Hou Yifan Leads Rostov Grand Prix
Hou Yifan defied her recent poor performances with a perfect start to the first Grand Prix of the 2011/12 series, in Rostov, Russia.
The 17 year-old Women's World Chess Champion won her first three games to establish a full point lead in this 12-player single round robin competition.
The winner of the Grand Prix series will challenge the champion in 2013. Who that champion is, depends on the result of the 10-game title match between Hou Yifan and Humpy Koneru due from 10 Nov-5 Dec this year.
Humpy Koneru is challenging for the title after dramatically winning the previous Grand Prix series at the last tournament.
Hou Yifan (left) and Humpy Koneru draw lots at the opening ceremony in Rostov
The standings after three rounds in Rostov:
Humpy Koneru and Hou Yifan clashed in the first round
Hou Yifan beat former champion Alexandra Kosteniuk in round three
The other matches scheduled in the 2011/12 Grand Prix series are:
September 2011, Shenzhen CHINA
October 2011, Nalchik RUSSIA
April 2012, Istanbul TURKEY
June 2012, Jermuk ARMENIA
September 2012, Kazan RUSSIA
The full regulations for the 2011/12 Grand Prix can be found here.
Pictures from the official website.