WWC2011-6: Hou wins to widen gap

Hou Yifan was somber in victory. Her health scare was soothed by a nice win.

Last night things were not looking well for Hou Yifan. According to ChessBase, she fell ill and was rushed to emergency for severe stomach pains. After tests were conducted, doctors attributed her condition to stress from the match. The defending World Champion decided against taking any prescription pain killers. She probably wanted to assure that such medicaments did not affect her play.

Humpy was no doubt stunned at the news, but Hou showed up ready to play. The game started well for Humpy as she was able to get a comfortable position from the opening. After 9.Qc2 (played in Ponomariov-Kramnik, Wijk aan Zee 2011), Humpy uncorked a novelty with 11.dxe5!? Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.f4 Bxc3 14.Bxc3 and ended up with a slight plus in space. She then sacrificed a pawn after 15.0-0 Qxe3+ in order to increase the positional pressure.

Hou Yifan deals the crushing blow in 37…Ng3+ 38.hxg3 Rh5+ and white resigned in lieu of 39.Kg1 Rxg2+ 40.Kf1 Rh1#.

Later in the middlegame, Humpy dithered a bit by moving her bishop to f7-c4-f7-a2-f7-a2. Hou slowly consolidated and thereafter, time pressure would creep in once again. The World Champion then seized the initiative with active pieces and her rooks were battering white’s position.

Humpy’s 33.Rg1 seemed listless as her play turned passive… so the Chinese Dragon would strike! After the pressure mounted, Humpy blundered with 36.Bc3 Ne4! 37.Rge1 and allowed a pretty minor piece mate in four after 37…Nxg3+!

Humpy is now down 4-2 with only four games left to play. This is not insurmountable, but her chances are dire. The Indian is not at her best when forced to play for complications. Perhaps we will see a Sicilian Najdorf on tomorrow, but Hou (and Chinese in general) are very well-prepared in these lines. However, the Indian will have to find something a bit more provocative.

Arshak Koneru sulks after daughter's loss. Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich for FIDE.

Arshak Koneru sulks at press conference after daughter’s loss.
Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich for FIDE.

2011 Women’s World Chess Championship
November 14th-27th, 2011 (Triana, Albania)

Drum Coverage
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