Friday, December 24, 2010

And the New Women's World Chess Champion Is...

GM Hou Yifan of China.  From The Week in Chess:

Women's World Chess Championships 2010 (Final)

The Women's World Chess Championships 2010 took place in Hatay, Turkey 2nd-24th December 2010. Losing finalist from 2008 Hou Yifan beat fellow countrywoman Ruan Lufei 3-1 in a rapid play-off in the final of this knockout tournament to take the title. The final itself was an error strewn nervy affair, Hou had already failed to hold a level position in game four of the normal time-rate games to win the match. Hou had by far the better of it in all the rapid playoff games too but she still had to play all 4 and hold herself together to take the title. She succeeds Alexandra Kosteniuk who was defeated in Round 3 and beat top seed Humpy Koneru in the semi-final and becomes the youngest women's champion at the age of 16. She vastly out-rated 23 year-old Ruan Lufei and the expectation of victory probably led to her nervy play, but in the end she showed herself to be clearly the better of the two. The play-off on 24th December saw four rapid games (25 minutes + 5 seconds per move). At least we were spared blitz (a pair of 5m + 10spm blitz games followed by (if needed) a final 5 minute to 4 minute sudden death game with 3 seconds per move after move 60 with black receiving draw odds.)

Additional coverage from The Week in Chess.

Susan Polgar's chess blog has been following the action since Day 1 - here are just a few of the most recent posts (she presented comprehensive coverage each day):

December 24, 2010 The New Chess Queen!
December 24, 2010 One Game Left for the Title and She Did It!
December 24, 2010 The Final Countdown

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's blog, some recent posts:

December 24, 2010 Congratulations to Hou Yifan for winning Women's World Chess Championship 2010
December 24, 2010 Women's World Chess Championship 2010 final - 4-game Match drawn, Hou, Lufei in playoff on Friday

Official website.

More current coverage at:


In the coming days there will probably be many news articles and features on the Championship and Hou Yifan.  She is not the first Chinese champion but she is the youngest to win this title, which is still important in the eyes of millions of chess fans (female and male), despite FIDE's best efforts to degrade it over the years.  May Hou Yifan wear it proudly and do it justice.  She has a great tradition and the examples of many fine female champions to follow. 

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