|Koneru v. Hou, R5 G2. From official website.|
Here is a summary from the official website:
The first finalist was determined today after the second game in semifinal matches. Hou Yifan, playing black, drew the second game against Humpy Koneru and promoted to the final. A Chinese player sacrificed 2 pawns but received a good compensation. In order to protect her king Humpy Koneru had to give the extra material back. The Indian player had already lost her match to Chinese prodigy two years ago during the World Championship in Nalchik. At that time she also lost the first game of the semifinal match but succeeded to equalize the score and, unlike today, the match was decided only on tie-break. Zhao Xue and Ruan Lufei drew the second game today and decided to try their luck in tie-breaks tomorrow.
The official site has an interview with IM Harika Dronavalli, who was eliminated in the last round by one of the Chinese players. As always, she was very gracious.
I feel absolutely awful for Koneru Humpy. She is, I believe, the better chess player. But, let's face it, India doesn't exactly drown their star chessplayers in funds for training and seconds. It's well known that the All India Chess Federation (which is being challenged by an "upstart" chess federation with some success, evidently) wants to direct Koneru's chess career, while Koneru wants to direct her own chess career. This has led to clashes and a loss of crucial support as "punishment" for Koneru being an uppity woman.
On the bright side, perhaps now Hou Yifan will be able to afford to go to a decent hairdresser and get something - anything - done with that awful hairstyle she's been wearing since she game out of the womb. Some new clothes would not be amiss either, with some much-needed advice from a stylist as to age-appropriate cool fashions for a 16 year old who is Women's World Chess Championship. I will pray to the Goddess for this to happen, please!. Perhaps Yifan could consult with the stylish Skripchenko and Cmilyte, or the more avant-garde Paetz. But perhaps "Mother Hou" has a reason for wanting to keep Yifan looking like an overgrown 7-year old. Aww shucks, now I'm being mean.
Koneru and Hou will perhaps face off against each other again at the 2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, scheduled for January 24 - February 3, 2011. They are both on the accepted list of the top female players in the world. BOTH Kosintseva sisters will be playing in Gibraltar, too. In fact, the female line-up for that event is the most impressive - ever! Wow. That's going to be some event. It merits its own post.
Early coverage after Koneru's exit from the WWCC from around the net:
Susan Polgar - Despite Koneru's "valiant effort" there will be a new Chinese "Chess Queen"
And on yesterday's Koneru loss:
The Hindu: Humpy Loses First Game
The Times of India: Humpy Slips with Black