July 29, 2012 11:36

Hou Yifan wins yet another Grand Prix, in Jermuk

Hou Yifan won the Grand Prix in Jermuk, Armenia on Saturday despite losing in the final round. Two of her rivals, Ju Wenjun and Ruan Lufei, could finish shared first but also lost their games. It was Hou Yifan's third Grand Prix victory in five GP events. One more GP will be held, but the Chinese World Champion has already secured overall victory.

The top 3 in Jermuk: Nadezhda Kosintseva (2nd), Hou Yifan (1st) and Kateryna Lahno (3rd) | Photos © Jermuk GP courtesy of FIDE

Event 5th Women's Grand Prix | PGN via TWIC
Dates June 9-23, 2012
Location Jermuk, Armenia
System 12-player round robin
Players GM Hou Yifan (CHN, 2617), GM Humpy Koneru (IND, 2598), GM Zhao Xue (CHN, 2556), GM Kateryna Lahno (UKR, 2537), WGM Ju Wenjun (CHN, 2518), GM Nadezhda Kosintseva (RUS, 2516), WGM Ruan Lufei (CHN, 2483), GM Elina Danielian (ARM, 2480), WGM Nino Khurtsidze (GEO, 2456), WGM Lilit Mkrtchian (2450), WGM Munguntuul Batkhuyag (MGL, 2447) and WGM Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (RUS, 2417)
Rate of play 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 1
Prize fund €50,000, split 40,000 Euros as direct prize money for the tournament and 10,000 Euros towards an accumulated prize fund for the players at the end of the series

The 2nd FIDE Women's Grand Prix series started in August last year in Rostov, Russia where Hou Yifan emerged as the winner. The Chinese GM also won the second event, held just a month later in Shenzhen, China. Her compatriot Zhao Xue finished first, with a super score, one month after that in Nalchik, Russia. Only five weeks ago Humpy Koneru and Anna Muzychuk shared victory in Kazan, Russia.

The 5th tournament took place in the past two weeks in the Armenian spa town Jermuk, located about 170 km south-east from capital Yerevan. The participants were GM Hou Yifan (CHN, 2617), GM Humpy Koneru (IND, 2598), GM Zhao Xue (CHN, 2556), GM Kateryna Lahno (UKR, 2537), WGM Ju Wenjun (CHN, 2518), GM Nadezhda Kosintseva (RUS, 2516), WGM Ruan Lufei (CHN, 2483), GM Elina Danielian (ARM, 2480), WGM Nino Khurtsidze (GEO, 2456), WGM Lilit Mkrtchian (2450), WGM Munguntuul Batkhuyag (MGL, 2447) and WGM Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (RUS, 2417).

The splendid venue in Jermuk, Armenia

It was in Jermuk where, now three years ago, Levon Aronian secured overall victory in the 1st FIDE Grand Prix series. Now, in the same town, Hou Yifan has achieved the same as she finished clear first, half a point ahead of Nadezhda Kosintseva, Kateryna Lahno and Humpy Koneru. For the GP overall final standings only the three best tournaments of each player count, and the 18-year-old Chinese won three of the four tournaments she played in!

In Jermuk, during the first half of the tournament it was another Chinese player who was leading alone, up till the 7th round: Ju Wenjun. The 21-year-old player from Shanghai beat Elina Danielian in a nice game.

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WGM Ju Wenjun (China, 2518)

Here's a good game by the winner from the 8th round.

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After 9 rounds both Hou Yifan and Ju Wenjun were still undefeated, with the Women's World Champion having scored one more victory. Then, in round 10 Ju Wenjun lost her first game, to her compatriot Zhao Xue. Hou Yifan drew with Nadezhda Kosintseva and so she was leading by a full point with one round to go. Two Chinese players, Ju Wenjun and Ruan Lufei, were in shared second place.

In a dramatic final round, Hou Yifan lost her first game (to Kateryna Lahno) but still finished clear first. Ju Wenjun and Ruan Lufei also lost, the former to Humpy Koneru and the latter to Nadezhda Kosintseva. This way Koneru, Lahno and Kosintseva were the ones to end half a point behind the winner, with Koneru having the worst tiebreak. 

Jermuk Grand Prix 2012 | Final standings


Hou Yifan receives her cheque: the 6500 EUR first prize

According to our calculations, and based on a table given by FIDE (at the end of this page), the current Women's GP standings are as follows:

Women's GP 2011-2012 | Standings after 5 events

Name Fed Rostov 11 Shenzhen 11 Nalchik 11 Kazan 12 Jermuk 12 Mardin 12 Best 3 events Played
Hou Yifan CHN 160 160   100 160   480 4
MuzychukA SLO 100 130   145     375 3
Koneru,H IND 65     145 110   320 3
Ju Wenjun CHN   100 130   75   305 3
Zhao Xue CHN   75 160   60   295 3
Lahno,K UKR 130   80 50 110   290 4
Kosintseva,N RUS 80   55 35 110   245 4
Cmilyte,V LTU   35 100 100     235 3
Kosintseva,T RUS 100   55 60     215 3
Ruan Lufei CHN 30 75     75   180 3
Danielian,E ARM 45 50   75 45   170 4
Kovalevskaya,E RUS 20 20 100   30   150 4
Stefanova,A BUL 45   55 35     135 3
Galliamova,A RUS 65   30 20     115 3
Tan Zhongyi CHN   100         100 1
Munguntuul,B MGL   60 20   20   100 3
Kosteniuk,A RUS 10   10 75     95 3
Zhu Chen QAT   35 55       90 2
Lilit Mkrtchian ARM         45   45 1
Betul Cemre Yildiz TUR   10   10     20 2
Nino Khurtsidze ARM         10   10 1
Monica Socko POL               0
Kubra Ozturk TUR               0

Obviously Hou Yifan has already won the overall Grand Prix. She won 6,500 EUR three times for finishing 1st, and 3875 EUR once for finishing shared 3rd. She also gets another 15,000 EUR from the 'accumulated prize fund', which adds her earnings to a total of 38,375 EUR. 

The 6th and last Women's Grand Prix will be held 15-30 September in Mardin, Turkey. From the same table by FIDE we may conclude that Monica Socko and Kubra Ozturk have been invited to play in Mardin. We may also conclude that the policy for inviting players is somewhat obscure, with some players playing four tournaments, some three, some two and some only one.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


ff2017's picture

The policy for inviting players doesn't seem that obscure. If a player drops out, they invite another.

Lahno's fan.'s picture

I remember Lahno as a child prodigy. Now I see her as this sexy, beautiful, woman who is also a grandmaster. How time flies. Saying all this respectfully to her and her husband.
While on it, congrats to World Champion You Hifan (as usual!).

B L's picture

Well done on not sounding like a creep.

Lee's picture

You have made me laugh sir. Did I detect a 'rolls eyes' hidden in there somewhere?

RG's picture

I wonder what is the proper order for the name of the Women's World Champion? The press always seems to refer to her as Hou Yifan but at the playing venue the sign says Yifan Hou.

Anonymous's picture

Hou is the last name. The Chinese customarily refer to themselves starting with the last name so the press follows suit with Hou Yifan. On western players rosters, it's Yifan Hou.

point5's picture

anything but Fanyi Hou

Schrödinger's Cat's picture

Yifan Hou is styling her hair in a more flattering way.

Anonymous's picture

She's also getting pretty good at this chessplaying thing, but I suppose that's not as important.

Tarantoga's picture

Anybody else fascinated by Zhao Xue?
She seems like the female Morozevich- on a good day it looks like she could crush players with 2700+, on a bad day she gets crushed by anybody. Also in this tournament it went like loss-loss-win-win-win etc. for her...

About the rest:
As usual one wonders how far Ruan Lufei could go if she was a pro, Koneru seems to have hit the ceiling and Ju Wenjun is probably out of the race as contender, which will be Muzychuk or (unlikely) Koneru.
Muzychuk - Hou will be interesting.

And Hou Yifan? An average tournament was enough to win. But Yifan, get a new coach or train your endgame technique or work with Kasparov or...I don't know...
She fell back so much from her 2635 that I am a bit worried that she'll never make it to 2700. A shame with her talent and tactical skills (although maybe she's also just enjoying her life outside of chess and that would be fair enough).

Any thoughts?

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