Istanbul: Humpy wins Women Grand Prix

3/19/2009 – She actually did it! India's top female GM, Koneru Humpy, staged a big finish and won the Women Grand Prix with 8.5 out of 11. In the last round she pressured her French opponent, Marie Sebag, until the latter blundered and Humpy could win. Armenian IM Elina Danielian defeated Zhao Xue to finish joint second (with Hou Yifan) and earn a second GM norm in the process. Round eleven 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 eleven (final)

Indian GM Koneru Humpy, second strongest female player in history, managed the impossible. After a shocking loss to young Hou Yifan in round seven Humpy collapsed in disappointment and resignation over a spoilt tournament – one could expect. No, this resolute young lady came back with three wins and a draw in her last four games to take sole first in this Women's Grand Prix. A tremendous performance and a well-deserved success.

Round 11: Thursday, 19 March 2009

Marie Sebag 
0-1
 Koneru Humpy
Elina Danielian 
1-0
 Zhao Xue
Shen Yang 
½-½
 Hou Yifan
Maia Chiburdanidze 
0-1
 Martha Fierro
Zeinab Mamedyarova 
½-½
 Betül Yildiz
Antoaneta Stefanova 
0-1
 Pia Cramling

Meanwhile another player was showing determination and skill. Armenian IM Elina Danielian defeated Zhao Xue to finish at 8.0/11 points, well above the 7.4 points required for a GM norm. Danielian has now collected two norms and there is little doubt that we sill soon have another female GM. Finally, we are pleased to report that our special friend Martha Fierro scored another win, with the black pieces against Maia Chiburdanize, to finish at 50%. Her 2488 performance is 85 points better than her 2403 rating.

Final standings


Pictorial impressions from Istanbul

By Özgür Akman


Ready to do battle: India's Koneru Humpy


The key game that decided the Grand Prix: Marie Sebag vs Koneru Humpy, 0-1

Sebag,M (2529) - Koneru,H (2621) [C92]
FIDE Women's Grand Prix Instanbul TUR (11), 19.03.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 a5 10.d3 a4 11.Bc2 Bd7 12.Nbd2 Re8 13.Nf1 h6 14.Ng3 Bf8 15.Nh2 Ne7 16.Qf3 Ng6 17.Ng4 Nxg4 18.hxg4 Be7 19.Nf5 Bg5 20.g3 Bxc1 21.Raxc1 Qg5 22.Rcd1 Be6 23.a3 Rad8 24.Ne3 Nf8 25.d4 Nh7 26.Bd3 Bd7 27.Qe2 c6 28.d5 cxd5 29.Bxb5 Bxb5 30.Qxb5 dxe4 31.Rxd6 Ra8 32.Rd7 Nf6 33.Rb7 h5 34.Qc4 Rf8 35.gxh5 Qxh5

36.Nd5?? Ng4 threatening ...Qh2+ and ...Qf2#. 37.Kf1 Qh2 38.Ke2 Qxf2+ 39.Kd1 Rad8 40.Rb5 Ne3+ 41.Rxe3 Qxe3 42.Kc2 Qf2+ 43.Kb1 Rfe8 44.Ka2 e3 45.Qb4 Rxd5 46.Rxd5 e2 47.Qxa4 Rb8 0-1.


The three Chinese players Zhao (front against Danielian), Hou (in red) and Shen (standing)


Elina Danielian outplayed her Chinese opponent for a second place and second GM norm


Zhao Xue, who must be disappointed with her fourth place finish


Hou Yifan, who started the tournament with a 2900 performance


No special favours here: Shen Yang battled her friend Hou Yifan to a 58-move draw


Maia vs Martha, Chiburdanidze vs Lorena Fierro Baquero – 0-1 in 46 moves


Martha Fierro with a 50% score and a 2488 performance


Antoaneta Stefanova had to take one more loss, with white, at the hands of Pia Cramling


Biographies

Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria)
Birth Year: 1979
Rating: 2557
Title: Grandmaster (GM)
FIDE Rating List Rank (Women): 4

Antoaneta Stefanova, is one of the three ex-world champions in the field. She learnt playing at the age of four and her father was her initial tutor. At the age of seven she already became the champion of Sofia, her hometown. She won world youth title in 1989. She is one of the women players that compete successfully against men and her results can be traced back to 1993 which was the time she started taking part in Chess Olympiads and she has participated five Olympiads. She joined the men’s team for the Olympiad in Istanbul, 2000.

She already joined the top ten of women ranking in FIDE rating list back in 1997 but also won the crown for world championship in 2004 and held the title until 2006. Stefanova won the bronze medal in European Individual Championship in 2007, which she already won in 2002. Last year she won the North Urals Cup, another women’s super tournament but was not able to retake the crown for FIDE World Women Chess Championship since she failed to advance to the semi final in her mini-match against Pia Cramling.


Maia Chiburdanidze (Georgia)
Birth Year: 1961
Rating: 2518
Title: Grandmaster (GM)
FIDE Rating List Rank (Women): 9

A living legend of the Georgian chess, already a major force in women’s chess became world champion in 1978 at the age of 17 by overcoming another legend Nona Gaprindashvili who herself is the first female player to achieve the Grandmaster title. Chiburdanidze, followed her in 1984 and during her reign she defended her title four times, against Nana Alexandria, Irina Levitina, Elena Akhmilovskaya and Nana Ioseliani. She was not able to defend it against Susan Polgar in 1991, but she continued playing at the highest level.

Maia achieved nine gold medals in Chess Olympiads with former USSR and Georgia not to count many individual medals she won during those campaigns. In 1997 she led Georgia to win the European Team Championship. She reached semi finals both in 2001 and 2004 FIDE World Women Chess Championships and both times she lost to the eventual champions Zhu Chen and Antoaneta Stefanova.

A sports hero in her own country most recently led Georgia to the Olympic title in Dresden in November 2008 with a brilliant 7.5 out of 9 performance.


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