Humpy out of world championship

Grandmaster Koneru Humpy bowed out of the World Women Chess Championship succumbing to 14-year old Yifan Hao of China in the blitz tiebreak.

updated: September 16, 2008 09:05 IST
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Nalchik (Russia):

Grandmaster Koneru Humpy bowed out of the World Women Chess Championship succumbing to 14-year old Yifan Hao of China in the blitz tiebreak games of the semi-finals here on Friday.

Humpy rose back to level scores twice but Yifan emerged as the better player in the blitz games where she won both the tiebreak games and advanced to the finals where she now meets Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia.

Alexandra had beaten Pia Cramling of Sweden in the other semifinal.

This is the second time in three world championships that Humpy was ousted in the semis. Earlier in 2004, Ekaterina Kovaleskaya of Russia had ousted the Indian star. In the 2006 championship, Humpy had gone out in the second round itself.

Tension and drama was expected in the tiebreak games and the spectators were not devoid of it. Humpy lost the first game of the day playing black under rapid chess rules but came back from a bad position to beat Yifan in the second game.

That set the stage for the rapid games where Yifan won first game with black and kept her cool in the middle of wild complexities in the second.

Humpy had to win to reach the sudden death game but that never happened as Yifan exchanged almost at will to reach a position of strength in the rook and pawns endgame.

Humpy had gone for an irregular opening set up as black but that did not deter Yifan in anyways. Humpy resigned when both white rooks invaded the seventh rank on the 41st move.

Earlier in the first blitz game, Humpy could not do much with her white pieces in a Queen's Indian defense and Yifan got the upper hand with simple yet effective manoeuvres. The Indian lost an exchange without much compensation and there was no hope left.

Humpy's lone win the quarterfinals came in the second rapid game but there too she survived some anxious moments. It was a Queen pawn game by Humpy that gave Yifan some chances but she later blundered a full piece to let Humpy equalise for the second time. Yifan had won the first rapid game with white.

The championship had started out with 64 players on a knockout basis and the final appears to be a promising contest between Yifan and Kosteniuk.

So far there were only two games in each match and in the event of a tied result, tiebreak games were played to determine the winner. The final will be played after a much needed rest day for the players.

Result semi-finals: Koneru Humpy (Ind) lost to Yifan Hao (Chn) 1-1, 1-1, 0-2; Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus) beat Pia Cramling (Swe) 1.5-0.5.