FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Monte-Carlo: Yifan Hou takes the trophy Print
Friday, 16 October 2015 07:39


FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Monte-Carlo: Yifan Hou takes the trophy

The winner of the first leg WGP, Yifan Hou (China), 9 out of 11, performance 2766

The last round was not as peaceful as one would expect. Number one of the World ranking Yifan Hou secured tournament’s victory already after round 10, as she had a 1,5 point advantage over second-placed Humpy Koneru, so she was ready for an open battle in the last round, trying to take advantage of the White pieces. But her opponent, Alexandra Kosteniuk, played a very good game with Black and got chances even for victory, but after five hours the game finished with a draw. Anna Muzychuk won her first game in the tournament against Humpy Koneru, and thanks to this result her sister Mariya Muzychuk, who drew with Almira Skripchenko, managed to reach Koneru and take second place. Natalija Pogonina and Pia Cramling made a draw and shared the 4th and 5th places. In the other boards, Antoaneta Stefanova and Natalia Zhukova played an interesting game, which ended in a threefold repetition, while Nana Dzagnidze won her fourth game in a raw, against Sarasadat Khademalsharieh.

Second place, Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine), 7 out of 11, performance 2619

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Third place, Humpy Koneru (India), 7 out of 9, performance 2614

Yifan Hou with a performance 2766 earned 10,000 EUR prize money, 160 Grand Prix points and 11 elo points. Mariya Muzychuk and Koneru Humpy shared second place, but tie-break was better for World champion, Mariya is second and Humpy is third.

Final ranking

1 Hou Yifan 9
2 Muzychuk Mariya 7
3 Koneru Humpy 7
4 Cramling Pia 6
5 Pogonina Natalija 6
6 Stefanova Antoaneta 5½
7 Kosteniuk Alexandra 5½
8 Dzagnidze Nana 5
9 Skripchenko Almira 4½
10 Zhukova Natalia 4½
11 Muzychuk Anna 4½
12 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 1½

Results and crosstable are online, visit also the photo gallery. Press conferences will be available in the video gallery


Hou Yifan wins GP Monaco with round to spare

Mrs. Agnes Puons, General Secretary of Société des bains de mer, making the first move in the game Anna Muzychuk-Yifan Hou (Photo: Europe Echecs)

The very expected game between Mariya Muzychuk and Yifan Hou was the first to finish, with an easy victory of the Chinese GM in 29 moves. This result serves Hou to guarantee first place one round before the end. Koneru was trying to overplay Cramling, but finally she got only a draw. Dzagnidze and Stefanova won their games with the Black pieces against Anna Muzychuk and Khademalsharieh respectively. The Iranian lost her seventh game in a row, a tough test, after her promising start with three draws. In the other games Zhukova and Skripchenko made a fair draw in an equal game, and also draw was the game between Kosteniuk and Pogonina, after the evaluation of position was changing a lot during the game.

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Standings after round 10

1 Hou Yifan 8½
2 Koneru Humpy 7
3 Muzychuk Mariya 6½
4 Cramling Pia 5½
5 Pogonina Natalija 5½
6 Stefanova Antoaneta 5
7 Kosteniuk Alexandra 5
8 Dzagnidze Nana 4
9 Zhukova Natalia 4
10 Skripchenko Almira 4
11 Muzychuk Anna 3½
12 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 1½


Hou Yifan maintains full point lead after round 9

His Excellency Michel Roger making first move in the game Pogonina-Muzychuk, M

Following the successful reception the day before, His Excellency Michel Roger, the Minister of State of Monaco visited the famous Touze tournament hall at the Casino and together with FIDE President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, he made the first move in the game between WGM Natalija Pogonina and Women World Champion Mariya Muzychuk.

The game was also witnessed by the President of the International Judo Federation, Mr. Marius Vizer who spared some time from his engagements to also visit the playing venue. Also present was ECU President Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

Mr. Jean-Michel Rapaire, President of Monaco Chess Federation;
Mrs. Agnes Puons, General Secretary of Société des bains de mer;
His Excellency Mr. Michel Roger, the Minister of State of Monaco;
Mr. Marius Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation;
Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of FIDE; Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili, ECU President

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Standings after round 9

1 Hou Yifan 7½
2 Muzychuk Mariya 6½
3 Koneru Humpy 6½
4 Pogonina Natalija 5
5 Cramling Pia 5
6 Kosteniuk Alexandra 4½
7 Stefanova Antoaneta 4
8 Skripchenko Almira 3½
9 Zhukova Natalia 3½
10 Muzychuk Anna 3½
11 Dzagnidze Nana 3
12 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 1½


Official Reception in the Ministry of State

The reception was held in the Ministry of State, hosted by His Excellency Mr. Michel Roger, Minister of State of Monaco. Present at the reception were His Excellency Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, Mr. Boris Ivanov, Managing Director of GPB Global Resources B.V., Mr. Andrey Filatov, President of Russian Chess Federation, Mr. Jean Michel Rapaire, President of Monaco Chess Federation and Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili, President of European Chess Union among other dignitaries.

His Excellency Mr. Michel Roger, Minister of State of Monaco, Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, with Women's World Champion Mariya Muzychuk and three former Women's World Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk, Hou Yifan and Antoaneta Stefanova

The Minister of State Mr. Roger welcomed the participants and thanked for their participation. Mr. Ilyumzhinov returned the thanks to Minister of State for the kind hospitality, and they exchanged their gifts. Mr. Jean Michel Rapaire also presented a special gift to Mr. Andrey Filatov: a big memoir from the 1974 of Olympiad in Nice.

Mr. Jean Michel Rapaire presenting a special gift to Mr. Andrey Filatov

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FIDE Golden Book (left) and Kalmyk chess set (right), presents to His Excellency Mr. Michel Roger, Minister of State of Monaco

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More photos in the Photo Gallery


The round eight was very important for the leaders: two of them played each other, Mariya Muzychuk versus Koneru. From the very first move Mariya took the initiative, Koneru blundered in the endgame and lost. Kosteniuk-Cramling and Zhukova-Pogonina finished in a draw by threefold repetition. Khademalsharieh and Hou played a very long game, and the more experienced Chinese won in a very complicated fight. Dzagnidze played in her usual aggressive style and won her first game after Almira made two mistakes in a raw. The battle between Anna Muzychuk and Stefanova finished in a long draw, being the last game of this round.

Official website




Round 8 photo gallery

Round 8


The tournament entered today into the second half, and some ladies probably start to be a bit tired. In round seven, no less than three games finished with draw by repetition, but in a very different way. Nobody wanted to take a risk in the game Cramling vs. Mariya Muzychuk and it was a fast draw in only 13 moves. The game between Skripchenko and Stefanova was a bit longer, but still quiet equal and the final draw looked like a very logical result. Kosteniuk and Anna Muzychuk were the last to finish their game, also by three time repetition, but in a beautiful fight without compromise. Pogonina was very inspired and won her second game in a raw, this time versus Sarasadat Khademalsharieh. And the favorites, Yifan Hou and Humpy Koneru, won again, against Dzagnidze and Zhukova respectively, and now both are leading with 5,5 out of 7.

Official website



Round 6

Yifan Hou, Humpy Koneru and Mariya Muzychuk share first place after six rounds at the Women’s Grand Prix in Monaco. The number one and two of the tournament – and of the World - won their games against Stefanova and Khademalsharieh, respectively. Humpy won very fast, while Yifan had to fight for the victory in a very long game. Mariya Muzychuk escaped with a draw against Kosteniuk, after being pawn dawn for most of the game. Zhukova and Skripchenko won their first game in the tournament, against Cramling and Anna Muzychuk. Finally, Pogonina won with Black pieces against Dzagnidze, who for the moment can’t find her best play.

Read more at the official website

Live Games

Photo Gallery




Round 5


In round five Mariya made a fast draw with her sister Anna, allowing her persecutors to get closer, at only half point distance. Hou Yifan won a very difficult endgame versus Almira Skripchenko, and with 3,5 points is sharing 2nd place. With the same points we find Humpy Koneru, who beat Dzagnidze quite fast, and Pia Cramling, who got the best from her experience to defeat Sarasadat Khademalsharieh in a very didactical endgame. Kosteniuk and Zhukova played a very sharp game which finished in a fair draw after the time control. The last game to finish was played between Pogonina and Stefanova, a battle which went as far as move 113, the longest in the tournament so far. The Bulgarian won a very dramatic endgame after several mistakes from both sides.

Read more at the Official website


Photo Gallery of Round 5



Live Games

Round 4


The fourth round left the youngest Muzychuk sister as the sole leader, with a clear point advantage, after Mariya was able to defeat Natalia Zhukova in an interesting game which served to prove again one of the main strong points of the current World Champion: she makes few mistakes. Mariya, like Magnus Carlsen, knows how to keep the tension, control her nerves and play long games, and today she used her abilities to collect the full point after her opponent blundered in a difficult endgame. Her sister Anna helped, holding Yifan to a draw, while Koneru was defeated by an inspired Stefanova. In the other games, Kosteniuk beat Khademalsharieh, while Pia Cramling managed to save half point after a stubborn defense against Nana Dzagnidze. Those results leave the Swedish and the Russian sharing second place with Yifan Hou and Humpy Koneru. The game Skripchenko-Pogonina was a quick draw.

Read more at the official website

Live Games


Photo Gallery



Round 3


The third round was again a very fought one. Only two games ended in a draw, while the other four had a decision. The leader, Mariya Muzychuk, played with ambition but never had real chances to defeat Sarasadat Khademalsharieh. The young Iranian keeps playing solid chess and despite being the underdog remains undefeated. The same result exactly has got so far the European champion Natalia Zhukova, who drew with elder Muzychuk sister, in a quiet game. The other four boards presented the public with some attractive chess. Koneru was the first to win, in a fine game against Skripchenko. With this result Humpy ties for first with Mariya, with 2,5 out of 3. Trailing half point behind we find two very strong players: Yifan Hou and Pia Cramling. Both won today, but in a very different way. The Swedish played a good game, taking advantage of Stefanova’s ultra-risky opening strategy. The Chinese, with black against Pogonina, took a lot of risk, playing for a long time with the King on the centre. The other Russian player in the tournament, Kosteniuk, had more luck, defeating Dzagnidze in a very tactical game.

Read more at the official website

Live Games


Photo Gallery



Round 2


Mariya Muzychuk is a sole leader after round two. Please go to the official website to read more information on the tournament.

Live Games




Round 1

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The first round of the Grand Prix tournament in Monaco got under way on the 3rd of October 2015, after the Director of Casinos of Montecarlo, Mr. John Galvani, made the honorary move 1.e4 in the game between current World Champion Mariya Muzychuk and former World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Jean Michel Rapaire, President of Monaco chess federation were also watching the games of Round 1.

Please read more info at the official website

Live Games


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John Galvani makes the first move with the advice of FIDE President Kirsan Ilumzhinov

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Photo Gallery of Round 1


The opening ceremony of the first leg of the Women's Grand Prix 2015-2016 took place at the Casino of Montecarlo, in one of the most luxurious private rooms of this centenary institution, next to the playing hall. The event was attended by such honorable guests as Mr. Jacques Boisson, Secretary of State of Prince Albert II of Monaco, the president of FIDE Kirsan Ilumzhinov, the president of Monaco chess federation, Jean Michel Rapaire, and Mr. Andrey Filatov, President of Russian chess federation, amongst other important personalities of Monaco and the chess world.

His Excellency Jacques Boisson welcomed the participants and spoke about the beauty of Monaco and the chess tradition of Montecarlo. He wished good luck to the players and promised further support to chess.

Jean Michel Rapaire went into detail of the rich chess tradition in Montecarlo, and thanked FIDE for bringing this fantastic tournament to Monaco: “The dream came true”, he said. He also expressed his gratitude to Mrs. Van Osteroom, present at the ceremony, for her continued support to chess in Monaco and for donating the beauty prize to the best game.

Afterwards, FIDE President Kirsan Ilumzhinov welcomed the participants and thanked local authorities, particularly to His Royal Highness Prince Albert II for his support to the event. Ilumzhinov remarked as well that this event will be the strongest female tournament in chess history, and finally declared the event oficially started with the FIDE lema: "Gens una sumus".

After listening the anthems of Monaco and FIDE, it came the drawing of lots to set up the pairings, where each girl had to open a box, within which a medal with the number was to be found.

A cocktail followed for all attendees, with a nice and friendly atmosphere. Later, the technical meeting took place in the playing hall. The main referee Anastasia Sorokina explained the most important tournament rules, for example, it will not be allowed to offer a draw before move 30. She also mentioned important developments in anti-cheating rules, like the one recently adopted at the World Cup in Baku, by which the players are not allowed to come to the game wearing their own watch or using their own pen, in order to prevent any help from outside.

After a long day, everything is ready to enjoy the games of the strongest tournament ever in female chess history.

Official website



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