Koneru shares first with Danielian in Doha, qualifies for title match
It 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)
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
|Doha||GP points (three
A happy Humpy Koneru leaves Doha knowing that she qualified for a match against Hou Yifan
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