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
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.
WGM Ju Wenjun (China, 2518)
Here's a good game by the winner from the 8th round.
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|
|Betul Cemre Yildiz||TUR||10||10||20||2|
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.
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