Friday, March 18, 2016

Pestaño: Hou Yifan regains women’s crown

THE Women’s championship has alternating formats--one-on-one for even years and a 64-player knockout competition for odd years.
The women’s world chess championship match 2016 between current world champion Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine and challenger Hou Yifan of China (former world champion 2010-2012, 2013-2015) took place in Lviv, Ukraine last March 1 to 18. It was scheduled this month, this being International Women month.
The Ukrainian Muzychuk, who obtained the title by winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup, entered the match at her peak Fide rating of 2563. Her Elo is dwarfed though by Hou Yifan’s monstrous rating of 2667, and she is the heavy 10-3 favorite.There is little doubt that she is the far stronger player. While Mariya has only just surpassed 2560, Hou Yifan’s rating has not fallen below 2660 since August 2014.
As expected, Hou won three games and the match ,originally scheduled for 10 games was over before the last round. The score was 6-3. Despite having a dream team at her disposal (GMs Pavel Eljanov, Yuriy Kryvoruchko and her sister Anna) and playing rather well, Mariya Muzychuk lost her match with a score that reflected the Elo difference rather accurately.
The local hero didn’t speak about her play, but graciously noted, “I’m happy that this match took place in my home city Lviv because many chess players had chance to come and visit this match.”
Of her victory, Hou said, “Of course I’m very happy that I managed to successfully finish the match. My team is supporting me here all the time during the match and before. I would also like to mention that, although there’s a six-hour time difference, there are many people in China watching online, and supporting me. I even received some messages after the game, even though it’s already midnight. Many people and also my friends in the chess world are supporting me.”
Hou has won all three matches for the world title: against Humpy Koneru, Anna Ushenina and now Mariya Muzychuk. Her lead in the Fide rating list will be almost a hundred points, and so it’s safe to say that she is dominating her rivals and will do so for the next decade as there is no one in sight, being only 22 years old.
Hou will get 120,000 euros for winning the tournament, while Muzychuk will receive 80,000 euros.
Candidates matches The candidates tournament is traditionally considered to be the most important part of the FIDE World Chess Championship cycle. It started last March 11 and will end on March 28 with FIDE’s commercial partner Agon as the official organizer, with support from the Russian Chess Federation.
The tournament will be contested as a double round-robin over 14 games. The winner of this eight-player candidates tournament will be the challenger for the 2016 World Chess Championship against Magnus Carlsen scheduled in November this year in New York.
There are five different qualification paths to the candidates tournament. In order of priority, these are the world chess championship 2014 losing finalist (Viishy Anand 2762), the top two finishers in the chess world cup 2015 (Sergey Karjakin 2760 and Peter Svidler 2757), the top two finishers in the FIDE Grand Prix 2014–5 (Fabiano Caruana 2794 and Hikaru Nakamura 2790), the next two highest-rated players (Veselin Topalov 2780 and Anish Giri 2793) and one player nominated by the organizers (Levon Aronian 2786)
After four rounds, here are the results: Karjakin 3; Aronian 2.5; Anand,Giri, Caruana Svidler-2; Nakamura 1.5; Topalov 1.

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