Women's World Championship reaches semis

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Women's World Championship reaches semisHumpy Koneru, Hou Yifan and Zhao Xue reached the semi-finals of the Women's World Championship in Antakya on Tuesday, all winning their minimatches 1.5-0.5. Today Ruan Lufei joined them after eliminating Harika Dronavalli in the rapid tiebreak.

General info

The 2010 Women's World Championship, organized by the Turkish Chess Federation, takes place December 2-25 in Antakya, Hatay, Turkey. The format is a knock-out competition with five rounds of matches, comprising two games per round, with the winners progressing to the next round. The 6th and final round will be played over four games and the winner will be declared Women’s World Champion. More info here.

Round 4

Only eight players were left in the race for the highest title, and they were paired for their first classical game on Monday. Kateryna Lahno won a pawn against Hou Yifan in an Alapin Sicilian, but Black had very nice compensation with that nice bishop pair and rooks on the open files. At some point it seems Lahno played for a win too long; it doesn't look like she had to lose that ending.

Humpy Koneru started with an excellent, Koneru-like win, putting away Ju Wenjun with small, positional measures in a Four Pawns KID. Despite a modest opening, Harika Dronavalli got some pressure, but it wasn't enough. Almira Skripchenko won a healthy pawn against Zhao Xue, but White's activity saved the day.

Women's World Championship reaches semis

Humpy Koneru looking very strong in Antakya

On Tuesday three of the four matches were decided. In a must-win situation Ju Wenjun's 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 was a bit of a surprise, but perhaps the young Chinse isn't much of a theoretician. She got some chances anyway after giving a queen for rook and knight and a passer on d6. However, Koneru gave back material which left queen vs rooks on the board, and an easy draw for the top seed.

Lahno tried to win with Black in a Pirc, but Hou Yifan was just too solid and Black was nowhere near an advantage, so exit for the Ukrainian lady who is married to Europe-Echecs GM Robert Fontaine. Ruan Lufei and Harika Dronavalli went for the tiebreaks after another draw in a 6...Bd7 Richter Rauzer Sicilian.

Women's World Championship reaches semis

Hou Yifan eliminates Kateryna Lahno

The game of the round was Skripchenko-Zhao Xue in which the French lady tried the Evans Gambit and got a nice initiative after the Chinese decided to decline it (thus breaking one of the rules of our local club: 'the first pawn can always be taken!'). 20.Be4 gives White some chances; in the game 20.c3 shut away the queen's rook after which Black was on top thanks to the strong reply 20...e4!.

In today's rapid tiebreak Ruan Lufei struck immediately with the black pieces. A Semi-Slav was balanced for some time, 32.bxc5? was a big blunder (32.Re1) - the Indian might have missed that the rook on d1 is hanging after Nxf2. In a must-win situation she then tried the Pirc as well, but also here the white player was too solid to get into real trouble.

Women's World Championship reaches semis

Zhao Xue, the third Chinese player to qualify

So we're looking at an all Asian semi-finals, starting tomorrow, with three Chinese players and one from India. Koneru faces Hou Yifan, which would have been a nice final, and Zhao Xue plays Ruan Lufei.

Games round 4

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Women's World Championship 2010 | Round 4 results
Women's World Championship 2010 | Round 3 results

Photos © Turkish Chess Federation


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