Humpy bows out, Yifan crowned world chess champ

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Koneru Humpy
Tirana, Albania, Nov 25: Grandmaster Koneru Humpy settled for a draw in the must-win eighth-round game as defending champion Yifan Hou became the women's world champion by triumphing 5.5-2.5 against the Indian here.

Under tremendous pressure and admittedly out of form, Humpy could not use her white pieces well in the eighth game which was another Queen's gambit declined.

The Indian had spoilt many good positions during the course of the match in the Euros 200,000 championship.

Yifan, with three victories and five draws, emerged as the worthy winner of the crown with her fantastic over-the-board resilience and won the title for the first time in a match. It may be recalled that the 17-year-old Chinese had won the last championship in a knockout format and now this victory against a higher-rated Humpy confirms her status as the best woman player on the planet.

However, all these considerations are given the fact that highest ranked woman for a long time - Judith Polgar of Hungary - does not play in women's tournaments or championships and is a fierce competitor among men.

While Hou preparation was good and throughout the match she got better positions, Humpy probably underestimated the sharp playing strength of her rival which cost her match.

After being pushed to the wall, Yifan always fought her way back giving strength to the chess adage: preparation is not everything.

The eighth game saw Humpy again gaining a miniscule advantage but Yifan neutralised it in quick time with exchanges at regular intervals.

It was not too long before the players reached a rooks and pawns endgame wherein Humpy knew her chances of a comeback had evaporated. The game was drawn in a mere 29 moves.

The prize-distribution ceremony will be held on schedule on November 30 which gives the players to have a closer look at Tirana and Albania. Humpy's world title aspirations will have to wait for some time now.

PTI

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