Sunday, August 14, 2011

2011-2012 Women's Grand Prix: Rostov

Hmmmm, well, the only shocker in the final round was that Tatiana Kosintseva lost to Alisa Galliamova!  Not that Galliamova isn't a fine player, but - come on!  I would call that an upset for sure, but other than that, things shook out rather tamely.
Results from the last round:
6GMKosintseva Nadezhda2560½ - ½WGMRuan Lufei247912
7GMDanielian Elina2521½ - ½IMMuzychuk Anna25385
8IMKovalevskaya Ekaterina24271 - 0GMKosteniuk Alexandra24974
9GMKosintseva Tatiana25570 - 1IMGalliamova Alisa24923
10GMLahno Kateryna2536½ - ½GMKoneru Humpy26142
11GMHou Yifan2575½ - ½GMStefanova Antoaneta25241

Here are the final standings - a non-combative draw between Hou and Stefanova. Sigh. Lahno drawing with Koneru?  I get it - but it sucks.

111GMHou Yifan2575CHN*01½½11½1½11840.0002697
210GMLahno Kateryna2536UKR1*0½1½1110½½738.7502628
35IMMuzychuk Anna2538SLO01*½½½1½½1½½34.2502591
49GMKosintseva Tatiana2557RUS½½½*½½01½11½33.5002589
56GMKosintseva Nadezhda2560RUS½0½½*½½½½½11629.7502560
62GMKoneru Humpy2614IND0½½½½*½½½10128.2502519
73IMGalliamova Alisa2492RUS0001½½*1011½26.7502530
81GMStefanova Antoaneta2524BUL½0½0½½0*1½1½525.2502491
97GMDanielian Elina2521ARM00½½½½10*011524.2502491
1012WGMRuan Lufei2479CHN½100½00½1*½½24.7502466
118IMKovalevskaya Ekaterina2427RUS0½½001000½*117.5002403
124GMKosteniuk Alexandra2497RUS0½½½00½½0½0*317.5002354

Twelfth Women's World Chess Champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk was definitely off form the entire tournament. Pressing too much? She had five losses, no wins.  She hasn't lacked for tough competition, having played in several events against much higher rated male players and doing just fine. So, I don't think it's a case of the "yips" like Koneru Humpy seems to be suffering from for the past nine months or so. Some time off and rest may be what the doctor orders. She's been active since the first of the year.  I know she's a better player than her results showed in this event.

I'm very pleased for GM K. Lahno.  Definitely someone to watch.  I think she's got what it takes to become a world champion.

Is Hou unstoppable at this point?  Will she repeat as Women's World Chess Champion later in the year?  I'm sure she's holding back plenty in her arsenal. 

What to make of Koneru Humpy?  I am not even at the patzer level when it comes to playing chess and therefore, I cannot say what's going on with her games.  I play at such a different (low) level that what these players do is like me trying to decipher the Russian alphabet - impossible!  But there are plenty of people out there who can follow her play.  I would like to see some analysis of her games in this event.  Where did she go wrong?  Was she, as I suspect, playing not to lose, which is a sure-fire way to lose every time? 

The next Women's Grand Prix event is 6-20 September 2011, Shenzhen CHINA.  We will once see GM Hou Yifan in action, along with Anna Muzychuk, Ju Wenjun, Elina Danielian, Viktorija Cmilyte, Alisa Galliamova, Zhu Chen, Luan Rufei, Zhao Xue, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, Munguntuul Batkhuyag, and Betul Cemre Yildiz.  [Players in bold played in 2011-2012 Women's Grand Prix Rostov]. 

As the old proverb proves, the race doesn't always go to the fastest out of the gate; slow and steady wins the race!  Who will be the 2011-2012 Women's Grand Prix Champion???

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