From The New York Times, Dylan Loeb McClain's chess blog:
December 14, 2010, 5:50 pm
Asian Players Fill Semifinal Slots at Women’s World Chess Championship
Three of the four semifinalists for the Women’s World Championship tournament are set. Humpy Koneru of India and Hou Yifan and Zhao Xue of China won their quarterfinal matches on Tuesday.
The other quarterfinal match between Dronavalli Harika of India and Ruan Lufei, another Chinese player, will be decided by tie-breaker games on Wednesday.
Koneru will play Hou in one semifinal, regardless of the outcome of the undecided match. That will be a reprise of their 2008 semifinal, which Hou won. It is an unfortunate pairing as Koneru is the highest-ranked player in the field and Hou is the second highest. If the tournament’s seedings had not been skewed to make Alexandra Kosteniuk, the defending champion, the No. 1 seed, then Koneru and Hou might have met in the final, which would have been an ideal match-up. Now the winner of their semifinal match will be a clear favorite as the winner of the other semifinal will be a much lower ranked opponent. [ More...]
[And this is exactly what I have been bitching about -- how knock-out events skew outcomes, so that the best players don't necessarily make it to the games they should be playing. Not a single Russian or Georgian player made it to the semi-finals, and yet they are among the best players in the world. There is something not right here. Was a fix in? Is this a resounding arivedecchi from Kirsan to the Russians, who kicked him out of the much more lucrative post of President of Kalmykia but fixed the election so he'd get the FIDE Presidency as a consolation prize? Heh heh heh. The final will be China v. India or if you want to be more politically correct about it, India v. China, the two rising future "super-powers." How fortuitous.]
Susan Polgar and SPICE In the News
Texas Tech, LISD look to add chess to UIL
December 14, 2010 Last Update: 9:12 am
Texas Tech and the Lubbock Independent School District are plotting to pilot a new statewide UIL competition.
The program was proposed by Texas Tech's Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, known as "SPICE." Now it's a UIL competition.
Next year , Lubbock elementary and middle school students will be given 30 minutes to solve 20 chess puzzles designed by Grandmaster Polgar.
Vice President for Institutional Diversity at Texas Tech, Juan Munoz, said, "It teaches critical thinking, planning, strategizing. It teaches patience, focus, mathematical computation. One has to estimate the number of moves to achieve a certain objective. So there are a number of academically transferable skills in chess."
Munoz says Chess has such wide appeal because anyone can play anywhere, adding that he hopes the UIL level competition will spark students' interest in Texas Tech.