Sunday, May 15, 2011

GM Hou Yifan - Seriously Preparing for Women's World Championship Match

I read earlier this morning at Susan Polgar's chess blog that GM Hou Yifan, who won the Women's World Chess Champion title in December, 2010, is playing in yet another high-powered tournament, this one in China, an invitational with some of the top Chinese male players.  Good for her! The event is the 2nd Danzhou GM Chess Tournament.  Here are the players:

Wang Hao 2732
Wang Yue 2714
Ding Liren 2664
Bu Xiangzhi 2662
Ni Hua 2661
Li Chao b 2656
Yu Yangyi 2646
Zhou Jianchao 2636
Hou Yifan 2612
Zhou Weiqi 2610
Average elo: 2659 (this will be a strong event)

Play started May 14th.  I'll keep my eye on how Hou does. 

GM Humpy Koneru of India will be challenging Hou in a match later this year for the Women's World Champion title (assuming sponsorship is found - always a question with FIDE -- the playing venue is supposed to be announced by FIDE on May 31, 2011, and darlings, I'm not holding my breath that such an announcement will be made unless it's to say that the bidding process has been extended - indefinitely...).  Since the Women's Championship knock-out event in December, 2010, Hou has pushed her ELO to 2612, the highest it's ever been.  Meanwhile, I haven't read much about what Humpy's doing.  Is she holed up with a trainer somewhere?

And, if she is, which approach is better - Humpy's - or Hou's?  Supposedly the championship match will begin sometime in November and continue into December, and take 20 days (including days off).

The 2nd Danzhou will give Hou a workout for sure!  She did okay in the recently concluded Asian Individual Chess Championship (Open) in a field full of men (she was the only chess femme), scoring 50% - 4.5/9 - but her performance rating was sub-par, nearly 200 points below her ELO (in other words, not so good).  But - gaining invaluable experience mixing it up with top notch male players, staying out of the women's "chess ghetto."  It seems obvious now that the Chinese chess establishment's - and Hou's - strategy for getting ready for her championship match is to train in the school of hard knocks, and the 2nd Danzhou's line-up of players is much tougher, ELO-wise, than the players Hou faced in the 2011 Asian Individual Chess Championship! 

The Asian Championship followed on the heels of the 2011 Chinese Individual Chess Championship (Open) in which Hou once again was the only female in a field of strong male players (March, 2011):

Final Ranking after 11 Rounds

Rk. Name FED Rtg Club/City Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 GM Ding Liren CHN 2637 浙江 9.0 0.0 44.25 7
2 GM Ni Hua CHN 2646 上海 7.0 1.5 35.25 6
3 GM Zhou Jianchao CHN 2660 上海 7.0 1.0 34.25 4
4 GM Zhao Jun CHN 2580 山东 7.0 0.5 32.75 5
5 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2602 山东 6.0 0.0 31.00 2
6 GM Yu Yangyi CHN 2652 北京 5.5 1.0 25.25 3
7 GM Wang Yue CHN 2734 天津 5.5 0.0 26.25 3
8 GM Li Chao b CHN 2646 北京 5.0 0.5 26.00 3
9 GM Bu Xangzhi CHN 2677 山东 5.0 0.5 21.75 3
10 Xiu Deshun CHN 2508 北京 4.5 0.0 20.75 2
11 GM Li Shilong CHN 2520 广东 3.5 0.0 15.25 3
12 M Zhang Ziyang CHN 2442 重庆 1.0 0.0 5.25 0

Hou also played in the 1st Chinese Female Professional Chess Tournament (an event designed specifically to test her???) and while she did win the event with an impressive score of  9.0/11 - she clearly outrated her opponents by more than 200 ELO points.  It was to be expected that she would win - and she did.  But she also had embarrasing loss to WGM Ding Yixin (2376) and lost nearly 8 ELO points for that one game alone!  Not cool.  Beware the women's chess ghetto.  Female players are formidable but they often lack confidence when going up against male players - the whole male/female psychology thing, etc. etc.  The only way to overcome that baloney is to play a ship-load's worth of games against male opponents, win/lose/draw, and take the lumps and bumps that come with such play.

Will we be seeing more of Ding Yixin in the future, I wonder?  If she's good enough to beat the best female player that China has offered up for public consumption, perhaps the Chinese authorities are considering it...

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...