Cairns Cup R8: Yip Beats Ju, Humpy Leads
Ju Wenjun vs Carissa Yip. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Cairns Cup R8: Yip Beats Ju, Humpy Leads

| 77 | Chess Event Coverage

Round eight of the Cairns Cup in St. Louis saw a major upset as 16-year-old IM-elect Carissa Yip defeated Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun with the black pieces. GM Humpy Koneru, who beat GM Valentina Gunina, has a half-point lead going into the final round.

You can follow the tournament here as part of our live portal. is offering a daily, live-commentary broadcast with GM Robert Hess, IM Hans Niemann, GM Roeland Pruijssers, WFM Anna Cramling, WFM Alessia Santeramo and WIM Jesse Nikki February on The rounds start at 1 p.m. local time which is 11 a.m. Pacific and 20:00 Central European Time, with rounds on Feb. 7-11 and 13-16.

The official broadcast has WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Yasser Seirawan, and GM Alejandro Ramirez, and there's a Russian-language broadcast with IM Almira Skripchenko and WGM Anastasiya Karlovich on

The Cairns Cup round-eight results
The Cairns Cup round-eight results. Image: Spectrum Studios.

What an incredible comeback for Yip.

It's tempting to mention what this author wrote when Yip had lost her first four games: "Many talents make their rise to the top with bumps along the way, and her current bad form could well be a prelude to a new jump upwards soon."

Obviously I didn't expect it to be that soon.

Or was it the hoodie that she wore in round five, and again in round eight? Also too tempting not to drop that little detail here!

Carissa Yip hoodie
Yip with the hoodie. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Yip came to the board well prepared with a deferred fianchetto in the Closed Ruy Lopez, and outplayed the world champion in what was her best game so far. Commentator GM Yasser Seirawan called this victory "an electrifying moment for American chess fans."

Koneru scored an easy win vs. Gunina as she got a winning position out of the opening. There was an interesting story to it: in 2006 the Indian GM had used the exact same line to beat former world champion Anatoly Karpov!

Humpy Koneru Cairns Cup 2020
Humpy Koneru. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk won a good game against GM Nana Dzagnidze and is now half a point behind Koneru. Kosteniuk's task of keeping Koneru (who plays compatriot GM Harika Dronavalli) from victory won't be easy, as she'll face Ju herself. 

The final round will be played on Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. local time, which is 11 a.m. Pacific and 20:00 Central European Time. In case of a tie for first place, there will be a playoff on Monday.

The tournament is a 10-player round-robin with a prize fund of $180,000.

Round 8 standings Cairns
The standings after the eighth round. Image: Spectrum Studios.

Round 8 games

The round nine pairings Cairns Cup
The round nine pairings. Image: Spectrum Studios.

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Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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