Istanbul: Chinese girls dominate, Hou with 2900+ performance

by ChessBase
3/16/2009 – Owing to technical and communications problems we have not been able to do wall-to-wall coverage of the very attractive FIDE Women Masters in Turkey, where the Chinese GMs Hou Yifan and Zhao Xue are dominating in stunning fashion, with 2905 and 2746 performances respectively. But now we intend to take up reporting again for the last four rounds. Here for starters is a big pictorial report.

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İş Bankası - Women Grand Prix Series in Istanbul

The first event of the FIDE 2009/2010 Grand Prix cycle is being held in Istanbul: It is called the Is Bank Atatürk FIDE Women Masters, and is actually the second edition of a women’s super tournament in Turkey. It is taking placed from the 6th to 20th of March in Istanbul, at Cybele Art Gallery in Is Bank Tower.

Report after round seven

After seven rounds and coming to the second rest day in Is Bank FIDE Women Grand Prix the Chinese girls are dominating. The youngest participant, Hou Yifan, who turned fifteen just two weeks ago, ground down her main rival Koneru Humpy, the top seed and second strongest female player in the world (after the galactic Judit Polgar). Yifan, we must remember, drew her first round game against Maia Chiburdanidze and has won every single game since then. Her score is 6.5/7 points and her performance an incredible 2905.

GM Hou Yifan in her typical chess playing outfit

Behind Yifan we have another Chinese grandmaster on fire: Zhao Xue has conceded two draws so far, in rounds two and four against Chiburdanidze and Stefanova (both former Women's World Champions). Xue has chalked up 6.0/7 points with a 2746 performance. We are sure to see these girls at the top of the July FIDE rankings.

Chinese GM Zhao Xue

Behind the dynamic Chinese duo we have a gap of a full point, with Humpy at plus three (four wins, one loss) with a performance just below her nominal 2621 rating. Our friend Martha Fierro has slipped from a top slot to place eight, after three painful losses in the last three rounds. We are somewhat mystified by her game against Humpy:

Fierro Baquero,M (2403) - Koneru,H (2621) [C90]
FIDE Women's Grand Prix Instanbul TUR (5), 12.03.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.Re1 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.Nbd2 Nd7 12.Nf1 Nb6 13.Ng3 Nc6 14.h3 Be6 15.d4 exd4 16.cxd4 cxd4 17.Ne2 Nb4 18.Bb1 d3 19.Nf4 Bf6 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.a3 Nc2 22.Bxc2 dxc2 23.Qxc2 Rc8 24.Qe2 Nc4 25.Rb1 Qa5 26.Rd1 Rfe8 27.Bg5 Qd8 28.Bxf6 Qxf6 29.Rd4 d5 30.exd5 exd5 31.Qd3 h6 32.h4 Rc6 33.h5 Rce6 34.Rg4 Ne5 35.Nxe5 Rxe5 36.Qg6 Rc8??

Did Humpy really play that? And did Martha really overlook the forced win? According to the bulletin she played 37.Qd3? instead of 37.Qxf6 Rg5 38.Rxg5 hxg5 39.Qe6+ Kh7 40.Qxc8 and mate to follow. We have asked our colleagues in Istanbul to check the original scoresheet and in fact ask Martha – but of course not just before round eight. The game continued tragically (for her) 37...Ree8 38.Rd4 Rc6 39.Rg4 Rce6 40.Qg6 Re1+ 41.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 42.Kh2 Qxb2 43.Qxh6 Qa1 44.Qg6 Rh1+ 45.Kg3 Qe5+ 46.Rf4 Rxh5 47.Kf3 Rh6 48.Qc2 Qh5+ 49.g4 Qh1+ 50.Ke3 Re6+ 51.Kd4 Qe1 52.Kd3 Re8 53.Qd2 Qb1+ 54.Qc2 Qf1+ 55.Kd4 Qa1+ 56.Qc3 Qd1+ 57.Qd3 Qa4+ 0-1.

Martha Fierro in action (in her ill-fated game against Humpy)

Current standings

Pictorial report from Istanbul

By Özgür Akman

The leading Chinese girls Hou Yifan (playing) and Zhao Xue

Actually there are three of them: WGM Shen Yang (right) is on minus three

Top seed Koneru Humpy is in trouble in Istanbul – can she catch the Cinese?

Parents: Hou Yifan's mother is a former nurse, Humpy's father Koneru is a chess player

Former World Champion GM Antoaneta Stefanova from Bulgaria at 50%

Postgame analysis between Antoaneta Stefanova and Shen Yang

The first rest day of the Is Bank Atatürk FIDE Women Grand Prix had a specific schedule – a visit by the players of Dolmabahçe Palace, the late Ottomon monument in the heart of Bosphorus and Istanbul. Dolmabahçe (Dolmabahche) Palace is where the eminent founder and the first President of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk spent his last days – he died in one of the chambers inside the palace.

Players' outing – you should recognise Chiburdanidze, Danielian, Cramling, Fierro,
Sebag, Yildiz, Zhao Xue, Mamedjarova, Humpy, Shen Yang, Hou Yifan


Martha Lorena Fierro Baquero
Birth Year: 1977
Rating: 2403
Title: International Master
FIDE Rating List Rank (Women): 64

Martha Fierro, born in Rhode Island, USA but from Ecuador is the highest rated Panamerican chess player. She started playing chess at the age of 14 but she compensated the difficulties of being a latecomer by advancing rapidly. Her current rating, slightly above the 2400 mark is her best rating ever. In the Chess Olympiad last November in Dresden, she scored 7.5 out of 8 with a rating performance of 2613 and a silver medal on the first board.

She holds the FIDE player titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster and the FIDE training title of FIDE Trainer. She has represented Ecuador in several Chess Olympiads and dominated the domestic championships by winning all the titles between 1992-2002. She won a silver medal in the Yerevan 1996 Chess Olympiad. She became Panamerican Champion 5 times. She was tied for the fourth place in the World Junior Girls Championship in Brazil 1994. She is a frequent visitor to the United States and has a second home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Hou Yifan (China)
Birth Year: 1994
Rating: 2571
Title: Grandmaster (GM)
World ranking (Women): 3

Hou Yifan, is the Chinese chess prodigy who was the finalist in FIDE World Women Chess Championship and became the youngest ever female in history (just at the age of 14 years 6 months) to attain the title of Grandmaster.

Her debut was winning medals in some youth championships in under 10 category but she was noticed in the international arena during Three Arrows Cup in San Jinan thanks to her amazing results against a higher rated opposition. At the age of 12, she became the youngest ever player to participate in the FIDE Women’s World Championship in Yekaterinburg and the Chess Olympiad in Turin.

Next year, she became the youngest Chinese Women’s Champion and she was invited to the Corus Wijk aan Zee C Group where she took the fifth place while last year she played in B Group where most of the players being Grandmasters rated above 2600 and in the top 100 of FIDE rating list and she scored -1.

During 2008, she visited Turkey twice, in the first one winning the Atatürk Women Masters Tournament. In the second one she shared the third place in the open category of World Junior Championship (the first female player to do that) which was held in Gaziantep.

In the most recent (January 2009) FIDE rating list, she is ranked the no. 1 girl player and the no. 3 female player in the world. She is also ranked no. 18 junior player, and the highest-ranked 14-year-old of either sex. Many think that she is not only the future women’s world champion but a candidate for becoming the strongest women player ever, even challenging Judit Polgar in the rating list. Considering that she bursted her rating around 400 points in four year to close 2600 barrier it is not the most distinct possibility.

Zeinab Mamedyarova (Azerbaijan)
Birth Year: 1983
Rating: 2362
Title: Woman Grandmaster (WGM)
FIDE Rating List Rank (Women): 103

The highest elo rated player of her country Zeinab Mamedyarova is the eldest member of the Mamedyarov clan, her younger brother Shakriyar Mamedyarov is among the world elite while Turkan Mamedyarova has been among the strong players of world junior championship.

Zeinab Mamedyarova is no different since she won the World U18 Girls title back in 2000. She already has two national titles and became Woman Grandmaster in 2000. She won a silver medal in Istanbul Chess Olympiad and a bronze medal in 2002 Chess Olympiad held in Bled.


Monday March 16 15:00 Round 8
Tuesday March 17 15:00h Round 9
Wednesday March 18 15:00h Round 10
Thursday March 19 11:00h Round 11
    17:00 Prize ceremony
Friday March 20   Departure


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