Hou Yifan marches on, catches Adams in first place

by ChessBase
2/1/2012 – While much of Europe is in the clutch of blizzards and freezing temperatures the players in Gibraltar are frolicking on the beach in short sleeved T-shirts. Meanwhile women's world champion Hou Yifan, 17, is sweeping GMs under the carpet. With an eighth-round win over Le Quang Liem she has caught Michael Adams and stands to gain a whopping 26 points on the next FIDE list.

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The 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival is taking place from Tuesday, 24th January to Thursday, 2nd February 2012 at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. The event is the tenth in the series held on the Rock, the second to be sponsored by Tradewise Insurance with technical support by Gibtelecom. The rate of play: 40 moves in 100 minutes plus 20 moves in 50 minutes plus 15 minutes for all remaining moves with 30 seconds per move added from the start.

Frisbee on the beach – while much of Europe is being hit by a killer freeze...

... our friends in Gibralter (US players Teddy Coleman, Molner Mackenzie and Marc
Arnold are on the Mediterranean beach in short-sleeved T-shirts

GM Mlos Pavlovic from Serbia and WGM Jovana Vojinovic of Montenegro enjoy the sun...

... and Jovana actually scales a seashore boulder to pose with the chess piece

How many pictures do you want? Why so many? Come on, guys.

GM Sergei Movsesian of Armenia, Jovana Vojinovic, IM Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine
and Husein Aziz Nezad of Qatar climb the hill to visit the Barbary Macaque monkeys

Sergei makes acquaintance with one of Gibraltar's most popular inhabitants...

... and Husein Aziz appears to have a friend for life

Very nice headgear, Mariya! Take it home with you...

Which brings us to the subject: what is our "little monkey" doing (seriously, we are told that "Hou Yifan" translates to that). The 17-year-old women's world champion is simply sweeping GMs under the carpet, as in her eighth round encounter with the very strong Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem. Yifan, rated over 100 points below Liem, sacrificed two pawns in a Sicilian Scheveningen to launch an assault on the black king which eventually caused her opponent to crack.

[Event "Gibraltar Open"] [Site "Caleta ENG"] [Date "2012.01.31"] [Round "8"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Le, Quang Liem"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B93"] [WhiteElo "2605"] [BlackElo "2714"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2012.01.24"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f4 e6 7. Be2 Qc7 8. O-O Be7 9. Kh1 O-O 10. a4 Nc6 11. Be3 Re8 12. Bf3 Na5 13. Bf2 Nd7 14. Qe1 b6 15. e5 Bb7 16. Bg3 dxe5 17. fxe5 Rac8 18. Rd1 Bb4 19. Qf2 Rf8 20. Ne4 Nxe5 21. Bf4 Bxe4 22. Bxe4 Bd6 23. Nf3 f5 24. Bxe5 Bxe5 25. Bd3 Bxb2 26. Rb1 Bc3 27. Ng5 Qe7 28. Qe3 Nc4 29. Bxc4 Rxc4 30. Rxb6 Bd4 31. Qd3 Rxa4 32. Rxe6 Qa3 33. Qe2 h6 { Black is still a pawn up but under constant pressure, as the next move illustrates.} 34. Rxh6 gxh6 35. Qe6+ {This forces Liem to keep finding only moves in order to survive.} Kg7 36. Qd7+ {White too must find only moves.} Kg6 37. Ne6 Bc5 $4 ({White should be able to survive after} 37... Rf7 {(only move) and:} 38. Nf4+ Kg7 39. Nh5+ Kg8 40. Qe8+ Rf8 41. Qg6+ Kh8 42. Qxh6+ Kg8 43. Qg6+ Kh8 44. Qh6+ {draw, with most of the moves pretty much forced.}) 38. Qg7+ ({Was 37...Bc6 intended as an exchange sacrifice:} 38. Nxf8+ Bxf8 39. Qxf5+ Kg7 40. Qf7+ Kh8 41. Qxf8+ Qxf8 42. Rxf8+ {after which White is safe.}) 38... Kh5 39. Nxf8 Bxf8 40. Qf7+ {and it is a forced mate in five more moves.} 1-0

This game left Yifan sharing top position with Michael Adams, both with 6.5/8 points, but with the Chinese girl chalking up a higher performance (2859). With this score she stands to gain 26 – twenty-six – rating points on the next FIDE list.

Our hero: women's world champion Hou Yifan from China

At fourteen Hou Yifan became the youngest female player ever to qualify for the title of Grandmaster, and at sixteen the youngest World Chess Champion in history (men's or women's). In the most recent FIDE rating list she is ranked as the No. 1 girl player in the world, the No. 2 female player – behind Judit Polgar, whom she beat on Monday – and the No. 10 junior player of any gender. She is only the third female player to achieve a FIDE rating of over 2600.

Hou's outstanding chess career is continuing at a pace. In June 2011, she took part in the AAI International GM Tournament in India and in August, won clear first place in the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011-2012 tournament in Rostov, Russia. She comfortably retained her World Championship title winning a match 5½-2½ against Humpy Koneru in November 2011.

Top standings after eight rounds

 Ti. Name
1 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2605 6.5 2859.0
2 GM Adams Michael ENG 2724 6.5 2843.0
3 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2677 6.0 2790.0
4 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2747 6.0 2778.0
5 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2700 6.0 2750.0
6 GM Almasi Zoltan HUN 2717 6.0 2748.0
7 GM Howell David W L ENG 2603 6.0 2737.0
8 GM Movsesian Sergei ARM 2700 6.0 2726.0
9 GM Gopal G N IND 2566 6.0 2720.0
10 GM Svidler Peter RUS 2749 6.0 2714.0
11 GM Bologan Viktor MDA 2680 6.0 2708.0
12 GM Negi Parimarjan IND 2641 6.0 2692.0
13 GM Shirov Alexei LAT 2710 6.0 2691.0
14 GM Akobian Varuzhan USA 2617 6.0 2649.0
15 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2543 6.0 2646.0
16 GM Salem A R Saleh UAE 2505 6.0 2623.0
17 GM Le Quang Liem VIE 2714 5.5 2718.0
18 GM Polgar Judit HUN 2710 5.5 2679.0
19 GM Dzagnidze Nana GEO 2535 5.5 2653.0
20 GM Brunello Sabino ITA 2581 5.5 2652.0
21 GM Fridman Daniel GER 2660 5.5 2622.0
22 FM Kuipers Stefan NED 2391 5.5 2611.0
23 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2699 5.5 2610.0
24 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2581 5.5 2608.0
25 GM Zhu Chen QAT 2472 5.5 2606.0
26 GM Erdos Viktor HUN 2634 5.5 2605.0
27 GM Gustafsson Jan GER 2643 5.5 2601.0
28 GM Cramling Pia SWE 2491 5.5 2597.0
29 IM Muzychuk Anna SLO 2580 5.5 2592.0
30 GM Sutovsky Emil ISR 2703 5.5 2586.0
31 GM Nabaty Tamir ISR 2563 5.5 2582.0
32 IM Dvirnyy Daniyyl ITA 2492 5.5 2541.0
33 GM Iturrizaga Edoardo VEN 2649 5.5 2509.0
34 GM Del Rio De Angelis Salvador G ESP 2531 5.5 2501.0
35 GM Womacka Mathias GER 2455 5.5 2399.0

Video reports from Gibraltar

Excerpt from the Gibraltar Chess Festival live commentary by GM Simon Williams. The exciting climax of round eight with dual-game commentary on Hou Yifan vs. Le Quang Liem and Artur Jussupow vs. Alexei Shirov.

Alexei Shirov shows us his victory over Artur Jussupow, which is a candidate for best game prize

Master Class with IM Anna Zatonskih, who analyses a game she played in 2004 against Jan Votava.You will hear the discriptions of plans that went through her mind during the game – and also enjoy her very charming accent.

Photos: Zeljka Malobabic – Videos by Macauley Peterson


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