Friday, September 12, 2008

Humpy fights her way back, takes match into tie-breaker

Koneru Humpy came back into contention as her young Chinese opponent Hou Yifan blundered in the crucial stage of the Women’s World chess semi-finals Thursday. Humpy won the second game to get back into the match. Humpy, who had lost the first game with white thus equalised with black to send the match into a tie-breaker. He won in 36 moves after an opening in the English Symmetrical.

In the other semi-final Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) needing only a draw to get onto the final stage of the Women’s World Chess Championship played a solid game with no surprises or novelties to beat Pia Cramling of Sweden. The game was in Queen’s Gambit declined and lasted 40 moves.

Kosteniuk made the final after seven years and she will now play the winner of Humpy-Yifan match in the final.

The 21-year-old Humpy favourite and top seed here came out with a slight advantage from the opening phase but could not find a strong continuation despite the desperation to win. Yifan pushed the pawn to d5 and gave a chance for exchanging the light pieces which could have been a nice way for a possible draw.

Humpy took her chance and avoided the full exchange and took a risky line but after that her position started to gradually loose momentum and deteriorated.

But her luck into came play as Yifan blundered and provided a chance for White to mate. Hou resigned after a few more moves as Humpy saw the line and went for it.

Humpy and Yifan will now clash in a tie break on Friday.

In the first game, Yifan played maturely to score an upset over the top-seed. Humpy played the first part of the game in her usual manner but out of the blue things changed greatly. Having captured a “poisoned pawn” Humpy lost her way and the game.

So upset was she that she kept sitting at the table for five minutes after the match trying to find a reason for her poor play.