Not Vishy Anand but Hou Yifan Wins Corsican Circuit Rapid Final
Hou Yifan of China won the 18th Corsica Masters on Wednesday, beating Sergey Fedorchuk of Ukraine in the final. In the semi-finals, Fedorchuk had eliminated none other than Viswanathan Anand.
The traditional Corsica festival in October reached its 18th edition this year. With a total prize fund of €85,000, the festival -- one of the biggest on the calendar -- attracted about 800 chess fans, including many children.
For the first three days, October 18*21, it was held in Bastia, and the final day took place in the Palace of Congress in Ajaccio.
There were three competitions: the Open Oscaro, the Blitz Coca Cola and two Young Trophy BNP Paribas tournaments, one in Bastia and one in Ajaccio.
From the Open Oscaro, the top 14 players would qualify for the knockout stage of the Corsica Masters, joined by Anand and Hou.
In the Open Oscaro, Sergey Fedorchuk and Igor Kovalenko tied for first with 7.5/9. They qualified for the final stage together with Dariusz Swiercz, Pavel Tregubov, Robert Ruck, Ivan Saric (who beat Zoltan Almasi in the final last year), Csaba Balogh, Martyn Kravtsiv, Romain Edouard, Jonathan Dourerassou, Tamas Meszaros, Roman Skomorokhin, Radoslav Dimitrov and Adam Horvath.
The 1/8 and 1/4 finals saw smooth wins for Anand, who eliminated both Skomorokhin and Tregubov with 2-0. The second game against Tregubov saw an interesting B vs N ending.
However, in the semi-finals, Anand was surprisingly eliminated by Fedorchuk! The Ukrainian GM played very aggressively with the black pieces and got an advantage right out of the opening. Anand had some chances to draw the game but failed to do so:
Anand had to win with Black, but again it was Fedorchuk who dominated for most of the game. His sacrifice on b5 was interesting, but it looks like the Indian GM didn't react well to it and then got into big trouble. The big favorite didn't even make it to the final — a wake-up call before his return match with Carlsen?
Fedorchuk's opponent in the final was Hou Yifan, who had more trouble to get there. She lost her very first game as White to Dimitrov but then leveled the score and won the two blitz games 2-0. Then, she also lost her first (white) game with Martyn Kravtsiv, which begs to be shown here:
But again the women's world champion won as Black, and again she scored 2-0 in the blitz games.
Her semi-final with Robert Ruck was an even tougher affair. Hou Yifan won the first, but lost the second. She then lost the first blitz game, but came back in the second. For the Armageddon game, the Hungarian GM chose black with 4 minutes and draw odds against 5 minutes for white. This is how that game went:
And so Hou Yifan had already played 13 games before reaching the final, but in fact there was a rest/travel day on Tuesday, and so there was enough time to win back some energy. And in the final she duly won 2-0 against Fedorchuk: