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Sunday, July 14, 2024
HomeChessJBWSCC 2023 (Last): Hou Yifan Wins Second WSCC Title

JBWSCC 2023 (Last): Hou Yifan Wins Second WSCC Title


GM Hou Yifan is the primary participant to win two WSCC titles. After defeating GM Harika Dronavalli within the Julius Baer Girls’s Pace Chess Championship 2023 Last 15-11, the Chinese language grandmaster is a two-time champion.

“Ever since her first victory, she by no means relinquished the lead,” mentioned commentator GM Daniel Naroditsky after the match. Essential to her success was incisive precision when changing benefits in addition to her resilience to avoid wasting a number of misplaced positions.

Hou 15-11 Harika | Last


Each occasions Hou gained the WSCC, in 2021 and 2023, she confronted Harika within the Last. Two years in the past, she gained her first title with a 15-13 rating, and SmarterChess predicted one other slender match victory by only one level.

Her rating this 12 months went above and past 2021 and the pre-match predictions, and her highly effective begin within the first phase paved the best way for a commanding and impenetrable lead.

5+1: Hou 5-3 Harika

Hou took a three-point lead within the first 4 video games. Though her opponent gained two video games within the second half, the development was clear from the outset.

The great knight vs. unhealthy bishop was a theme that will recur on this match, with the four-time world champion having the knight.

Of the very first sport, which Hou gained, commentator WGM Jennifer Shahade remarked: “I do know there’s numerous video games within the Pace Chess Championship, however I do not assume I will ever neglect that dark-squared management she had with the attractive knight on c5, the king on d4, simply portray an image.”

I do not assume I will ever neglect that dark-squared management she had with the attractive knight on c5, the king on d4, simply portray an image.

—Jennifer Shahade 

With such a pleasant description, that is little question our Recreation of the Day, which GM Rafael Leitao goes over intimately beneath.

Recreation two was probably probably the most thrilling in the whole phase as each gamers made game-changing errors, however, in what looks as if cosmic justice for each gamers, it resulted in a draw.

The 2021 WSCC champion gained video games three and 4 back-to-back, first by grinding out a rook endgame after which changing two additional pawns in a extra tactical sport.

Now down three factors, Harika’s first win featured a implausible piece sacrifice with 15…Ng6!, threatening …Nh4 and …Qg2#. Although White managed to crawl her method again into the sport, Black went on to win the rook ending a lot later.

Harika gained the following sport as effectively after declining a threefold repetition, however it was Hou who had the final chuckle—effectively, the final win on this phase. 23.Rxb3! sacrificed a clear trade, not even for a pawn, and he or she gained after trapping the black bishop on h3.

With an correct draw within the final sport, Hou completed the primary portion with a two-point lead and with the momentum nonetheless on her aspect.

3+1: Hou 5.5-3.5 Harika

By successful the second portion with one other two-point lead, Hou positioned Harika right into a determined state of affairs, one from which she was unable to recuperate.

The Chinese language GM gained the primary two video games off the bat, a daunting begin.

Within the first sport, she punished Black for ambitiously selecting to assault reasonably than fort her king. The second was a warning that even the strong London System wasn’t a sanctuary from Hou’s wrath.

On the opposite aspect of a draw, Hou gained one other two straight video games to take a six-point lead. After successful a pleasant endgame with a zwischenzug, she then gained one other endgame with an excellent knight on c5 and a king on d4, in opposition to a depressing bishop betrayed by its personal pawns.

Then, the comeback grew to become a near-reality. Harika gained the following two video games, and Naroditsky mentioned: “That is actually the type of chess that she must play the remainder of the match if she desires an opportunity at a comeback.”

Alas, Hou critically saved the final two video games, the place she was a lot worse and even misplaced however managed to attract. Had they resulted in wins for Harika, the match rating and psychological development may have been a lot completely different.

1+1: 4.5-4.5 Harika

4 factors down, Harika wanted to make issues occur shortly to have an opportunity. However the Chinese language grandmaster continued to transform positions the place she was higher and to additionally save ones the place she was worse.

The primary two video games resulted in attracts, although within the first one, Harika was up a pawn in a rook endgame.

India’s second feminine grandmaster lastly gained sport three, however that comeback was instantly stopped in its tracks within the subsequent sport. Hou dismantled the Scandinavian Protection in 16 strikes.

Hou then gained the following sport too, calculating an unstoppable checkmate whilst her opponent queened a pawn.

When the match clock reached seven minutes, the commentators began discussing the match up to now tense, whilst video games had been ongoing. Harika gained the final two video games, which does rely for prize cash by win share however not for the title.

Hou earns $10,000 for successful the title match and one other $5,769.23 by win share. Harika takes residence $4,230.77 for the video games she gained.

“I acquired fortunate to start out with some main positions,” mentioned Hou in her interview. “When this match [went] to the bullet chess, I felt like I [couldn’t] see the strikes… however basically I’m comparatively glad with the efficiency at this time particularly in comparison with the earlier match the place I blundered extra.”

Will the world’s highest-rated lady return to chess full-time sooner or later? The reply wasn’t a “sure,” however it wasn’t a “no” both!

Harika joined for an interview as effectively, sharing: “I am simply not pleased with my energy at this time. I feel it has to do with instantly back-to-back matches… it was actually exhausting as a result of I completed my matches at like 11 p.m. and at this time instantly to start out this night… I will have this remorse for a while.”

Harika joined the published after Hou.

She additionally later added: “That is one in every of my favourite tournaments, being at residence you’ll be able to play such matches with the most effective gamers with a tremendous prize fund… I want to come again once more subsequent 12 months!”

This was the final version of the Pace Chess Championship this 12 months, and we sit up for its return in 2024.

Tips on how to evaluate?
You may evaluate the Julius Baer Girls’s Pace Chess Championship 2023 on Chess.com/TV. You too can benefit from the present on our Twitch channel and catch all our dwell broadcasts on YouTube.com/Chess. Video games from the occasion will be seen on our occasions web page.

The dwell broadcast was hosted by Naroditsky and Shahade. 

The 2023 Julius Baer Girls’s Pace Chess Championship (WSCC) is a web-based competitors that includes a few of the strongest ladies chess gamers on the planet, with the principle occasion beginning on November 13. The WSCC incorporates a $75,000 prize fund.


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