Hou Yifan wins 5th FIDE Women Grand Prix
Hou Yifan won the 5th FIDE Women Grand Prix in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. In the final round the Chinese GM drew with her closest rival Antoaneta Stefanova from Bulgaria, who missed an excellent opportunity.
The 5th FIDE Women Grand Prix tournament took place July 29 - August 11 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Antoaneta Stefanova (2560, BUL), GM Zhao Xue (2462, CHN), GM Hou Yifan (2577, CHN), GM Humpy Koneru (2600, IND), GM Maia Chiburdanidze (2514, GEO), GM Tatiana Kosintseva (2562, RUS), GM Xu Yuhua (2488, CHN), GM Zhu Chen (2476, QAT), IM Batkhuyag Munguntuul (2421, MGL), GM Marie Sebag (2519, FRA), WGM Shen Yang (2435, CHN) and WIM Betul Cemre Yildiz (2235, TUR) played. For more info on the FIDE Women GP we refer to our previous report.
By Rob Schoorl
After five rounds in the 5th FIDE Women Grand Prix in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the Chinese Zhao Xue and Antoaneta Stefanova from Bulgaria were in the lead with 4 out of 5. In round 6 they faced each other. In a Slav defence Zhao Xue, with the white pieces, sacrificed a pawn for quick development. Stefanova returned the pawn too easily and had trouble finding the right squares for her pieces. Zhao Xue kept her opponent passive and an invasion on the 7th rank made her sole leader.
In a sharp position arising from the Nimzo Chiburdanidze played an interesting exchange sacrifice against Koneru but never got the compensation she had hoped for. Koneru, however, had trouble converting her advantage to a full point as in the endgame the former World Champion managed to set up a fortress on the white squares. Top seed Koneru kept trying and was rewarded after 100 moves when Chiburdanidze finally erred.
100...Be4? 101.Rxe4! fxe4 102.Bb2 and White won.
Hou Yifan got a comfortable position in a Moscow Sicilian against Yildiz after she was allowed to get rid of the pressure against d6. At leisure she directed her pieces towards the kingside waiting for the right moment to strike. Yildiz got impatient and shot herself in the foot with 39. f4? after which Hou Yifan had no major problems winning the queen ending a pawn up.
Shen Yang got nothing out of the opening against Kosintseva and played for a draw which she got by trading everything. Zhu Chen equalized against Sebag with a nice knight-shuffle. After the queens came off Zhu Chen was the one playing with a plan and traded down to a won pawn endgame.
In Xu Yuhua- Munguntuul a Scheveningen quickly simplified. The black pawn structure on the queenside got slightly damaged and Xu Yuhua nursed this little advantage to a win.
In this round tournament leader Zhao Xue suffered her first loss in a very complicated struggle on the black side of a Ruy Lopez against Tatiana Kosintseva.Stefanova won a quiet game against Xu Yuhua who lost a pawn somehow in a Catalan endgame.
Hou Yifan failed to make a dent in the Berlin Wall of Shen Yang which ended in a three-fold repetition. This result made the 16-year-old joint leader.
Munguntuul-Koneru was an attractive attacking display. In a Keres-attack the Mongolian went all-out attack with a Nd5 sacrifice. Koneru retreated her forces to the back ranks while her opponent began a hunt for the black king. Black tried to buy some time by returning the sacrificed piece but the white attack was simply irresistible.
Position after 28.Rxg5
In an exciting Slav Sebag sacrificed the exchange so that Chiburdanidze had to misplace her king. The experienced Georgian invited a trade of queens and was on her way to victory after 28. Ne1. Yildiz scored her first full point when Zhu Chen became to optimistic about promoting her a-pawn. The Turkish had a8 covered and quickly launched a mating attack.
After round 7 Hou Yifan fell victim to food poisoning and therefore wasn't feeling well the next day. Zhu Chen agreed to postpone the game one day until the rest day. Maybe co-leaders Zhao Xue and Stefanova should have postponed their games as well as they did not perform well. Zhao Xue “fell asleep” after the opening against Shen Yang and could have lost on the spot:
Here 35.f4 wins, e.g. 35...Rxe3 36.Ng4. Instead She was lucky to reach an endgame an exchange down after 35.Ng4 Rh5 36.Qxh5 etc. (although she lost this anyway).
Stefanova had problems getting an attack going on the kingside while Koneru simply went pawn grabbing on the queenside.
In timetrouble Stefanova blundered with 28...Nxe3? where she should have tried 28...Nxh2! 29. Kxh2 Bh5! and she should not be worse in the complications.
Xu Yuhua-Kosintseva was an uneventful Breyer and soon ended in a repetition. Yildiz-Chiburdanidze saw a nice counterattack and Sebag won a good game against Munguntuul.
On the rest day Hou Yifan moved into the lead by defeating Zhu Chen. Maybe after this effort she needed another day of rest as her game against Chiburdanidze did not last long. Kosintseva dropped her first half point with White this tournament against Koneru. In a Philidor a lot of manoeuvring was going on before mass exchanges led to a draw.
Zhao Xue-Xu Yuhua saw a solid Queen's Indian Defence. Maybe desperate for a win after two losses Zhao Xue sacrificed an exchange and even got two pawns for it. Unfortunately for white these were easily picked up after a couple of accurate moves by black. Muguntuul outplayed Yildiz right from the opening and never let her go.
Stefanova went for mate against Sebag:
Try to find yourself how White won this game.
Hou Yifan was now leading the field with 6.5 points, closely followed by Koneru and Stefanova with 6 points. The Chinese prodigy was playing the local talent and lost control for a little while when in a Scheveningen she pushed 12.f5 early. With 15.f6 however she managed to confuse Munguntuul who probably should have replied with 15...gxf6. As the game went white's pieces found a nice target in f7. After an incautious check (with a king move who could resist?) f7 fell of and led to a lost endgame.
Zhao Xue unleashed major complications on Koneru in the Queen's Indian, which proved too much for her to handle. After three losses Zhao Xue showed everyone she was still there but deprived Koneru of chances to win the tournament. Stefanova quickly got into a Caro Kann-ending as black against Yildiz and was able to snatch the pawn on h5 off and won.
In Zhu Chen-Chiburdanidze Black misplayed the opening and was lucky to be able to escape into an endgame. The former World Champion behind the white pieces then slowly but surely steamrolled black of the board with her kingside pawns.
An inspired performance from Sebag ruined Kosintseva's Rauzer Sicilian. Shen Yang and Xu Yuhua played a balanced draw.
Kosintseva (as White) and Zhu Chen (as Black) both outplayed their opponent in a Ruy Lopez: Yildiz and Munguntuul respectively. Xu Yuhua let Koneru slip as Xu was clearly better for most of the game. Zhao Xue-Sebag was a hard-fought draw in which a desperate attack ended in perpetual check. Chiburdanidze and Shen Yang were desperate to end their tournament. Their game lasted 14 moves including a repetition.
In the final round the game Stefanova-Hou Yifan was indeed the final. Play was equal the whole time until black slipped up for a moment with 28...Nb5?
Here 29.Bxf6! would have won a pawn as 29...Rxf6 30.Rc2 wins even more. Stefanova played 29.e4 and Black quickly went Na3-c4-e5 after which the game was dead equal.
The decisive game between Antoaneta Stefanova and Hou Yifan
Games rounds 6-11
Game viewer by ChessTempo
Betul Cemre Yildiz (Turkey, 2235), 2249 performance
Batkhuyag Munguntuul (Mongolia, 2421), 2362 performance
Marie Sebag (France, 2519), 2388 perfomance
Zhu Chen (Quatar, 2476), 2457 performance
Shen Yang (China, 2435), 2460 performance
Xu Yuhua (China, 2488), 2488 performance
Maia Chiburdanidze (Georgia, 2514), 2516 performance
Tatiana Kosintseva (Russia, 2562), 2545 performance
Zhao Xue (China, 2462), 2553 performance
Humpy Koneru (India, 2600), 2542 performance
Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria, 2560), 2613 performance
Hou Yifan (China, 2577), 2649 performance
The closing ceremony in the State Drama Art Theater of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
...which included acrobats doing all kings of balancing performances...
...making the most surprising figures with their bodies
And of course the traditional... traditional costumes
Hou Yifan receives the first prize trophy...
...and a 6500 euro cheque - next to her numbers 2 and 3 Stefanova and Kosintseva
Photos © FIDE, more here
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