Reports | November 23, 2011 23:20

WWCh G7: Hou Yifan wins again, half a point shy of retaining world title

Hou Yifan needs only one draw in the last three games of the Women's World Championship Match to retain her world title. The Chinese grandmaster also won the 7th match game against Humpy Koneru of India on Wednesday in Tirana, Albania.

Hou Yifan needs a draw on Thursday to retain her world title | All photos © FIDE by Anna Burtasova & Anastasiya Karlovich

Event Women's World Championship | PGN via TWIC
Dates November 13th-30th, 2011
Location Tirana, Albania
System 10-game match, tie-break if necessary
Players Reigning World Champion Hou Yifan (China) and Challenger Humpy Koneru (India)
Rate of play 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one

The 7th match game started as a Closed Ruy Lopez. Humpy Koneru managed to equalize with Black quite easily, but perhaps due to the match situation she took too many risks at some point. Hou Yifan won a pawn and from that moment the Indian was on the defending side.

Humpy Koneru: on the verge of defeat

After the time control the title holder won another pawn, and reached a completely winning rook ending. Due to the match situation her opponent played on a bit longer than usual, but the result was never in doubt.

After seven games the World Champion is leading by 5-2 and only a miracle can help Koneru win the world title: she needs to win all of the remaining three games. The 8th game is scheduled for Thursday, November 24th.

Hou Yifan doing well in her match


Game 7

PGN string

Women's World Championship 2011 | Score

Hou Yifan
Koneru Humpy  

GM Ye Jiangchuan, coach of Hou Yifan, interviewed in the press room

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Septimus's picture

Humpy's confidence has been shattered. Yifan simply pwned her. I hope she recovers, but I think she has lost all confidence at this point. Unless something drastic happens, I predict that she will slip in the rankings, maybe lose a couple of hundred rating points in the process (or more). I won't be surprised if she ends up as a 2400.

hildcar's picture

Humpy will win the next three games.

Michael Lubin's picture


Nima's picture

Great effort by Hou. I loved her consistently logical play in the last game.

noyb's picture

In the battle of the new world superpowers, China wins.

Ngume's picture

Can someone confirm this?
I saw in another chess site someone said the career head-to-head stats between Hou and Koneru is 11-2 in favour of Hou with 10 draws.I mean Hou gained the GM title at the age of 14(the youngest female),so the two games she losed to Koneru could be at the age of 13 or even 12.

If the above stats is true,that means before this championship match Hou leads 8-2 in head-to-head record.But how come the impression I got from on-line is Koneru's favourite to win this match?This wrong impression caused me 600 chess bucks :) as I saw Koneru has a higher rating points...

fen's picture confirms the statistic you cite. They list 23 games from 2008 up to present with the following disclaimer: "Based on games present in our database; may not be complete." The two games that Hou lost were at the 2008 Women's World Championship.

Possibly people didn't look at their head-to-head and simply thought that since Koneru has the higher elo that she would be favored to win.

Ngume's picture

Thanks for your reply.
Humpy's a good player,I wish her all the best.

fen's picture

You're welcome. I like Humpy too and was hoping she would win. She is a very strong player, but clearly Hou has her number.

Juan's picture

Yes, 11-10-2, both losses on 2008.

As far as I know, Koneru has had much better performance in Open (Men) categories than Hou, for example this year AAI Tournament she finished last of 6, starting with a 0/4 streak. Probably Hou needs to play more Open (Men) tournaments to increase her rating and also gain more confidence.

fen's picture

I agree with you that Hou needs to play more Open tournaments to develop as a player. As a tennis fan I can tell you that Li and Peng did not achieve the success they now have until they broke with the Chinese tennis federation. The federation had too much control over what the players were doing - to the players' detriment. I don't know whether chess players face the same obstacles, but it makes me wonder how much choice Hou has over where she plays.

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