Khanty-Mansiysk: Hou Yifan Still on Top, Girya Second
Hou Yifan still tops the standings after eight rounds at the Women's Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk. The reigning World Champion scored 6.5/8 and is a full point ahead of Olga Girya, who is currently performing 200 Elo points above her rating. Anna Muzychuk is in third place with 5 points. There are three rounds to go which will be played on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Photos © Kirill Merkuriev courtesy of FIDE
Let's pick up the tournament after the third round, when Hou Yifan was the only player to have started with three wins. On Saturday the 20-year-old Chinese grandmaster dropped her first half point, with Black against Kateryna Lagno. Nana Dzagnidze recovered from the tough loss against the world champ by showing some good preparation:
Sunday was a rest day, when there was time for a city tour through Khanty-Mansiysk.
At the start of the new week Hou Yifan won another game. By now she shouldn't really be facing 2300 players anymore in round robin events, but that's how the Grand Prix is organized.
But obviously not all 2300 players are destined to go down in this event. The sixth round saw a quick win for White in the game Muminova vs Kosintseva:
In the same round Olga Gyria started an impressive series of wins. She would score three victories in a row, the first against Zhao Xue:
The next day Girya faced her compatriot, ex-world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk. It was another excellent game, with perhaps just one mistake on move 27, but for the rest it was really well played.
In the same round Hou Yifan played Anna Ushenina, seven months after their world title match. The Chinese player was again the strongest:
Girya jumped to second place with another good win, against Anna Muzychuk. The 22-year-old Russian WGM knows her rook endings:
Round 8 saw a fascinating draw between Kosteniuk and Lagno in a line that we don't see that often anymore: the Alekhine-Chatard Attack.
The tournament is the fourth leg of the 2013-2014 FIDE Women's Grand Prix series. It's a round robin over 11 rounds and the the time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game and 30 seconds increment per move from the start.
The prize fund is 75,000 Euros. It is split 60,000 Euros as direct prize money for the tournament, and 15,000 Euros added to the accumulated prize fund for the players at the end of the series. The winner of Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk receives 10,000 Euros.
After this event, two more Grand Prixs will be held this year. The winner of the overall Grand Prix qualifies for a world title match which is scheduled for the third quarter of 2015.
Women Grand Prix, Khanty-Mansiysk | Round 8 Standings
The Women Grand Prix is a 12-player round robin. The dates are April 9th-21st, 2014 with rest days on the 13th and the 18th. Each day the rounds start at 15:00 local time which is 11:00 CET, 05:00 EST and 02:00 PST. | Games via to TWIC