Reports | September 12, 2008 19:50

Kosteniuk qualifies for World Ch Final - UPDATE: Hou Yifan too

By beating Pia Cramling 1.5-0-5, Alexandra Kosteniuk was the first player who qualified yesterday for the final of the Women World Championship in Nalchik, Russia. With a blunder in a good position Hou Yifan spoilt her one-point lead against Humpy Koneru - but today she won the playoff to qualify as well.

Seven years after Kosteniuk lost the world championship final to Zhu Chen in 2001, she's back on the highest podium. On her official website, her husband writes:

The last 6 months of intense training are paying out for Alexandra, who qualified today for the Final of the World Championship [...] It will be Alexandra's second try at the title, remember that in 2001 Alexandra went all the way to the Final but lost narrowly to China's Zhu Chen after tie-breaks. Now Alexandra has 7 years more experience and many new titles, European Champion 2004, GM (men) 2004, Russian Champion 2005, Chess960 World Champion 2006 & 2008, European Team Champion 2007.

14-year-old Hou Yifan should have qualified for the final as well, since she played another fine game with Black against Humpy Koneru and was much better at move 32, where she suddenly made a terrible blunder. It remains to be seen whether she can handle this blow and play at full strength against Koneru today. Update: yes, she could. After both Hou Yifan and Koneru won their White games (rapid), it was the Chinese super talent who won both blitz games. The games of this playoff can be found below the regular four games of the semi-finals:

Playoff games, played September 12:


Koneru-Hou Yifan

Aleksandra Kosteniuk, the first to qualify for the final

Hou Yifan, the second to qualify

Photos ?Ǭ© FIDE



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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.


Jarvis's picture

Or was it cut before they turned to her?

Bilf's picture

Kosteniuk a "supermodel"?!? Yeah and I'm Brad Pitt.

Manu's picture

I don?Ǭ¥t understand the meaning of ?Ǭ®women world championship?Ǭ®,to me the board has no sex and only one person (male or female) can be named world champion.
I understand the importance of a women?Ǭ¥s only league and championships , but i hope that in the future this separation will be only history.

I'm back!'s picture

Is Hou Yifan the youngest player in chess history to beat a 2600+ player in a FIDE-rated match?

Michel's picture

In the history women played weaker then men. In other sports men and women have there own championships. So why not in chess? I admit that times are changing, because chess is not a fysical sport women are getting better and better. Probably things will change in the future.
Do you know what really is unfair? In the Netherlands, and probably in other countries too, there is a general championship and a women championship. This mean that women can participate in the general championship. When women are starting to win the championship men will ask for changes!

Manu's picture

In other sports men and women have there own championships because there are genetic diferences that changes the posibilities for each genre(force,elasticity, etc).
Doing the same in chess at this time in history is in my opinion stating that this genetic diferences includes the brain, for me that is not true and thats why i find the existance of ?Ǭ®women only?Ǭ® championships very hipocrit.
If you force women to compete with men in chess they will find a way , and in very little time they will achieve their deserved place.

Silken's picture

"Doing the same in chess at this time in history is in my opinion stating that this genetic diferences includes the brain, for me that is not true"

Sorry, but if you are talking about the human body, opinions don't count and the science is pretty clear on that one... just do some research about the connection of learning abilities and testosterone levels. Men have an advantage in every game that includes confrontation and competition, because higher testosterone levels enable you to learn strategies and procedures quicker. Sex differences in the hormones are just as effective as sex differences in strength of the body.

Manu's picture

@Silken , So you are saying that Judith Polgar has the hormones of a man?
If not why is she so succesfull?
I?Ǭ¥ll do some sience research and you should try and read things better.I said womens should get their deserved place thats all.
Whatch your hormones , dude.

Bilf's picture
Brad Pitt's picture

Hey Bilf. How many magazine covers have you graced like this? Alexandra's a supermodel -- though her career has suffered a bit from that little side hobby of hers. You know the one.

Here's your link, Bilf.

Damian's picture

Wow. So now the world title comes down to a supermodel or a 14-year-old. Either way the story will be sensational. Personally I'm rooting for the beauty queen because she has used her considerable other talents in service of Caissa, making the game of chess exciting and making great intelligence seem sexy in the media. As world champion she would be an incredible spokeswoman for the game, like Susan Polgar has been in the USA.

Jarvis's picture

What? Not a single question for Hou Yifan? What rudeness and awkwardness.

lxp's picture

hou yifan is now in the finals

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