Reports | December 19, 2010 19:26

Ruan Lufei & Hou Yifan in World Championship final

Ruan Lufei & Hou Yifan in World Championship finalJust like two years ago, Hou Yifan from China eliminated Humpy Koneru from India in the semi-finals of the Women's World Championship in Antakya, Turkey. She will meet her compatriot Ruan Lufei in the final, who defeated another Chinese player, Zhao Xue, in the rapid tiebreak.

General info

The 2010 Women's World Championship, organized by the Turkish Chess Federation, takes place December 2-25 in Antakya, Hatay, Turkey. The format is a knock-out competition with five rounds of matches, comprising two games per round, with the winners progressing to the next round. The 6th and final round will be played over four games and the winner will be declared Women’s World Champion. More info here.

Round 5

History repeated itself this week when number 1 and 2 seeded players Humpy Koneru and Hou Yifan met in the semi-finals. Two years ago, at the Women's World Championship in Nalchik (Russia) Hou Yifan needed the tiebreak to beat her opponent (after which she lost to Alexandra Kosteniuk in the final) but this time two classical games were enough.

Ruan Lufei & Hou Yifan in World Championship final

Hou Yifan again knocks out Humpy Koneru in the semis

In the first game Hou Yifan reached a winning position in a bishop ending that started as a Berlin Wall. The Chinese found a very nice idea that involved a bishop sacrifice and then finished the game strongly as well. Afterwards computer analysis showed that the Chinese GM had actually played her tactic one move too early, and Humpy could have drawn the game - but in that case the Indian GM would have had to find a series of only moves. In the game viewer below you'll find the analysis.

The second game started with a remarkable transposition of moves, where a Sicilian Scheveningen with 6.Bg5 was reached from a 1.d4 opening. OK, it was a must-win situation for Humpy, but this way of playing didn't seem to suit her style. Except for one move, Hou Yifan easily held everything under control.


16-year-old Hou Yifan reaches her second World Championship final

The two classical games between Zhao Xue and Ruan Lufei were quick draws, and so the latter had to play tiebreaks for the fifth time! With the white pieces she didn't get much against Zhao Xue's Alekhine and then with Black she got out of the opening quite badly. But as her opponent missed the win and then several draws, eventually the youngest of the two (Ruan Lufei is 23; Zhao Xue is 25) won a complicated ending after 70 moves.

Zhao Xue vs Ruan Lufei

Ruan Lufei vs Zhao Xue, with an arbiter, the Turkish flag and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) in the background

Ruan Lufei

An incredible success for Ruan Lufei already

Sunday is the only rest day in Antakya. The final will consist of four classical games, and if needed a rapid and blitz tiebreak.

Games semi-finals

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Women's World Championship 2010 | Round 5 results

Women's World Championship 2010 | Round 5 results

Photos © Turkish Chess Federation


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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.


VladimirOo's picture

Have replayed the games of the Kramnik-Leko match? Stop saying such silly things, these were tremendous games with fantastics ideas and drama (such as the Marshall, 1.d4 from Leko to be compared with Fischer's 1.c4, or Karpov's first 1.d4, the last Caro-Kann etc...). My god...

Zeblakob's picture

.. I mean Kramik-Leko 2004.

JM's picture

For clarity's sake, I'm talking about the bishop ending in Hou Yifan - Humpy Koneru

blueofnoon's picture

Kosteniuk was the first seed for being the defending champion. I do not think Yifan and Koneru were treated unfairly...

dabest3's picture

Its sad day for chess when analysis are all Computer engines guided and not by human analysis anymore. A move should only be given ?? if its easy to see by a human analysis and not by a Computer. Its not fair to the player because they do not have access to a computer while playing over the board game and not fairly given credit for ideas they created otb.

chandler's picture

I'm afraid that while the point is valid, we're tending towards some kind of reverse-discrimination... we tend to feel that many mistakes are forgivable because only a computer can point them out; although in many cases, I'm sure a strong enough player wouldn't have made them.
In this particular instance, for example, I can't imagine a classy player like Karpov, Yusupov or Andersson messing it up like this.

I think we should think "will a World Champ do this mistake if he's analysing at home without a computer"; and if the answer is no, then it should be classified as a blunder.

JM's picture

In the drawing sequence starting with 44. Be7? Kxe7 the given variation ends with 56...Be7+! 57. Kd5 Kf6!= . White can set an even more difficult task for black with 57. Kd5.

The full variation runs 57. Kd5 Kf6 58. c5 Bd8 59. c6 Bc7 60. Kc5 Ke7 61. Kb5 Kd6 62. e7 Kxe7 63. Ka6 Kf6 64. Kb7 Bd8 65. c7 Bxc7 66. Kxc7 Kxf5 67. Kb6 Ke6 68. Kxa5 Kd7 69. Kb6 Kc8 70. a4 Kb8=
Of those fourteen moves, no less then ten (!) are only moves, while the other four consist of non-trivial defensive ideas: 57...Kf6 followed by 58...Bd8 (may be played in conversed order) and 63...Kf6 followed by 64...Bd8 (likewise).

Daaim Shabazz's picture

I believe it is unfair to assess 44.Be7 with a question mark. Certainly it was not the winning move as 44.h4! would have been strong. I believe this is unfair and does not show any appreciation for the original idea and the thought process to play such a move. The drawn even after 44.Kxe7 was not trivial and black has to find a couple of star moves to draw by one tempo. Most spectators would not have even considered the idea let alone seeing the long ensuing variations. The variation that was listed above... how many players on the planet would have calculated this? ChessBase contributor even move 44.Be7 a "??" It is easy for this person to be that critical when they have Rybka and Stockfish.

JM's picture

The reason that the move 44. Be7?? deserves the question moves is that is is very illogical. It is quite clear that in all variations white prefers to have his h-pawn on h4. Black can only repeat Bc7-Bb6. Hence, white should improve his position as much as possible first before going for any forcing variations. White's 44th move is bad because it violates an elementary rule in endgame technique, not because of a computer variation.

I actually wanted to play 44. h3 Bc7 44. h4 Bb6 45. Be7, which is similar to the variation given by Chessbase. The ensuing variations are quite sensible. On the other hand, the variation given by Chessvibes is very strange and illogical. I suppose your complaint about computer guided analysis holds true here... No human being would play like that.

JM's picture

The reason that the move 44. Be7?? deserves the question marks is that is is very illogical. It is quite clear that in all variations white prefers to have his h-pawn on h4. Black can only repeat Bc7-Bb6. Hence, white should improve his position as much as possible first before going for any forcing variations. White's 44th move is bad because it violates an elementary rule in endgame technique, not because of a computer variation.

I actually wanted to play 44. h3 Bc7 44. h4 Bb6 45. Be7, which is similar to the variation given by Chessbase. The ensuing variations are quite sensible. On the other hand, the variation given by Chessvibes is very strange and illogical. I suppose your complaint about computer guided analysis holds true here... No human being would play like that.

VladimirOo's picture

And you have more chance to focus on games with a lot of mistakes that you will not see, mistakes that you will reproduce aswell.

Should a 1300elo study 1300elo games? Of course not because he will not learn how much he has to improve, and how much he does not understand, and how much he needs to learn and improve in his knowledge and his methods of learning.

With games of a lower level, you restrain your imagination since your work of reference is of a low level, low quality of tactics, of strategy and of accuracy.

The fact that you "believe" that you undestand a game does not mean that you actually does! And the fact that you understand a game does not mean that you improve! What makes you improves a games and exercises that challenge you and put you a real test, to make you think and improve by force!

Comfort is not a good for improvement

Coco Loco's picture

I'm all for freedom of speech, but there seems to be a decline in the (humanity) level of the posts. Here it's bigotry, before it was rude/vulgar comments (e.g., on Carlsen and Nakamura). I know the more readers the better - and I wish chessvibes continued success - but I for one have been really put off by the comments as of late. There, sometimes, seems to be a connection between the type of story and the nature of the comments. For example, some great well thought-out comments were made when discussing what the "right" format for the WC and champion's rights should be. Other stories perhaps invite more off-topic or random comments. Though, often, the standard "thread hijacking" occurs, on almost any "current events" (I haven't seen much vitriol on the weekly endgame column) type of article, and then the whole comment section loses its value.

I was initially hopeful, but the up/down ratings don't seem to do much. There are other options like "report post as inappropriate", but that just creates more work for you guys. Or maybe create a special "off-topic" forum where the trolls can vent and fight it put amongst themselves? Maybe the trolls themselves can offer some ideas?

S's picture

Maybe we can all gather at the next report on the Troll masters tournament and make all our posts there?

Sander's picture

Please try and remain on topic, Coco Loko

Thank you....;)

Septimus's picture

Dude, this is teh internets...what do you expect? Being the tough guy behind the screen on a chess website is a dream come true. If anybody disagrees I will reach out from my computer and kick your @ss. ;)

Michel83's picture

@ Coco Loco

I am not going to get into this more deeply, but let me just say I fully agree with you.
Although Septimus is right about his general statement about the Internet (a reason why I normally don't read boards), arguments used to be more respectful here; now Chessvibes-comments are getting plain nasty on the level of youtube-comments (or maybe just on a normal Internet-level) those days (the first answer to your post speaks for itself)- only that chess-site-user mostly think of themselves to be more intelligent and well-educated than others. Maybe it's because the site is getting popular (what is good), maybe because of the possibilty to directly answer to comments, who knows.
But a pity, it has gotten clearly less pleasant to visit chessvibes. I still do because of the articles though.
Oh, and it wouldn't surprise me to get some "clever" sarcastic answers to my post. Oh well.

So it goes.

S's picture

Why only in a non physical sport Sander?

Sander's picture

Because in a psysical sport its unfair to have men play women because women are weaker, in an intellectual game such as chess women dont have this handicap ergo: stop women chess championships. Its weird because there are other sports like snooker or darts that women shouldnt be handicapped either but even here its all men!

I guess Max Euwe was right all along when he said why women cant play chess; ""Because women have better things to do! "

S's picture

Sounds reasonable, but it is not impossible or unlikely that women have a "mental handicap" as well. I know this is rather controversial, but it would explain the massive difference in playing strength.

VladimirOo's picture

I would like to attract the attention of the separate women ligue's defenders to one particular sport. A tough and physical one, even an olympic one:


Remember watching Olympics on TV? One simple word here:


Because riders fight according to their mastery in their leading of the horse. And one judged that the physical difference was not significant to make two separate disciplines. And they proved to be right!

Mastery is not essentialy physique. There is more.

Septimus's picture

How so? She hammered all her challengers up to this point. She is 2600 for a reason. I feel it was just bad strategy of going passive against e4.

S's picture

there is a series of strong tournaments (women grandprix) and I think the best player of this series is scheduled to play the world champion. Not ideal, but not that bad either.

Zeblakob's picture

The games are more interesting than the man WCC ones.

Sander's picture

The lower the level the more interesting it becomes for weaker players (myself included!) because we actually have a clue whats going on, but that doesnt mean this is better chess....

Zeblakob's picture

2500 is not low level.
Let us do Turing test: If I give a series of games can y determine if each game is played between two 2500 or two +2700 players?

noyb's picture

Absolutely ridiculous method of determining a champion. You may as well have a lottery!

Daaim Shabazz's picture

First-class or second class... so what? Some very interesting games played.

How do you determine whether a title is meaningful or not?

Poek's picture

A question mark means that a move is bad. It does not mean that the player is bad.

Peter Doggers's picture

Again, I don't think emotion, adrenaline, calculation, courage, energy or whatever should be put into the move evaluation (there's no way to do that anyway) - that should be put in text, explaining the human aspect. Guess my use of the marks is just different from yours.

Clifford's picture

I think Peter's move evaluations ignore the fact that the object of a player is to win the game, not necessarily to play the best moves. Computer assessments fail to take account of the competitive element (let alone aesthetics).
So a move which wins - perhaps inducing the opponent to fall into a trap - is worth an ! or !!, even if there might be objectively better moves available according to computer assessment. But those 'better' moves might not win the game.
If you just give !s to moves that the computer likes, you are reducing chess to a science, not a struggle. Maybe that is acceptable for John Nunn in his endgame books but an annotator should be more open-minded.

Arne Moll's picture

I think there's a difference between annotating one's own games and annotating other people's games. The aesthetical and competitive elements of chess annotations should perhaps be reserved for cases when you are analysing your own games, where subjective aspects are not mere speculation, whereas the scientific (computer-like, 'Informant-style') way of annotating games is at least universal and therefore more suitable for 'objective' (i.e. third-party) analysis.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Of course symbols put the emotional elements on the game. Have you ever seen the annotation from the 1972 San Antonio tournament? Ken Smith was the bottom-feeder and was known to play the Morra Gambit. When another player played the French against him the annotator wrote "1...e6? because 1...c5 wins a pawn!" This is the beauty of telling stories with these symbols. The game situation and emotions are very much a part of it. Nevertheless, I understand your way of viewing it. Arne has some points as well.

Peter Doggers's picture

Good example of... accompanying text explaining a non-standard evaluation. That's more or less what I meant; as soon as you're giving an objectively bad move something else than a question mark, for the 'huma'n aspect, you should write a few sentences as well, like in the book. Then it can work quite nice - something I mentioned before when suggesting '!!??'. We probably agree more on the whole matter than we think. :-)

Bartleby's picture

Interesting discussion going on inside those funny boxes.
If an annotator has done the analysis, with or without computer help, and is convinced that and can explain why a move changes the objective result from won to draw, then he should give a ? or ??. I have not digged in deep enough to be sure about the position in Hou's game, but I assume the annotator has.
If the annotator just reflects the fact that a computer evaluation went from +X to 0.00, he should refrain from giving symbols. Or at least clearly say so. Analysis that relies on computer lines nobody understands, like e.g. seen regularly in queen endgames, is only anecdotal, not very relevant to understand what's going on. The search for truth needs explanations, not revelations.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

The move was not bad as in a blunder. She did not lose and never was in danger of losing. The move was at worst inaccurate or dubious, so a ?! may have been more accurate.

Peter's picture

Agreed, this is not trivial. However, in such an ending '?!' is not strong enough when the move changes the evaluation of the position as much as from winning to drawn.

JM's picture

It is quite trivially a suboptimal move.
Use ''The power of comparative thinking" (Chessvibes article) or the well known "Do not hurry" principle (several chess endgame authors). :-P

Daaim Shabazz's picture

I agree, but how many annotated games do you see with a question mark every time an evaluation changes from winning to drawn? You'd have to include quite a number of question marks in any given game. I believe adding a question mark robs Hou Yifan of the beauty of her idea (which few of us would have considered or have seen if we're honest).

jussu's picture

What? Typically, a grandmaster makes 2-3 clearly suboptimal moves per game, and most of these do not change evaluation. So a move that does change objective evaluation (let us assume that we have access for such a thing) from drawn to lost or from winning to drawn definitely deserves a "?", and I really dislike annotators who use some euphemisms instead.

Mekhanik's picture

The reason it is treated like a second class affair is because it is. No one cares if some 2500+ GM gets a title that is meaningless anyway.

john's picture

I care. So you are wrong.

Sander's picture

Haha I couldnt agree more, the whole concept of women-only championships is ridiculous in a non-physical sport. This would of course mean that, at this point, no woman would seriously have a shot at becoming world champion but , thats life...they have the same chances as any man.

fgdfd's picture

No woman would be able to make a living playing chess if women weren't allowed to have their own competitions, and few would like to see that, least of all the women who play chess.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Judit Polgar can make a living.

fgdfd's picture

I wonder if she's even top 50 atm, anyway few people would reason that women should be equal with men and since they aren't they don't deserve to be able to live on the game. This would naturally make the game even more of a one-sex affair. Good for those that don't like to see women play chess but not for anyone else.

Raj's picture

Poorly played game after the pieces were exchanged by Humpy Koneru in her game that she lost to Yifan Hou who played much better.

Peter Doggers's picture

Well, the same reasoning led to a '?' instead of '??' here. But I believe that these move evaluations should be as close to the truth as possible (with the knowledge and equipment we have on that day) and that any 'human-spirit' (deserved) praise should be added as text. If the move turns out to be winning anyway, in ten years from now, I guess the right thing to do is to leave the '?' and add a note.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Why Russian school? Even Russian players are struggling these days.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

44.Be7?? is not illogical. It is a novel idea and we NOW understand it (and its flaws). My point is that the idea was the correct one, but she played them in the wrong order. However, most people are judging solely because they have their computers to look at the subtle lines. These lines are very intricate with a number of only moves and subtleties. You said all variations prefer that white have a pawn on h4... again computers. However, Hou Yifan figured these themes without a computer. To put a "??" is unjust. When someone makes such a contribution in endgame analysis, it should be credited.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

You are merely spouting off principles to a 2600-rated player. I'm sure she is aware of those principles you mentioned.


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