Hou Yifan wins Lopota Women's Grand Prix Print
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 08:56

26

Even though Hou Yifan's tournament win has been predicable for quite a while and mathematically inevitable since yesterday, only now, after the last clock has been stopped and the last scoresheet signed, is the right moment to congratulate the World Champion for her fantastic result! And to thank everyone for a wonderful tournament!

The decisive game rate remained high in the final round, featuring a couple of 'surprise' heroes, as mentioned below.

Playing with Black against the occupant of the third place, Danielian, Hou Yifan gradually neutralized White's slight initiative and space advantage until reaching an obviously drawn opposite-colored bishops ending. As if players did not wish to part with the wonderful chess experience in Lopota, the game continued for nine more moves before agreeing on a draw.

Kosteniuk confirmed her improving shape in the second half of the tournament by defeating Ju Wenjun. This allowed Danielian to catch up with the Chinese in a tie for 2nd-3rd and restored Hou Yifan's advantage of two whole points.

The last day brought a bit of joy to the only two players who had not tasted yet from the sweet cup of victory.

Black's original opening play was followed by a no less original middlegame plan in Muminova - Zhao Xue. A massive kingside attack involving almost all her pieces yielded the Chinese's first full point on the score table.

Black's play in Khotenashvili - Koneru was at least as "exotic" as in the game above, but the experiment of the second rating favorite didn't pay off equally well. Khotenashvili grabbed all the offered space and tempi to build up a decisive advantage which she converted confidently.

In Dronavalli - Stefanova, Black was about to get strong queenside counterplay in the early middlegame, determining her opponent to force a draw by move repetition. And in Muzychuk - Dzagnidze the supposedly peaceful Exchange French gave White persistent initiative after the early queen exchange, but the Georgian managed to gradually simplify to a drawn rook ending with just a few pawns left.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Final standings of the FIDE Women Grand Prix, Lopota 2014:

Rank SNo. Name Rtg FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pts Res. Vict
1 3 GM Hou Yifan 2629 CHN * 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 9 0 7
2 4 WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 CHN 0 * 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 7 1 5
3 9 GM Danielian Elina 2460 ARM ½ 0 * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 7 0 4
4 5 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 GEO 0 ½ ½ * 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 4
5 12 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 BUL 0 0 ½ 1 * ½ ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 6 ½ 4
6 6 GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 IND ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 1 6 ½ 2
7 7 GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 UKR 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 1 ½ 1 1 3
8 1 GM Koneru Humpy 2613 IND ½ ½ 0 0 1 1 ½ * ½ ½ 0 1 1 3
9 8 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 RUS ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 0 0 ½ * ½ 1 1 ½ 3
10 2 GM Zhao Xue 2538 CHN 0 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ 1 0 1
11 11 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 GEO 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 1 0 ½ * 0 3 0 1
12 10 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 UZB 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 * 0 1

1

Round 10

The outside weather didn't improve for the tenth round and the players start displaying symptoms of acute tiredness, understandable for such long and tense tournaments. The round ended earlier than usual and many of the participants do not hide that their reserves of energy are close to the bottom, despite the pleasant geographical location and exquisite Georgian cuisine.
Hou Yifan's relatively short, but nevertheless entertaining, draw with Kosteniuk ensured the World Champion's clear tournament win with one round to go. By winning against Muzychuk, Ju Wenjun steps a bit closer to the already unreachable leader and trails now by 1,5 points.
After the unfortunate result of her yesterday's hyper-ambitious approach, Dzagnidze played a safe and relatively eventless draw against Dronavalli. This allowed Danielian (who won with Black against Zhao Xue), to free herself of the tie with the Georgian and occupy the clear third position.
Koneru's win against Muminova is a good example of how strong the Indian is, to fully recover after yesterday's shock, while Stefanova's draw with Khotenashvili preserves the Bulgarian's overall good performance.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Round 10
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 ½ - ½ GM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 11
1 GM Koneru Humpy 2613 1 - 0 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 10
2 GM Zhao Xue 2538 0 - 1 GM Danielian Elina 2460 9
3 GM Hou Yifan 2629 ½ - ½ GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 8
4 WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 1 - 0 GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 7
5 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 ½ - ½ GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 6




46


Round 9

You may recognize the nickname of the world's fastest sprinter - Usain Bolt. In this tournament we also have one woman that is outrunning the competition: Hou Yifan. With just two rounds to go, she has a lead of two points and is therefore sure of at least shared first. Displaying a perseverance and ambition already 'not required' by her tournament situation, Hou Yifan won with Black against Muzychuk in only 28 moves!

The meteorological conditions have suddenly deteriorated in Lopota and this was reflected in some of the today's games, featuring hair rising and inexplicable blunders. Or maybe it was the other way around, the skies were crying out in rains at the unfortunate player's unhappiness... And the abundance of decisive games was similar to that of the rain: four out of six and it could have been more!

Playing with White against Stefanova, Dzagnidze refrained from giving perpetual check and eventually got under decisive mating threats. The Georgian risked everything, hoping to keep trailing the leader, but now dropped down on a shared 3rd-4th position. Harika - Ju ended in a draw after all the resources had been exhausted: White was stalemated on move 54. The Chinese player is now alone on the second place. In Danielian - Koneru the Indian threw the game away in one move, while looking for ways of maintaining her initiative. With this win, Danielian joins Dzagnidze on the podium. Kosteniuk put a lot of pressure on Zhao Xue, but attack and defense matched eachother and the game ended in a draw after 77 moves, when there was not enough material left to continue the fight. Muminova obtained her first victory so far at the expense of Khotenashvili and joins her on 1,5 points.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Round 9
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
5 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 0 - 1 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 12
6 GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 ½ - ½ WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 4
7 GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 0 - 1 GM Hou Yifan 2629 3
8 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 ½ - ½ GM Zhao Xue 2538 2
9 GM Danielian Elina 2460 1 - 0 GM Koneru Humpy 2613 1
10 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 1 - 0 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 11

image


Round 8


The high fighting spirit animating the 8th round was not reflected on the score table. All the games ended in draws with the exception of Stefanova-Muminova, won by the former Women World Champion.

For the first time in the tournament, Hou Yifan seemed to be under pressure when Harika made an original pawn sacrifice for the initiative.

There are no big shakes in the classification, Hou Yifan keeps her one and a half points advantage over her trailers, Ju Wenjun and Dzagnidze. So this may be a good moment to learn something about the players' secret dreams and aspirations, if they had not been chess players.

Dzagnidze and Danielian are confident they would have been sportives anyway, with an inclination for basketball for the former and tennis for the latter. The most exotic option belongs to Ju Wenjun, who would have chosen to be a cooking teacher!

The others tend to keep chess on the top position, Hou Yifan would have been happy to play chess with her idol, Bobby Fischer, while Kosteniuk and others would have been delighted to play with other great players from the past.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Round 8
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 1 - 0 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 10
11 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 ½ - ½ GM Danielian Elina 2460 9
1 GM Koneru Humpy 2613 ½ - ½ GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 8
2 GM Zhao Xue 2538 ½ - ½ GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 7
3 GM Hou Yifan 2629 ½ - ½ GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 6
4 WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 ½ - ½ GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 5

5

Round 7

The most awaited game of the day was also the last one to finish. Long after all the other games were over, Hou Yifan defeated her closest rival, Dzagnidze to increase her advantage to one and half points. It was interesting the gradual way the World Champion escaped from the compact group trailing her. For the last three rounds there were three players at only half point behind her, then two, one, none anymore.
Ju Wenjun fought back after her yesterday's loss to the leader by winning against Stefanova and caught up with Dzagnidze in a tie for 2nd-3rd.
Muzychuk, who drew against Koneru, dropped half a point away from the podium, but still has to play direct games with all the three players classified above her. The only other draw of the day was Harika - Zhao, which didn't affect the classification too much.
After breaking the spell with her first win of yesterday, Kosteniuk obtained a new victory, against Khotenashvili this time, and keeps chances for a positive result. Danielian also won (against Muminova) and steps onto +1.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Round 7
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
4 WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 1 - 0 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 12
5 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 0 - 1 GM Hou Yifan 2629 3
6 GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 ½ - ½ GM Zhao Xue 2538 2
7 GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 ½ - ½ GM Koneru Humpy 2613 1
8 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 1 - 0 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 11
9 GM Danielian Elina 2460 1 - 0 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 10



58

Round 6

The decisive game rate stays very high in the sixth round of the Lopota Grand Prix tournament: only one game ended in a draw! The black colour took revenge for the yesterday's humiliation with three wins and only two losses.

Hou Yifan keeps winning (against her colleague Ju Wenjun this time) but fails to increase her advantage over Nana Dzagnidze, who defeated Zhao Xue and trails by half a point. Since tomorrow they will face each other, I dare to say that football will have to wait!

Muzychuk continues to advance. Today, she defeated Khotenashvili and ties for third with Ju Wenjun.
Koneru recovered from the yesterday's shock with a win against Harika. Both Indian players are half a point away from the podium.
Danielian's relatively short draw against Stefanova is understandable after her marathon game from the previous round and both players tie for 7th-8th.
Playing with Black against Muminova, Kosteniuk obtained her first win in this tournament, which may mark a favourable turn in her tournament fate.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Round 6
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 ½ - ½ GM Danielian Elina 2460 9
10 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 0 - 1 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 8
11 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 0 - 1 GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 7
1 GM Koneru Humpy 2613 1 - 0 GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 6
2 GM Zhao Xue 2538 0 - 1 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 5
3 GM Hou Yifan 2629 1 - 0 WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 4


Nafisa

Round 5

With her new win against Stefanova, Hou Yifan retains her sole lead reiterating the breathtaking pace from Khanty Mansyisk. The situation at the top remains tense, though, as Dzagnidze and Ju Wenjun won against Koneru and Zhao Xue, respectively, and keep trailing the leader by just half a point. Muzychuk defeated Muminova and advances on the fifth position with 3/5, while Dronavalli-Khotenashvili was a correct draw, keeping the Indian half a point away from the podium and allowing the Georgian to escape the last place. Kosteniuk - Danielian reached the same result in a much more dramatic way and established a length record for the Grand Prix circuit with 133 moves! This was a dark day for the black pieces, who scored only two draws.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Round 5
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
3 GM Hou Yifan 2629 1 - 0 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 12
4 WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 1 - 0 GM Zhao Xue 2538 2
5 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 1 - 0 GM Koneru Humpy 2613 1
6 GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 ½ - ½ GM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 11
7 GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 1 - 0 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 10
8 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 ½ - ½ GM Danielian Elina 2460 9


33

Round 4

After four rounds and right before the first free day, Hou Yifan takes back the sole lead, with 3.5/4, half a point ahead of a compact group of players: Ju Wenjun, Harika Dronavalli and Nana Dzagnidze.

There was only one draw in a round when much has been decided by time troubles: the game between Ju Wenjun and Humpy Koneru. The Indian GM skilfullly eschewed getting herself into a stew and applied surgical measures when needed, to salvage the only half a point of today's round. No solidarity has been seen in the games between friends and fellow countrymen, as the outcomes in both the Chinese (Zhao Xue vs Hou Yifan) and Georgian (Bella Khotenashvili vs Nana Dzagnidze) head-to-head combats ended peremptorily.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Round 4
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 1 - 0 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 8
9 GM Danielian Elina 2460 1 - 0 GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 7
10 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 0 - 1 GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 6
11 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 0 - 1 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 5
1 GM Koneru Humpy 2613 ½ - ½ WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 4
2 GM Zhao Xue 2538 0 - 1 GM Hou Yifan 2629 3

Ju

Round 3

Ju Wenjun joins Hou Yifan in the lead, Dzagnidze and Muzychuk are catching up with the Indian players, while Khotenashvili and Kosteniuk hope for better in the upcoming rounds. There is always something going on and we, spectators, organizers and chess fans alike are the spoiled ones!

The central and, perhaps, the most awaited game, Hou Yifan - Koneru Humpy, ended in a draw after the Chinese missed a great winning chance at the critical moment. The first two draws from the previous days gave the Georgian player, Nana Dzagnidze, the necessary confidence to break the ice and she scored her first victory, reaching a big tie for the third place. For her compatriot though, Bella Khotenashvili, the start of the tournament is confronted with more obstacles. Although she defended until the last drop of energy, after yesterday's defeat against Hou Yifan, Bella lost to another Chinese player, Ju Wenjun, who now joins her colleague in the lead. As for Antoaneta Stefanova, she proved, or at least it looked very convincing, that she truly recovered from her health problems by winning an impressive game against Zhao Xue.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Round 3
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
2 GM Zhao Xue 2538 0 - 1 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 12
3 GM Hou Yifan 2629 ½ - ½ GM Koneru Humpy 2613 1
4 WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 1 - 0 IM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 11
5 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 1 - 0 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 10
6 GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 ½ - ½ GM Danielian Elina 2460 9
7 GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 1 - 0 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 8

image

Round 2

The vintage of history is forever repeating and today we witnessed Khanty Mansyisk reloaded - Hou Yifan is in sole lead with a perfect score: two out of two, just like on Siberian grounds, which hosted the 4th FIDE Women GP! And yet, the history of yesterday's black day for Black became brighter in the second round: two important victories for the defenders of this colour, one for Hou Yifan herself and the second for Harika Dronavalli, who proved that knights can be stronger than bishops, even in open-type positions!

All the other games were drawn, which makes it for an important and solid step forward, especially for Elina Danielian, Nafisa Muminova and Antoaneta Stefanova, who stood up after yesterday's defeats. Overall, the peaceful results came only after accurate, precise, logical and well fought play, so don't leave the page too quickly, the ladies have interesting moments in stock for you.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Round 2
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 ½ - ½ GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 7
8 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 0 - 1 GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 6
9 GM Danielian Elina 2460 ½ - ½ GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 5
10 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 ½ - ½ WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 4
11 IM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 0 - 1 GM Hou Yifan 2629 3
1 GM Koneru Humpy 2613 ½ - ½ GM Zhao Xue 2538 2


57

Round 1

A promising start of the tournament, with all the games ending only after the complete exhaustion of resources. White won three games and Black held a draw in the remaining three, a good percentage of decisive games and great fights for our eyes, too. Perhaps the players just started to warm up, as missed opportunities were hovering in the air, making the tournament, the game of chess and, on a larger scale, women chess – an exciting but also a hair-rising competition.

The two big rating favorites Hou Yifan and Humpy Koneru made their first steps ahead by defeating Muminova and Stefanova, respectively. The local heroes, Nana Dzagnidze and Bella Khotenashvili took home half points but, if Bella could be happy about it, Nana is probably not thinking the same. As Bella shared with us during the press conference, playing at home (this is the region she was born and lived) is not an easy affair, she feels the pressure of performing well on her grounds. The same was for Nana before, when she played in the European Individual women championship, in 2011. The experience she got there helps her now to leave this type of stress aside and play one game at a time.

Read full report at the Tournament website

Round 1
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
1 GM Koneru Humpy 2613 1 - 0 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2488 12
2 GM Zhao Xue 2538 ½ - ½ IM Khotenashvili Bela 2518 11
3 GM Hou Yifan 2629 1 - 0 WGM Muminova Nafisa 2332 10
4 WGM Ju Wenjun 2532 1 - 0 GM Danielian Elina 2460 9
5 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2541 ½ - ½ GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2532 8
6 GM Dronavalli Harika 2503 ½ - ½ GM Muzychuk Anna 2561 7
 
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