Thursday, March 19, 2009

Koneru Wins!

WOW! Way to go, Humpy, yeah! From the official website: In the last round of İstanbul Women Grand Prix, Humpy Koneru won against Marie Sebag while Hou Yifan faltered against Shen Yang. Elina Danielian scored an important victory and outplayed Xue Zhao to take the second spot. Martha Fierro won against Maia Chiburdanidze while Pia Cramling closed the tournament with a win against Antoaneta Stefanova. Zeinab Mamedyarova and Betül Cemre Yıldız drew. The leader changed for the third time and Humpy Koneru won İş Bank Atatürk FIDE Women Grand Prix with 8.5 out of 11. Elina Danielian took the second place with better tie-break having 8 points while Hou Yifan took the third place. Here are the final standings: Rank SNo. Name Rtg FED Pts Res. SB. Koya 1 12 GM KONERU Humpy 2621 IND 8½ 0 43,50 4½ 2 7 IM DANIELIAN Elina 2496 ARM 8 ½ 40,25 4 3 4 GM HOU Yifan 2571 CHN 8 ½ 39,75 4 4 5 GM ZHAO Xue 2508 CHN 7½ 0 35,25 3½ 5 6 GM SEBAG Marie 2529 FRA 6 0 28,00 3 6 3 IM FIERRO Baquero Martha L. 2403 ECU 5½ 1 20,00 1 7 1 GM CRAMLING Pia 2548 SWE 5½ 0 22,75 1 8 11 GM STEFANOVA Antoaneta 2557 BUL 5 ½ 20,75 2 9 9 GM CHIBURDANIDZE Maia 2516 GEO 5 ½ 20,25 1½ 10 10 WGM MAMEDJAROVA Zeinab 2362 AZE 2½ 1 10,25 1 11 8 WGM SHEN Yang 2448 CHN 2½ 0 17,75 2 12 2 WIM YILDIZ Betul Cemre 2214 TUR 2 0 8,00 ½ See also the spare but insightful comments by GM Susan Polgar at her blog. Some interesting stories here - among them the failure of Stefanova, Cramling and Chiburdanidze. What happened? Stefanova can usually be counted upon to be among the front runners, but she lagged behind in this event from the start and never got any better. I can say pretty much the same for Pia Cramling, who earned her GM stripes around the same time that GM Susan Polgar earned hers! And what happened to Marie Sebag, who won her GM title playing in the 2008 European Individual Chess Championship ("Open")? She was lackluster in this event. Who lit that fire under Elina Danielian? GOOD to see her charging ahead in this tournament, wow. I've been covering women's chess for eight years and have seen her in tournament after tournament - sometimes the only woman playing. Always steady, usually out of the lime-light. Not this time! I'd be tempted to say this tournament represents the passing of the "old guard" (relatively speaking), but Danielian gives the lie to that theory! She has been playing very good chess but has been mostly under the radar. I consider Marie Sebag one of the "new guard" but she just didn't have it at this event. Who will be the top female player once Judit Polgar retires? The battle seems to be between Koneru Humpy and Hou Yifan - maybe. Who knows what new female chess star will jump to the fore in the next couple of years?

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