March 06, 2011 8:37

Koneru shares first with Danielian in Doha, qualifies for title match

Koneru shares first with Danielian in Doha, qualifies for title matchIt was practically impossible, but Humpy Koneru did it anyway. In the last two rounds the Indian caught Elina Danielian in the standings at the FIDE Grand Prix in Doha. In doing so, Koneru finished ahead of Nana Dzagnidze in the overall GP standings and qualified for a World Title match against Hou Yifan.

Final standings 6th FIDE Women GP, L-R: Marie Sebag (3rd, France), Humpy Koneru (1st, India), Elina Danielian (2nd, Armenia)

General info

The 6th and final tournament of the 2009-2011 FIDE Women Grand Prix Series took place February 22nd-March 5th in Doha, Qatar. It was a 12-player round-robin with Humpy Koneru, Elina Danielian, Marie Sebag, Pia Cramling, Nana Dzagnidze, Maia Chiburdanidze, Batkhuyag Munguntuul, Xu Yuhua, Lilit Mkrtchian, Martha Fierro Baquero, Antoaneta Stefanova, and Zhu Chen. More info here.

Round 11

An exciting last round in Doha decided everything in the first FIDE Women Grand Prix series, which started in March 2009 in Istanbul. That first edition was won by Humpy Koneru, and after some mixed results, in the end everything ended well for the Indian. All results were excellent for her in the penultimate round, and then, amazingly, it was the same story on Saturday. She needed a win with Black against Zhu Chen in the final round, and she managed. Danielian needed to drop at least half a point against Stefanova, and did so (she drew). Then, Sebag wasn't supposed to win against Munguntuul, and... she didn't.

Zhu Chen-Koneru
Doha 2011
Diagram 1

Koneru's opening didn't go as planned, and with 24. Ne4 Qxb2 25. Nxd6 Zhu Chen could have put her on the verge of defeat. Instead, the game went 24. Ra3?! Qb4 25. Rb3?! 25. Ne4 Qxb2 26. Rb3 Qd4 27. Qxd4 cxd4 28. Rxb7 still looks slightly better for White. 25... Qd4 26. Rb6 Nc4 27. Rxb7 Bc8 28. Re7 Rxe7 29.

Diagram 2

29... Ng3! 30. Qxd4 cxd4 31. Rf3 Bxf5 32. Bxf5 Nxf5 33. Rxf5 dxc3 34. bxc3 f6 and Koneru won the ending.

This meant she had caught Danielian in the standings, who had played a relatively quick draw with Antoaneta Stefanova. It was important for Koneru that Sebag wouldn't win. Otherwise the Française would have finished shared first as well, grabbing some important Grand Prix points which would allow Dzagnidze to stay ahead of Koneru. But Sebag lost surprisingly against Mungutuul, who started with mixing up some opening systems.

After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 the move 7. Qd2 is supposed to be inaccurate, and then after 7... b5 8. f3 Be7 the Mongolian played 9. Be3 voluntarily, losing a full tempo compared to known positions.

However, Mungutuul kept the position balanced and late in the ending Sebag collapsed:

Diagram 3

49... Ke6?
49... Rg2 might still hold:
a) 50. a4 d2 51. a5 h3 52. Ba4 h2 53. a6 Rg1;
b) 50. Bxd3 Rd2 51. Rxh4 Rxd3+ 52. Ke4 Rxc3.

50. Rxh4 Nf3+ 51. Kxd3 Rb2 52. Rh6+ Ke5 53. a4 Kd5 54. Bc6+ 1-0


The playing hall in Doha

Games round 11

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Doha Women GP 2011 | Round 11 Standings

FIDE Women Grand Prix 2009-2011 | Final Standings

Rank Name Istanbul Nanjing Nalchik Jermuk Ulaan
Doha GP points (three
best results)
1 Hou Yifan 120 130 70 160 410
2 Koneru 160 70 93.3 145 398.3
3 Dzagnidze 130 100 160 80 390.0
4 Kosintseva,T 160 130 93.3 383.3
5 Danielian 120 10 93.3 145 358.3
6 Zhao Xue 90 110 40 93.3 293.3
7 Xu Yuhua 160 30 60 55 275.0
8 Sebag 80 80 30 110 270.0
9 Stefanova 45 93.3 130 20 268.3
10 Cramling 65 100 55 80 245.0
11 Mkrtchian 80 40 93.3 35 213.3
12 Chiburdanidze 45 40 70 80 195.0
13 Monguntuul 50 70 20 55 175.0
14 Shen Yang 25 60 55 45 160.0
15 Zhu Chen 30 70 45 10 145.0
16 Fierro Baquero 65 20 10 35 120.0
17 Kovanova 40 40 20 100.0
18 Ju Wenjun 80 80.0
19 Yildiz 10 10 20 10 40.0
20 Mamedjarova 25 25.0


A happy Humpy Koneru leaves Doha knowing that she qualified for a match against Hou Yifan


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


serge's picture

Sander, It is sportsmanship, and it is always useful.
Congratulations to both!

rajeshv's picture

10 sounds great. Thanks. I've not been keeping up on the news, obviously!

D. M. MODAK's picture

By winning the Doha Grand Prix leg Koneru Humpy will play a long match vs Hou instead of mini-matches as in the past. My congrats to her. But more importantly Humpy will have a golden opportunity to prove to the rest of the world and also to Hou herself that she is NOT Hou's number! Hou will no doubt prepare with the full support of her country's strong GMs while Koneru's preparations may be on her own! I wish her all the best.
7th March 2011. 6.36 a.m.
(How nice will it be if Humpy wins vs Hou! Then we will have an India Women World Chess Champion also at the same time as Anand, the reigning World Chess Champion. A GRAND DOUBLE!)

Henry's picture

Check the title: “Koneru shares first with Danielian in Doha, qualifies for title match”

Thomas's picture

Plus Danielian's TPR is more than 200 points higher than her rating - should be reason enough to be happy, even if she could hope for (even) more at some stage.

Sander's picture

In the picture, you 'd think Danielian just won the tournament!

She obviously has a very positive spirit, always useful in life but not helpful to be a winner.

Congrats to Humpy!

redwhitechess's picture

Hou yifan vs Koneru Humpy part II, now both the GP and knock out have prove it work well its outcome with elo rating... in woman chess.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Actually it would be Part 3.

Chess Fan's picture

It is World Champion You Hifan vs. Challenger Humpy Part 1. Ten game matches are much better measure than 2-game or 4-game world grand prix matches. China has great pride in winning world championship matches and that too, this one is against competitor India. The entire Chinese juggernaut will be hard to beat.

Still against all odds, I am rooting for Humpy. Perhaps if she is able to practice against Anand and get his advice....

Chess Fan

rajeshv's picture

Congrats to Humpy and Danielian on winning this grand prix.
Quite fitting that Humpy and Yifan will be playing the WC match, being the top 2 ranked players and also finishing top 2 in the grand prix. Hopefully it is a longer match (and not just 4 games). Looking at the last 2 rounds the lucky stars were definitely smiling at Humpy for her to make it to the WC match!

ebutaljib's picture

Why are you hoping? It's been known for a long time that it will be a 10 games match.

bhabatosh's picture

great news for women's chess ! the best possible fight for title.
This will/must increase visibility of women's chess.

Humpy finishing ahead of everyone in fairy tail style . lets see how she fares against her nemesis.

K.Ravi's picture

Hope Koneru Humpy gets 3rd time lucky and becomes world women chess champion.

Chess Fan's picture

I also hope so, as You Hifan is only 16 and and many chances ahead of winning and retaining the World Championship title. But it is an uphill battle for Humpy, and on paper Hou Yifan should win it +2 or +3, factoring in the support and the resources of the mighty chinese chess war machine behind her. Humpy, on the other hand, does not have the same relationship with or the resources of the Indian chess political system.

But then, if Humpy wants to be the World Champion, this is her best and only chance, The only other competition in this level and class in Women's chess will have to be Judit Polgar battling it out with World Champion You Hifan in a 10-game match.
We can only hope!

Chess Fan

Chess Fan's picture

I just read World Champion Anand's interview about Humpy's chances and about her match against Hou Yifan. His perspective (obviously!) is so much better and good. I hope you guys get also to read that. He basically says that You Hifan is not a clear favorite, and Humpy needs to focus just on the match (and not about her not getting along with the Indian Chess Federation) and should focus on getting better on stategy, tactics and how to convert an advantage to an actual win before the match with You Hifan as You is great in escaping from a disadvantage in a game.

His arguments and logic are so much better and cogent that I defer to the World Champion for the last word. Thanks Anand for the clear perspective.

Chess Fan

D. M. MODAK's picture

I too read Anand's reply and have come to the conclusion that Humpy has 'some' chances of winning vs Hou. It all depends on whether the players 'form' in the match is peaking or not?. For this I hope Humpy plays 2/3 strong GM tys(male) some months before the Match.
8th March 2011. 7.28 a.m.

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