- I think Hou is far too young to win this title, I don't care how "good at chess" she is; she's not ready to handle it.
- I don't think that Kosteniuk deserves to win this year, having sat out too many events and not performing all that well in the ones she played in! It seems she did some kind of MONDO prep and training for this event, which is all fine and good. But does being the champion only mean that you train like hell for six weeks before the event and sluff off before and after? I think being a champion requires more commitment than Kosteniuk is willing to give.
- I have followed Koneru's career since 1999, nearly 10 years! For the first several years of my advent onto the internet and into chess and the women who play the game at this level, Pia Cramling was absent. I did not see her name start to crop up in chess tournaments again until 2004 and then, it was very sporadic. It's only since 2006 that she's really started playing again (more events each year), the way she used to do in the "old days" - before marriage and children. I'm really torn as to whom I'm rooting for at this point (since my American players have been eliminated). On the one hand, I really want Koneru to win; on the other hand, I think it would be absolutely fabulous for Cramling to win the title so many years after earning her GM title and showing that yes, a 45 year old mom CAN do this.
- By expressing these thoughts I don't mean to take anything away from Hou and Kosteniuk as chessplayers; I'm trying to balance competing emotions and preferences honed over the course of many more years than any of the final four can boast, so I'm leaning toward the player who have shown the most commitment to the process (Koneru) and the player who has the most overall experience (Cramling).
What will happen tomorrow? I've no idea, darlings! Stay tuned!