Lopota GP: Hou Yifan Closing in on Polgar

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 6/27/14, 10:59 AM.

Once again Hou Yifan is in a class of her own in a women's event. The 20-year-old Chinese grandmaster is 1.5 points ahead in Lopota, Georgia with three rounds to go. And, with a live rating of 2646.5, she is only 29.6 Elo points behind Judit Polgar on the women's rating list!

She is doing it again. Hou Yifan, the reigning Women's World Champion, won the Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix in April with 8.5/11 and a 2695 performance and now, in Lopota, Georgia she is again 1.5 points ahead of the field (good for a 2846 performance), with three rounds to go. On Saturday, the second and final rest day of the tournament, her last three opponents (Anna Muzychuk, Elina Danielian and Alexandra Kosteniuk) might want to have a good think about how to stop the Chinese lady.

We left the tournament after four rounds, when Hou Yifan topped the standings with 3.5 points. After enjoying an excursion to a winery on Monday, play proceeded on Tuesday with the fifth round. And the tournament leader continued winning, “reiterating the breathtaking pace from Khanty Mansyisk, as Alina l'Ami aptly described it.

A quick loss for Antoaneta Stefanova

Ju Wenjun and Nana Dzagnize remained only half a point behind the leader as they both won their games, against Zhao Xue and Humpy Koneru respectively. The next day only Dzagnidze could keep the pace with Hou Yifan, who won against one of her compatriots in quite an irregular Sicilian:

Deep concentration couldn't save Ju Wenjun

Dzagnidze played a good game against Zhao:

Nana Dzagnidze won as well

And so, with half a point difference, Hou Yifan and Dzagnidze faced each other on Thursday. It was the longest game of the round, and in the end it was again the Chinese who scored the full point, increading her lead to 1.5 points. It was all decided in the endgame.

The top encounter Hou vs Dzagnidze: another win for the world champ

Today, with four draws and Stefanova beating Muminova, the standings didn't change much. Hou Yifan kept her 1.5 point lead, and with a few more wins she will get dangerously close to Judit Polgar on the next rating list!

Lopota GP 2014 | Round 8 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Hou,Yifan 2629 2846 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 7.0/8
2 Ju,Wenjun 2532 2651 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 5.5/8 17.25
3 Dzagnidze,Nana 2541 2656 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 5.5/8 15.25
4 Muzychuk,Anna 2561 2586 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 5.0/8
5 Koneru,Humpy 2613 2585 ½ ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 ½ ½ 4.5/8 20.00
6 Danielian,Elina 2460 2544 0 ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 4.5/8 15.00
7 Harika,Dronavalli 2503 2566 ½ ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ 1 4.5/8 14.00
8 Stefanova,Antoaneta 2488 2524 0 0 ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 1 4.0/8
9 Kosteniuk,Alexandra 2532 2459 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 3.5/8
10 Zhao,Xue 2538 2358 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/8
11 Khotenashvili,Bela 2518 2283 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.5/8
12 Muminova,Nafisa 2332 2061 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/8

The Women Grand Prix takes place 19 June - 1 July in Lopota, Georgia with rest days on 23 & 28 June. Thanks to press officer in Lopota, Alina l'Ami. All photos courtesy of the official website | Games via TWIC phpfCo1l0.png

17025 reads 61 comments
4 votes


  • 2 years ago


    I will only have respect for Hou Yifan until the moment she starts playing men regularly. Just look at the rating range: 2332 - 2629 and only 12 players. Of course she's gonna do so well.

  • 2 years ago


    McNastyMac: She played in the Tata Steel 2013 A group, where I believe she was the lowest rated player and only female. In any case it doesn't matter who she plays with: she only has to lose a few of these games to lose lots of rating points, and these are all people eager to score an upset -- letting up for just a moment would turn that into a reality. Yet game after game she doesn't allow even a small opportunity -- the reason her performance rating is 2850 is because this is how a 2850 would usually play, not a 2600. Not to say she will keep playing like this -- this is probably just an unusually good tournament for her.

  • 2 years ago


    With all due respect, while Polgar only competes (since she was like 13) in "all genre" events (I almost called them "men" events there for a second. I still don't completely understand why people insist in making a difference between men and women when it's about playing chess). She doesn't boost her rating up by beating weaker opponents, but rather face the top 10 on a regular basis. What was the last "non all female" event in which Yifan played?

  • 2 years ago


    how Beatiful she is! 

  • 2 years ago


    elo does not going to give her class of judith. She defeated kasparov in world vs Russia who will forget???

  • 2 years ago


    Well.. I would like to see her play in some man(open) tournaments, let's see if she can handle some.. real.. competition ;)

  • 2 years ago


    In my opinion, Hou still needs a little more understanding on some positions so that it reaches the level of excellence in chess. I am quite sure she will make it!

  • 2 years ago


    I'm a fan of this girl!

  • 2 years ago


  • 2 years ago


    Hou is totally awesome! I hope her rating keeps going up up up!!!

  • 2 years ago


    steve200: I have a weakness for Antoaneta too, but I would not call her weak. She was women's world rapid chess champion in 2012 and the women's world chess champion in 2004.

    Edit: KMagik: No, that photo does not look menacing, I think it is rather cute.

  • 2 years ago


    It's not a matter of who will win, but rather Hou will win!

  • 2 years ago


    Does anyone else find the last photo manacing?

    And I must say, Biel tournament looks promising. It's high time for another woman but Judit Polgar to compete at the highest level.

  • 2 years ago


    Will be interesting to see her in Biel in a month, she will be going against a strong field. Last year at Tata Steel she well out preformed her rating with wins over Giri, Harikrishna, and Sokolov, and she had just cracked 2600 at that point.

  • 2 years ago


    Wow Hou is becoming more like the Magnus of women chess.  Only at 20, she has prove herself to be the best women of chess today and likely to reach the 2700 mark soon.  Cheers to Hou!!

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