Nalchik R5: 14-year-old Hou Yifan in the final

by ChessBase
9/12/2008 – Facing the top seed GM Koneru Humpy of India in the Women's World Championship the young Chinese super-talent proved to have the better nerves. After winning the first rapid chess game she lost the second, but then in the blitz playoff it was Hou all the way. With two wins in succession she reached the final and will play Russian GM Alexandra Kosteniuk. Full illustrated report.

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The Women's World Championship 2008 is taking place from August 28th to September 18th in Nalchik, in the Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia. 64 players were eligible to play in the knock-out event, which has a prize fund of US $450,000. Due to the tensions in the region the Georgian players and a few others decided not to participate.

Round five report

Results of round five (complete)

Nat. Name Rtng
Round 5 Match 01
RUS Kosteniuk, Alexsandra 2510
SWE Cramling, Pia 2544
Round 5 Match 02
CHN Hou, Yifan 2557
IND Koneru, Humpy 2622

The start of the first rapid tiebreak game between Koneru Humpy and Hou Yifan

Koneru Humpy, to seed and second-strongest female player in the world

Hou Yifan moving her bishop to b5 for a Closed Ruy Lopez Breyer

The semi-final tiebreak under way

Hou Yifan (2557) - Koneru,H (2622) [C95]
WCh-Women Nalchik RUS (5.3), 12.09.2008
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 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Ng3 g6 15.b3 Bg7 16.d5 Rc8 17.Be3 c6 18.c4 Nb6 19.Rb1 Qc7 20.dxc6 Bxc6 21.Bxb6 Qxb6 22.Qxd6 Rcd8 23.Qb4 Bf8 24.Qc3 Bc5 25.Re2 b4 26.Qe1 Kg7 27.Rd1 Rxd1 28.Qxd1 Rd8 29.Qc1 Nd7 30.Qg5 f6 31.Qg4 Kf7 32.Rd2 Nf8 33.Rxd8 Qxd8 34.Ne1 Ne6 35.Nd3 Be7 36.Qd1 Qd4 37.Nc1 Qb6 38.Nf1 Bc5 39.Nd3 Bd4 40.Qe1 a5 41.Ng3 Kg7 42.Bd1 Bc3 43.Qe2 Qb7 44.Qg4 Qd7 45.Be2 Kf7 46.h4 h5 47.Qf3 Ke7 48.Qe3 Qd4 49.Qh6 Bxe4 50.Qh7+

Black has been holding and should draw comfortably with 50...Ke8. But Humpy blunders: 50...Kd6?? and now White wins with 51.c5+ Nxc5. If 51...Kc6 52.Nxe4 Qxe4 53.Bf3 wins the queen. 52.Nxc5 (threatening 53.Ngxe4+ and mate to follow) 52...Kd5 and, since that does not prevent the mate, Humpy resigned. 1-0.

The start of game two, with arbiters Mikko Markkula, Finland, and Zsuzsa Veröci, Hungary, watching closely

Another interested party: Humpy's father Ashok

Koneru,H (2622) - Hou Yifan (2557) [E15]
WCh-Women Nalchik RUS (5.4), 12.09.2008
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Nbd2 Bb4 6.Qc2 0-0 7.Bg2 d5 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Ne5 Bb7 10.cxd5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 Nxd5 12.a3 Bxd2 13.Bxd2 c5 14.f4 Qc7 15.e4 Ne7 16.Bc3 Rad8 17.g4 Nc6 18.Qf2 Nd4 19.Rfe1 f6 20.exf6 Rxf6 21.f5 exf5 22.gxf5 Rff8 23.Bd2 Qf7 24.Bg5 Rd7 25.Re3 Qh5 26.Bf4 Rfd8 27.Rae1 Ba6 28.Kh1

28...Ne2?? Missing the fork: 29.Bf3 Qf7 30.Bxe2 Rd2 31.Qh4 Bxe2 32.R3xe2. Black is simply a piece down. 32...R2d3 33.Rg2 R8d7 34.Be5 Qb3 35.Qh6 Rh3

Now White can force a mate: 36.Rxg7+ Kf8 37.Qf6+ Ke8 38.Rg2 Rd1 39.Qc6+ Kf8 40.Bg7+ Ke7 41.Bf6+ Kf8 42.Qc8+ Kf7 43.Qg8+ and 43...Kxf6 44.Qg7 is mate. Hou resigned: 1-0.

The Chinese WGM went on to win both blitz games, which marked the collapse of the probably exhausted Indian GM. Humpy is the second strongest female, after Judit Polgar, to ever play chess.

The first blitz tiebreak game which Hou Yifan won in 33 moves

The second blitz game was won by the 14-year-old Hou in 41 moves

The winner and finalist at the Women's World Championship Hou Yifan of China

Afterwards the delighted Hou heads for the elevator and her room. The silver pot she carries to all her games contains preserved raisins and nuts – the secret of her remarkable success in chess

Video reports by FIDE


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