Alexandra Kosteniuk Wins 2008 Women's World Championship
Alexandra Kosteniuk (pictured) has won a well deserved victory in the 2008 Women's World Chess Championship. The dynamic Russian player took the title by drawing the fourth and final game against her young Chinese opponent, Hou Yifan.
The narrow final margin of victory, by 2.5 -1.5 points fails to adequately reflect how dominant Kosteniuk was during the final. Besides the first game of the match which she won, Alexandra could also have won game 2 and 3, and forced a draw by repetition in a completely winning position in the final game to ensure victory.
Kosteniuk is the first Russian Women's World Champion since Elisabeth Bykova who held the title from 1958-1962 (and also from 1953-1956).
|Vera Menchik||1927–1944||Czechoslovakia / United Kingdom|
|Lyudmila Rudenko||1950–1953||Soviet Union / Ukraine|
|Elisabeth Bykova||1953–1956||Soviet Union / Russia|
|Olga Rubtsova||1956–1958||Soviet Union / Russia|
|Elisabeth Bykova||1958–1962||Soviet Union / Russia|
|Nona Gaprindashvili||1962–1978||Soviet Union / Georgia|
|Maya Chiburdanidze||1978–1991||Soviet Union / Georgia|
|Susan Polgar||1996–1999||Hungary / USA
Huge congratulations to Sasha Kosteniuk who had an excellent tournament and won the title in convincing style. She won all of her matches without the need for tie-breaks and didn't lose a single game during the tournament. She has been a tireless promoter of chess - and herself - for many years, as her entertaining website makes clear.
So the final hurdle proved to be too much for the talented 14 year-old Hou Yifan, but with such prodigious talent who would bet against her adding her name to her many successful Chinese compatriots in the years to come?
The start of the final game. Pic from the official site.