Lopota GP: Hou Yifan Closing in on Polgar
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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.
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:
Dzagnidze played a good game against Zhao:
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.
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
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