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HomeChessJBWSCC 2023 (Semifinals): Hou Yifan Prevails In Conflict Of World Champions

JBWSCC 2023 (Semifinals): Hou Yifan Prevails In Conflict Of World Champions


GM Hou Yifan defeated GM Alexandra Kosteniuk 12.5-9.5 to safe her spot within the Julius Baer Girls’s Pace Chess Championship 2023 Last. 

The hotly contested 22-game match noticed simply three attracts. Kosteniuk led by one level on the finish of every of the primary two segments, however within the bullet video games, the ladies’s world number-one took over and received almost each single one.

Within the upcoming Last, Hou will play towards the winner of GM Kateryna Lagno vs. GM Harika Dronavalli

Edited on 11/17/2023: The semifinal match is rescheduled from Friday, November 17, to Tuesday, November 21, at 9 a.m. ET / 15:00 CET / 7:30 p.m. IST.

Hou 12.5-9.5 Kosteniuk | Semifinals 


Final 12 months, Hou eradicated Kosteniuk within the Quarterfinals after successful 14.5-11.5. On this 12 months’s version Hou once more received the match with a three-point margin, one level greater than predicted by SmarterChess. 

Hou’s stellar efficiency within the bullet portion got here as a shock.

5+1: Hou 3.5-4.5 Kosteniuk

The primary two segments have been intently contested, although Kosteniuk stored the sting with a nagging one-point lead.

The very first sport, which seemed to be heading towards a draw, all of the sudden ended with Hou’s king getting checkmated.

After Kosteniuk missed a win within the second sport, which led to one of many uncommon attracts of the match, it was Hou who hit again with two back-to-back wins.

Within the second, a grasping pawn seize led to fast capitulation from the white items.

After Kosteniuk received video games six and 7 back-to-back, every participant received with the white items to shut out the phase, leaving the Swiss grandmaster within the lead. 

The final sport was a pleasant lesson in utilizing the king as an lively piece within the endgame.

3+1: Hou 3.5-3.5 Kosteniuk

As soon as once more, a intently fought phase left Kosteniuk up by some extent within the bullet.

Hou received the primary sport with a kingside assault that labored with out sacrificing any materials. Though the primary wave did not break the protection, her forces acquired to the king once they tried once more. GM Rafael Leitao analyzes our Sport of the Day under.

However Kosteniuk received the following sport, albeit solely on the clock after a very long time in a dropping place.

After dropping one other sport, Hou was down two factors within the match, however she evened the rating as soon as once more over the following two video games.

Within the first, she received a pure opposite-color bishop endgame regardless of its excessive drawish tendencies.

The ultimate place of the second was like a portray. After 52…Qe6!, establishing the lethal found checks, one of many prime engine strikes is already 53.Qxc4. So, as a substitute, White selected to resign.

Simply as Hou introduced the match again to a steadiness, Kosteniuk received the final sport on time—able the place she was a lot better however not but clearly successful. Sport on!

1+1: Hou 5.5-1.5 Kosteniuk

Properly, the shut match of the primary two segments didn’t final, because the bullet portion turned out to be a blowout. Hou revealed within the interview that she consciously tried to play quicker, and it evidently labored. Kosteniuk managed to win solely the final sport, when it was already too late to return again within the match.

Hou began with 4 straight wins earlier than they made their third and final draw within the match.

We’re speaking about one-minute chess right here, after all, so there have been a couple of errors. Within the first sport, White missed a dangling rook and went on to lose:

Hou then squeezed with the area benefit to win one other, captured a blundered piece to win the following, and, lastly, traded right into a trivially successful opposite-color bishop endgame to win after that. 

After a draw, she received the penultimate sport in 28 strikes with a brutal assault and a satisfying geometric sample in the long run:

Kosteniuk received the final sport and, though it did not matter for the match, this closing place can also be like a portray and is price sharing. Black can do nothing concerning the mate on g7:

Hou takes dwelling $6,000 for successful the match plus $3,409.10 by win share. Kosteniuk exits the event incomes $2,590.90 by win share.

After her wonderful efficiency within the bullet phase, Hou quipped within the interview: “Am I taking part in sharp!?”

Hou’s performed each Harika and Lagno in WSCC Last earlier than. In 2021, she beat Harika to win the title; however she misplaced towards Lagno final 12 months. Whomever she performs subsequent Wednesday, it is sure to be an thrilling match contemplating the current historical past.

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


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