Sharjah 07: They're unstoppable!

by Alejandro Ramirez
9/2/2014 – Both Ju Wenjun and Hou Yifan won their games to continue their streak in Sharjah. Ju Wenjun won cleanly against Muminova, and although the World Champion's game was far rockier she achieved her goal regardless. Tuvshintugs drew her game and is the closest to the leaders, but at 1.5 points away she isn't a a serious threat. The Chinese meet tomorrow for a decisive match..

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The sixth and final stage of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix series 2013-2014 is taking place at the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club, (UAE) from the 24th of August until the 7th of September 2014. Over eleven rounds, twelve of the strongest women players in the world will compete in the round robin tournament with the standard FIDE time control of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, with 30 minutes being added at that point and an additional 30 seconds per move through the entire game.

Round Seven

Round 07 –September 01 2014, 15:00h
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
½-½
Zhao Xue 2508
l'Ami, Alina 2446
½-½
Danielian, Elina 2490
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
0-1
Ju Wenjun 2559
Hou Yifan 2661
1-0
Zhu Chen 2461
Dronavalli Harika 2521
½-½
Ushenina, Anna 2487
Koneru Humpy 2598
1-0
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494

The trophies to the winner of the Grand Prix, which seems to be Hou Yifan

Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg ½-½ Zhao Xue
White had an edge at many points of the game. Her desire not to press was somewhat justifiable, but at the same time it feels that Tuvshintugs is selling herself short and the level of play she has exhibited in this tournament is superior to that of her opponents'. A draw was agreed after the Mongolian player let Zhao Xue off the hook and transposed into an equal endgame.

Despite Zhao Xue's high rating, her 50% performance is still on par as she
has played most of the top players in the event

Batchimeg Tuvshintugs (background) and Elina Danielian
arrive early to their game (not against each other)

l'Ami, Alina ½-½ Danielian, Elina
White had a good chance to get an extra pawn but it seems as if the Romanian player completely missed her chance. After that, instead, she suffered in a long rook and pawn endgame, but it never seemed as if she was in any serious trouble. The draw was a fair result.

Muminova, Nafisa 0-1 Ju Wenjun
After clearly not understanding what the plans after the opening were, Muminova placed her pieces in awkward spots. Ju Wenjun's swift attack completely dismantled White's undeveloped position.

Nafisa has managed to get the best of the best against
the ropes, but today was not one of those days

Ju Wenjun isn't complaining! An easy victory with Black keeps her in pace with
Hou Yifan, who she faces tomorrow with white.

Hou Yifan 1-0 Zhu Chen
Not the World Champion's cleanest chess game, but somehow it proved effective nonetheless. White if anything was banking that Black would make a mistake in the long term, but it didn't seem as if it would happen. Zhu Chen obtained a great position and gradually outplayed Hou Yifan, but at some point she slipped and underestimated the danger against her king in the endgame. The tournament leader took no mercy on the isolated king and her brutal attack netted her two passed pawns that were simply unstoppable, enough to win the resulting rook endgame.

A few more victories and Hou Yifan might just pass Judit Polgar

Droanavalli Harika ½-½ Ushenina, Anna
Despite Black's questionable opening choice, she was never in danger in this game. Her position remained solid and every piece trade made it simpler for her to defend. The resulting endgame was not dangerous for her at all, and a draw was agreed after the 40th move.

Ushenina's 4.0/7 is a very respectable score

Koneru Humpy 1-0 Kosintseva, Tatiana
Humpy showed that her technique is still one of the World's best. Despite not obtaining too much from this Ragozin, the Indian player found some small pressure and transposed into a rook endgame where she was slightly worse. With beautiful king maneuvers and precisely timed pawn sacrifices, she was able to force the issue in her favor and Kosintseva simply could not defend. A great lesson in endgame technique worthy of any Capablanca game.

Kosintseva today felt the wrath of the World #3

A much needed win for Humpy, but she needs much more than that to threaten Hou Yifan

Round Seven Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Standings

All photos by Maria Emelianova

Pairings and Schedule

Round 01 – August 25 2014, 15:00h
Zhu Chen 2461
0-1
Zhao Xue 2508
Ju Wenjun 2559
½-½
Ushenina, Anna 2487
Danielian, Elina 2490
½-½
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
1-0
Koneru Humpy 2598
l'Ami, Alina 2446
0-1
Dronavalli Harika 2521
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
0-1
Hou Yifan 2661
Round 02 –August 26 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2508
½-½
Hou Yifan 2661
Dronavalli Harika 2521
1-0
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
Koneru Humpy 2598
1-0
l'Ami, Alina 2446
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
½-½
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Ushenina, Anna 2487
1-0
Danielian, Elina 2490
Zhu Chen 2461
0-1
Ju Wenjun 2559
Round 03 –August 27 2014, 15:00h
Ju Wenjun 2559
1-0
Zhao Xue 2508
Danielian, Elina 2490
1-0
Zhu Chen 2461
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
½-½
Ushenina, Anna 2487
l'Ami, Alina 2446
0-1
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
½-½
Koneru Humpy 2598
Hou Yifan 2661
½-½
Dronavalli Harika 2521
Round 04 –August 28 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2508
½-½
Dronavalli Harika 2521
Koneru Humpy 2598
0-1
Hou Yifan 2661
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
½-½
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
Ushenina, Anna 2487
1-0
l'Ami, Alina 2446
Zhu Chen 2461
0-1
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Ju Wenjun 2559
1-0
Danielian, Elina 2490
Round 05 –August 30 2014, 15:00h
Danielian, Elina 2490
1-0
Zhao Xue 2508
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
½-½
Ju Wenjun 2559
l'Ami, Alina 2446
½-½
Zhu Chen 2461
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
½-½
Ushenina, Anna 2487
Hou Yifan 2661
1-0
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Dronavalli Harika 2521
½-½
Koneru Humpy 2598
Round 06 –August 31 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2508
1-0
Koneru Humpy 2598
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
1-0
Dronavalli Harika 2521
Ushenina, Anna 2487
0-1
Hou Yifan 2661
Zhu Chen 2461
½-½
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
Ju Wenjun 2559
1-0
l'Ami, Alina 2446
Danielian, Elina 2490
½-½
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Round 07 –September 01 2014, 15:00h
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
0-1
Zhao Xue 2508
l'Ami, Alina 2446
½-½
Danielian, Elina 2490
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
½-½
Ju Wenjun 2559
Hou Yifan 2661
1-0
Zhu Chen 2461
Dronavalli Harika 2521
½-½
Ushenina, Anna 2487
Koneru Humpy 2598
1-0
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Round 08 –September 02 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2508   Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Ushenina, Anna 2487   Koneru Humpy 2598
Zhu Chen 2461   Dronavalli Harika 2521
Ju Wenjun 2559   Hou Yifan 2661
Danielian, Elina 2490   Muminova, Nafisa 2315
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346   l'Ami, Alina 2446
Round 09 – September 04 2014, 15:00h
l'Ami, Alina 2446   Zhao Xue 2508
Muminova, Nafisa 2315   Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Hou Yifan 2661   Danielian, Elina 2490
Dronavalli Harika 2521   Ju Wenjun 2559
Koneru Humpy 2598   Zhu Chen 2461
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494   Ushenina, Anna 2487
Round 10 –September 05 2014, 15:00h
Zhao Xue 2508   Ushenina, Anna 2487
Zhu Chen 2461   Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
Ju Wenjun 2559   Koneru Humpy 2598
Danielian, Elina 2490   Dronavalli Harika 2521
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346   Hou Yifan 2661
l'Ami, Alina 2446   Muminova, Nafisa 2315
Round 11 – September 06 2014, 13:00h
Muminova, Nafisa 2315   Zhao Xue 2508
Hou Yifan 2661   l'Ami, Alina 2446
Dronavalli Harika 2521   Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Koneru Humpy 2598   Danielian, Elina 2490
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494   Ju Wenjun 2559
Ushenina, Anna 2487   Zhu Chen 2461

Links

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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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ff2017 ff2017 9/2/2014 03:57
I wouldn't mind seeing Hou Yifan abdicate her throne for a cycle to compete exclusively in strong invitationals (assuming she gets the invites) and let a rising Ju Wenjun and the veterans Humpy Koneru/Anna Muzychuk/Nana Dzagnidze fight for the women's crown. Although to be fair, Humpy is probably still a class above the rest of the women's field.

The Grand Prix standings, of which there are 3 cycles worth now, have been very instructive, Hou and Koneru as 1 and 2 and Hou distancing herself from Koneru and a group of 3-5 women rotating in the next several spots, with a slight edge going to Anna.

Ok, so maybe not that instructive, but interesting to me that over the past 6 years except for Ju WenJun as the new entrant (if she wins Sharjah, she comes in 3rd in this cycle's grand prix), the state of top women's chess has been that of status quo position wise, if not rating wise.
Chessassin Chessassin 9/2/2014 01:28
When Hou Yifan can get up to 2736, then, AND ONLY then, will she have truly passed Polgar (who's highest rating is 2735). Long Live Polgar! Long Live Polgar!!!!
daftarche daftarche 9/2/2014 10:02
in order to get invited to top tournaments, you have to be a top player. she can count on that when she passes 2700.
Wallace Howard Wallace Howard 9/2/2014 09:10
Hou Yifan is less than 3 elo points from Judit (who retired, but is still technically #1).
More importantly, she is less than 10 elo from being 100 elo higher rated than her closest rival.
She is just dominating women's chess. Hopefully, she'll start getting more invites to top "men's" events.
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