Reports | September 28, 2012 17:33

Humpy Koneru finishes first at Ankara GP, second overall

Humpy Koneru

Humpy Koneru won the sixth and last FIDE Women's Grand Prix on Friday in Ankara, Turkey. The Indian grandmaster scored 8/11, half a point more than Anna Muzychuk. Humpy finished second in the overall Grand Prix series behind Hou Yifan. The Chinese had already clinched the first place at the previous GP in Jermuk. 

Humpy Koneru | Photo © Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE

Event 6th Women's Grand Prix | PGN via TWIC
Dates September 15-29, 2012
Location Ankara, Turkey
System 12-player round robin
Players Anna Muzychuk, Humpy Koneru, Zhao Xue, Ju Wenjun, Tatiana Kosintseva, Viktorija Cmilyte, Antoaneta Stefanova, Ruan Lufei, Monika Socko, Batkhuyag Munguntuul, Betul Cemre Yildiz, Kubra Ozturk
Rate of play

90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 1

Prize fund €50,000, split €40,000 as direct prize money for the tournament and €10,000 towards an accumulated prize fund for the players at the end of the series

The sixth and last Women's Grand Prix tournament took place September 15th-29th in Ankara, the capital of Turkey and its second largest city after Istanbul. The venue was the office building of the Turkish Chess Federation. 

Hou Yifan had already won the overall Grand Prix most convincingly by finishing sole first at three events. With the rule that for each player only the best three events would count, that was quite enough! This meant that, besides trying to play a good event, four of the participants had a clear goal. Anna Muzychuk, Humpy Koneru, Zhao Xue and Ju Wenjun still had a chance to finish second in the overall standings, which would mean qualification for the 2013 world title match.

Humpy Koneru of India emerged as the sole winner with a score of 8 out of 11. Anna Muzychuk scored 7.5/11 and Zhao Xue 7/11. However, this didn't mean (yet) that we'll see a rematch Hou Yifan-Humpy Koneru next year. The regulations state:

The winner of the Grand Prix series at the end of 2012 will play the Women World Champion in the third quarter of 2013 in a ten game match for the Women’s World Championship title. Should the overall winner of the Grand Prix also be the World Champion at the end of the Grand Prix series in 2012, then the Challenger rights will go to the second placed overall in the Grand Prix.

However, there is in fact a Women's World Championship scheduled for November 2012 in Khanty-Mansiysk. If Hou Yifan retains her title in this tough knock-out tournament, we'll see a rematch Hou Yifan-Humpy Koneru indeed. To summarize, it seems that for the first time in chess history the challenger has qualified for a world title match whilst the World Champion in that match isn't known yet!? 

Update: We were confused (but can you blame us?). In fact if Hou Yifan doesn't win in November she would thus be the challenger and so the only thing we know is that whatever happens, Hou Yifan is one of the players in the 2013 world title match. 

According to our calculations (see below) Anna Muzychuk finished just ten points behind Humpy Koneru in the overall standings. That must have been a bitter pill to swallow, especially since she beat the Indian in their mutual game:

PGN string

Two participants in Ankara, Monika Socko of Poland and Kubra Ozturk of Turkey, played their first and last Grand Prix. We asked FIDE Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Borg about the qualification process, and he explained that the players enter as one off replacements for other players who have withdrawn from the series or cannot play one leg only. In this case, the first replacement was for Zhu Chen who retired after playing two legs and in the Ankara leg was replaced by Monica Socko, who was then at the same rating level. The second replacement came after Alexandra Kosteniuk could not play one leg for personal reasons and Hou Yifan requested a change of event from Ankara. After shuffling to accommodate Hou Yifan, FIDE replaced the free slot with Kubra Ozturk (as chosen by the Turkish Chess Federation).

Below you'll find the final standings of the 6th leg in Ankara as well as the overall final standings – calculated by us so unofficial. 

FIDE Women's Grand Prix | Ankara 2012 | Final standings


FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011-2012 | Overall final standings

Name Fed Rostov 11 Shenzhen 11 Nalchik 11 Kazan 12 Jermuk 12 Ankara 12 Best 3 events Played
Hou Yifan CHN 160 160   100 160   480 4
Koneru,H IND 65     145 110 160 415 4
MuzychukA SLO 100 130   145   130 405 4
Zhao Xue CHN   75 160   60 110 345 4
Lahno,K UKR 130   80 50 110   320 4
Ju Wenjun CHN   100 130   75 50 305 4
Cmilyte,V LTU   35 100 100   85 285 4
Kosintseva,N RUS 80   55 35 110   245 4
Kosintseva,T RUS 100   55 60   85 245 4
Ruan Lufei CHN 30 75     75 60 240 4
Danielian,E ARM 45 50   75 45   170 4
Kovalevskaya,E RUS 20 20 100   30   150 4
Munguntuul,B MGL   60 20   20 70 150 4
Stefanova,A BUL 45   55 35   40 140 4
Galliamova,A RUS 65   30 20     115 3
Tan Zhongyi CHN   100         100 1
Kosteniuk,A RUS 10   10 75     95 4
Zhu Chen QAT   35 55       90 2
Lilit Mkrtchian ARM         45   45 1
Betul Cemre Yildiz TUR   10   10   30 50 3
Nino Khurtsidze ARM         10   10 1
Monica Socko POL           20 20 1
Kubra Ozturk TUR           10 10 1


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.


D M Modak's picture

Very glad that Humpy won at Ankara outright and now it is almost certain she will play in 2013 Women World Championship and will certainly play later in Nov/Dec 2012 for the Knock-out format of the World Women Championship. In both of these she is likely to 'run into' Hou, who has proved a 'difficult' opponent for her! Just like Yates for Alekhine, Geller for Fischer etc. But I wish she beats Hou by hard work and we get an INDIAN DOUBLE for the first time as our own V. Anand is the current World Champion. Incidentally, the finish at Ankara was no less thrilling than at Doha in 2011 where all the results(in the last six rounds 5.5/6) were favourable for Humpy! I once again wish her all the best!-D.M.Modak, Nashik, India. 28th Sept. 2012

Anonymous's picture

Just half a point more here and Muzychuk would've finished shared 1st in Anakara and 2nd in overall GP standings. This really couldn't have been any closer for her and Koneru. Given that the latter really had to finish sole first in Ankara, my congratulations on her strong nerves to accomplish just that!

Anonymous's picture

Actually, if Hou Yifan doesn't win the knockout event wouldn't she thus be the challenger? So we don't actually know the challenger yet (for the unknown post-knockout champion), either, do we?

Anonymous's picture

Same person here. Anyway, maybe that's not true according to the wording in the quote, but it would be wildly unfair to favor the runner-up over the winner of the Grand Prix...

Bartleby's picture

It doesn't favor the runner-up, but it puts the current champion at a disadvantage. Strange wording, indeed. Maybe they thought after all those years of privileges for male Russian World Champions, we have to balance it with disadvantages for female Chinese ones.

Anonymous's picture

All we know for sure now is that Hou will play the 2013 world championship match.

If she wins the earlier knockout world championship as well, her challenger will be Koneru again. If she doesn't, she will be the challenger of the winner of the knock-out tournament.

mig's picture

LoL Here is a scenario. Humpy wins the knock-out and again has to face Hou.

Thomas's picture

Indeed: Hou Yifan already knows that she will play a WCh match in 2013. Koneru knows that she _might_ play in the same match. IF this happens, her opponent will be Hou Yifan. Two scenarios to reach such a match:
- Koneru wins the knockout (in that case, she could afford to finish 'anywhere' in the GP series)
- Hou Yifan wins the knockout.

Certain similarities but also differences to Kramnik's situation before the Mexico WCh: Kramnik knew that he would subsequently play a WCh match - either against the winner of Mexico (Anand) or, if he had won himself, against Topalov.

Sam M's picture

Yes Hearty Congrats to GM Humpy - one of the most spirited fighter! First among a bunch of great fighters in this tournament. Unlike in Men's chess where you need stuff like Sofia rules, here you see real fights. Who cares if the games are not computer-perfect...We need more sponsors for the ladies...

AK's picture

Yes, ladies play interesting chess. But such tournaments could be improved with more even field. The rating difference between Muzychuk and Ostruk is a bit over 300 points. Everyone would be screaming if several 2475 - 2500 rated men would play in London right now.

Thomas's picture

It was one weak player (or two including Betul Cemre Yildiz). A similar situation could occur in the Men's Grand Prix if someone drops out of the Lisbon event at short notice and is replaced by a Portuguese player (GM Luis Galego, Elo 2483 is the best they have). But I guess they would rather include, for example, Vallejo - after all, the series is organized by AGON, not by local organizers caring about local heroes.

litmus's picture

Your calculations for Ju Wenjun's GP finishing points appear to be off. This affects the #4, #5, and #6 positions.

Peter Doggers's picture

Indeed, thanks, corrected!

Xenyatta's picture

From a purely sporting perspective, it might have been a better result if Muzychuk had been the one to finish in 2nd Place in the Overall Final standings of the Grand Prix series. While I am impressed with Humpy's overall style, it is clear that she does not match up well vs. Hou Yi-Fan. There is always a chance that Humpy will summon the strength to achieve better results against Yi-Fan, but it doesn't seem likely.

On the other hand, Muzychuk has gone from strength to strength, and has really moved into the top echelons. She is a markedly improved player even from the start of the Women's Grand Prix Cycle. If she were to play Yi-Fan, I beliueve that she would give the Women's WC all she could handle (and would in fact prevail over Yi-Fan).

I might as well go out on a limb and predict that Muzychuk will win the Women's Title via th Knock-Out Championship.

In her 4 Grand Prix Events, Muzychuk finished =3rd (3-Way Tie), Clear 2nd (Twice), and =1st

If one counts the points from all 4 events, then Hou finishes with 580
Muzychuk 505
Humpy 480
Ju Wenjun 405
Zhao Xue 405

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