!!!

    Do this for china and for the title! : D

    (i'm from china, but i've been living in Canada almost my whole life)

    Hou Yifan For The Win! : D 

  • 2 years ago



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