The English Ogre edges out China's chess princess

GM LittlePeasant
Feb 4, 2012, 11:57 AM |

The Chess talk of last week, obviously, was all about Gibraltar.  If you aren't entirely familiar with the Gibraltar chess congress, I urge you to go to the main website ( and look it up.  I'ts a fabulous event for players of all levels in, from what I've heard, a beautiful location.


The Master's event was full of incredibly strong players. Svidler, Mamedyarov, Adams, Le and other 2700s lead the field.  However by round 7 all the talk was centered on the current Women's World Champion.  Now, that title alone might suggest that she was one of the favorites to win the tournament, but truth is that Women's chess is still lagging behind Men's considerably, so no one saw her as a real threat.

Hou Yifan, the 17 year old 2600 from China, proved that she is not to be underestimated.  In round 7 she beat Polgar, already a fantastic game in it's own right - Judit Polgar hadn't lost to any woman player in over a decade.  But it didn't stop there, Yifan rocked Le Quangliem, and then crushed Shirov to lead the tournament half a point ahead of the field.  She was stopped by Mamedyarov in the last round who took half a point away from her in a complex game.  

This allowed Nigel Short, the champion of the old vanguard, to catch her in the last round, and in a great display of experience easily destroyed the Chinese prodigy, who clearly was not very used to rapid chess.

Despite all that, Yifan will be the talk of many tournaments to come as we see her rise to the top of the chess rankings.

I leave you with an interesting game played in the last round, which caused quite a commotion.