Hou Yifan wins Women’s Masters!

Hou Yifan
Women’s Grandmaster Hou Yifan of China
Photo by Frederic Friedel.

Chalk up another Chinese victory! Fourteen-year old Hou Yifan bested the strong field at the Atatürk International Women Masters Chess Tournament sponsored by Türkiye ?? Bankasi. Hou scored an undefeated 7-1 and clinched a tie for first with a round to spare. Over the past year, she has clearly rounded into Grandmaster form and it is a matter of time until she earns the full “GM” title. Both Pia Cramling (who’s been a GM forever) and Zhu Chen were the two Grandmasters in the field. Hou’s was joined by teammate WGM Zhao Xue and a slew of IMs including 17-year old Harika Dronavali of rising India.

Ali Nihat Yazici, President of Turkish Chess Federation

The tournament was a novel idea and is a welcome addition to the variety of theme tournaments held… often dominated by a handful of top players. Turkey’s Chess Federation President Ali Nihat Yazici (right) organized the tournament and stated in the regulations that, “The tournament will be organised every year traditionally, and only top 20 women by a logical invitation will be accepted in Türkiye ?? Bankasi – Atatürk International Women Masters Chess Tournament.” Perhaps we will never see any of the Polgars play in the tournament, but this appears to be the makings of a great tradition.

There are often questions about women chess players and many point to GM Judit Polgar as the standard bearer, but Nihat’s plan to aggressively improve conditions for women’s chess is a noble one. The former running mate of Bessel Kok had other pronouncements such as the largest federation in Europe (?) and one million members. There is also the notion that Turkish women’s team will vie for Olympiad gold in 2012. Quite ambitious membership plans, however a gold in 2012 (four years from now) is a bit unrealistic unless China, India, Russia and the Ukraine stop producing female talent. God willing, I plan to be at the 2012 Olympiad in the beautiful country of Turkey and will see how far the prediction gets. Nevertheless, Yazici has created incredible momentum and has proven to be an adept organizer. All the best!

Hou Yifan with her trophy!
China’s Hou Yifan accepts her trophy!
Photo from Chessvibes.

Official Site

One Comment

  1. Interesting ending!

    Zhao Xue (CHN) – Atalik Ekaterina (TUR)
    Isbank Ataturk International Women Maste Istanbul (9), 20.03.2008

    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 b6 7.Bg5 Ba6 8.Qf3 Nc6 9.e3 Na5 10.Rc1 c5 11.e4 h6 12.h4 hxg5 13.hxg5 Re8 14.Qh3 Kf8 15.gxf6 Qxf6 16.b4 Qg5 17.Kd1 Nc6 18.b5 Bxb5 19.cxb5 Nxd4 20.Nf3 Nxf3 21.Qxf3 Qe5 22.Qe3 Ke7 23.f4 Qb2 24.Qc3 Qf2 25.Qd2 Qxd2+ 26.Kxd2 Rh8 27.Be2 d5 28.Rxh8 Rxh8 29.exd5 exd5 30.Bf3 Kd6 31.Re1 Rh4 32.Re5 d4 33.Rd5+ Ke7 34.Re5+ Kd6 35.Re8 Rxf4 36.Rd8+ Ke5 37.Rd7 g5 38.Rxa7 g4 39.Be2 Rf2 40.Ke1 Rxg2 41.Rxf7 Rg3 42.Rg7 Rxa3 43.Rg5+ Kf6 44.Rxg4 Ra1+ 45.Kf2 Ra2 46.Kf3 Ra3+ 47.Kf4 d3 48.Bd1 Ra1 49.Rg1 Rb1 50.Ke3 Rxb5 51.Kxd3 Rb4 52.Kc3 Ke5 53.Rg6 Kf4 54.Bc2 Ke5 55.Bb3 Kf4 56.Re6 Kf5 57.Re8 Kf6 58.Bc2 Kf7 59.Re1 Kf6 60.Kd2 Rd4+ 61.Kc3 Rb4 62.Bd3 Kf7 63.Kd2 Rb2+ 64.Ke3 Ke6 65.Rh1 Kd5 66.Rh5+ Kd6 67.Be4 Rb3+ 68.Kf4 c4 69.Rd5+ Ke6 70.Rd1 b5 71.Bf5+ Kf6 72.Rd6+ Ke7 73.Rc6 Rb2 74.Ke5 Re2+ 75.Be4 Rh2 76.Rc7+ Kd8 77.Rc5 b4 78.Bf5 c3 79.Kf6 Rh6+ 80.Kf7 1-0 (see game)

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