Sharjah Final: The Two Chinese take it

by Alejandro Ramirez
9/8/2014 – With no big surprises in the last round it was Hou Yifan and Ju Wenjun, the long time leaders of the event, that finished at the very top of the field with an excellent 8.5/11, two more points than the big tie for third between Zhao Xue, Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, Harika Dronavalli and Anna Ushenina. Final round report and pictures of the small closing ceremony.

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The sixth and final stage of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix series 2013-2014 took 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 competed 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 Eleven

Round 11 – September 06 2014, 13:00h
Muminova, Nafisa 2315
0-1
Zhao Xue 2508
Hou Yifan 2661
1-0
l'Ami, Alina 2446
Dronavalli Harika 2521
1-0
Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg 2346
Koneru Humpy 2598
1-0
Danielian, Elina 2490
Kosintseva, Tatiana 2494
½-½
Ju Wenjun 2559
Ushenina, Anna 2487
½-½
Zhu Chen 2461

A last round souvenir for the players

Muminova, Nafisa 0-1 Zhao Xue
Muminova obtained a clear advantage from the opening as it seemed as if Zhao Xue was simply making random moves. With advantages on both sides of the board, Muminova only focused on the queenside and it gave her opponent enough time to consolidate. White's passed pawn in the endgame was blockaded and not strong or dangerous at all, while her light-squared bishop was not good. Faster than it should have happened, the Uzbek player collapsed in the endgame.

The players comparing their Henna tattoos

Zhao Xue played with fire today

Hou Yifan 1-0 l'Ami, Alina
A strange opening led to a open game in which l'Ami was too eager to take control of squares and her weakening move d5 led to severe problems. A beautiful exchange sacrifice uncorked the power of White's pieces and Black's position fell apart like a house of cards.

A crushing attack allows Hou Yifan to tie for first

Dronavalli Harika 1-0 Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg
A very long and complicated game. A bold sacrifice left Harika with pressure all over the board, and when it was time to cash in the chips she received two pawns and a rook for her opponent's two minor pieces. Black had good chances of holding on, but a queen swap reduced those chances significantly. The long endgame was torturous for Tuvshintugs who could not hold at the end.

A last round win allows Harika to finish in a big tie for third

Batchimeg can be very pleased with her performance, despite a last round loss

Koneru Humpy 1-0 Danielian, Elina
Humpy's disastrous opening left her in a nearly lost position, and although Danielian let her back in the game with a strange exchange sacrifice, the advantage was always in Black's side. However in time-trouble a huge blunder occurred and Humpy collected a last round win.

Kosintseva, Tatiana ½-½ Ju Wenjun
An exciting way to end the tournament! Ju Wenjun might have felt she needed to win this game to maintain her first place, and she went all-out. A triple (!) pawn sacrifice left White's kingside structure weak, but it didn't seem to be enough. Kosintseva accurately defended, but surprisingly her decision to go into an endgame was not the best.

Ju Wenjun took the tournament on tiebreaks,
but the money and the GP points were split

The double-rook endgame gave Black chances to survive due to all the weak pawns in White's camp, despite the extra material for her. Ju Wenjun cleverly stopped White's passed pawns, took them one by one and obtained an interesting draw.

Ushenina, Anna ½-½ Zhu Chen
Zhu Chen's good opening allowed her to obtain a symmetrical position with not much else going on. Further simplifications led to a draw.

The souvenir made everyone happy

Round Eleven Games

 

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Closing Ceremony

A short but sweet closing ceremony followed the event

Prizes for the two winners...

Although on tiebreaks it was Ju Wenjun who came out on top

Zhao Xue, the other Chinese player, finished tied for third

Hou Yifan might not have won Sharjah outright, but she won the Grand Prix series! With this she retains the right to challenge whoever is World Championship next. The Women's World Chess Championship, a 64-player knock-out is scheduled to be played next month, but at the moment there is no venue. Many players have threatened not to play, and the announcement of the tournament was rumored to be finally done after the Sharjah Grand Prix, but so far there has been no word from FIDE.

If Hou Yifan wins the World Women's Championship (assuming it happens and if she decides to play, which she has told us is unlikely) held next month, then it would be Humpy's turn to challenger her next year as she finished second in the Grand Prix series.

Harika took third place thanks to her better tiebreak (individual encounters: she scored two points against the other people tied for third, more than anyone else).

Standings

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

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

 



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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kamamura kamamura 9/9/2014 08:00
Ad Hou Yifan game - that's not a "strange opening", that's Gleko variation of Vienna opening, I used to play it a lot during my active years. I found it analyzed in an old chess magazine, and it's full of untypical ideas capable of knocking routine players off track. Glad to see it played on this level!
deadbob deadbob 9/8/2014 01:31
After the 11th round was over and the update was done, why does the complete game set only contain games up to the 8th round. Also the round up after the 11th round are the games from the 10th round. You guys have to get whomever is doing the writeups to get it done properly. Still waiting to see the games from the 11th round and who knows when???
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