Koneru Humpy pockets first world chess crown, clinches Women’s rapid title in Russia | Chess News

Koneru Humpy has given another reason to google her. India’s first Woman Grand Master is the new women’s World Rapid Chess Champion.

Her feat came at the King Salman World Rapid Chess Championships in Moscow, Russia, on Saturday. While Magnus Carlsen clinched his third world crown in the Open group, Humpy emerged winner among the Women.

Humpy, seeded 13th, was tied with China’s Lei Tingjie collecting nine points each in 12 rounds.

To break the tie an Armageddon game was played between Humpy and Tingjie. After losing her opening play-off game, Humpy recovered in the second and clinched the title in Armageddon decider.

“This is my first World Championship title and I am very happy and excited with this victory,” Humpy said in an interview with Fide.

She added, “People were expecting me to win the Classical WCH for many years. Nor I have been very good at rapid. So it was an unexpected victory for me. When I started my first game, I didn’t have any expectations to finish first. I thought a finish in top-three would be a great result,” she stated.

In the three-day rapid event of the World Rapid and Blitz Championship organised by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), Humpy, who has 2438 Elo ranking points, gave a performance rating of 2538. Shining on the world stage is not a new occurrence for Humpy. She has four World Championship crowns across various age groups as a junior.

Talking about the tie-breaks, Humpy said, “I really didn’t expect to play the tiebreak games. I managed to win my rapid games in the last two rounds and Tingjie lost in her last round where she needed a draw to win the title. And I got the opportunity to play the tiebreak.”

In 2011, Humpy lost a World Championship match against Hou Yifan. There too in the tiebreak, she had endured a false start. Analysing her mental state, Humpy said, “Of course, I lost my first game with White as I did not play quickly and lost on time. Since I was desperate to win the second, I chose the Modern defence and gambled which yielded positive results. In the final game, I had a pleasant position in the middle and managed to beat the time too.”

In the 12-round rapid event, Humpy recorded seven wins, four draws and suffered a sixth round defeat to 24th seed IM Bulmaga Irina.

On her way to glory, Humpy defeated the lower ranked Margarita Potapova, Khomeriki Nino, Kovalevskaya Ekaterina, Girya Olga and Voit Daria before posting an upset win over ninth ranked GM Dzagnidze Nana in the eighth round and surprising sixth-seeded Tan Zhongyi in the final round.

She drew with lower rated Charochkina Daria, Lagno Kateryna and Atalik Ekaterina. Her title quest stuttered a bit as she lost her sixth round match. Thereafter, she made all the right moves and forced top-seeded Muzychuk Anna to split points in the seventh round. That draw against the higher rated Ukranian GM, gave Humpy a much-needed boost as she went on to surprise the ninth seed in the following round.

On the third day of the meet, Humpy started with back-to-back draws which included No 3 seed Lagno Kateryna in the 10th round to share the joint third position.

She signed off the meet with a two successive victories and took everyone by surprise by sharing the top position with fifth seed Chinese GM Tingjie at nine points each.

Talking about her best game in the tournament she said, “I think my rapid final game win with Tan Zhongyi was crucial. I made the right moves in critical position.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: