Koneru Humpy claims Rapid crown
Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy claimed the World Women’s Rapid Chess Championship title after drawing the Armageddon game against Lei Tingjie of China here.
The 32-year-old Indian made a stunning comeback, winning the 12th and final round game against another Chinese Tang Zhongyi, to force the tie breaker against Tingjie.
“When I started my first game on Day III, I did not imagine I would be at the top. My hope was to reach top three. I didn’t expect to play the tie-break games,” said Humpy, who had taken a two-year sabbatical from 2016 to 2018 after she became a mother, in an interview with Fide.
“I lost the first game on time but came back in the second game. It was a gambling game, but I won. In the final game, I had a better position and it was a comfortable win.”
Starting as the thirteenth seat, Humpy scored 9 points in all to match Tingjie and Ekaterina Atalik of Turkey.
Humpy had a good beginning to the event, scoring 4.5 points in the first five rounds, and then a loss against Irina Bulmaga of Russia pulled her back a little. Needing a strong finish, Humpy won the last two rounds.
However, the Indian ace required a little luck as Tingjie had to lose to Atalik, which happened.
The drama was still not over as Humpy lost the first tie-break game, and then won the second to reach the Armageddon.
Humpy drew black colour, which meant that a draw was enough for her to clinch the gold. Tingjie had to settle for the silver and bronze went to Atalik. Humpy got a winning position after a tactical stroke that netted her queen for a rook by move forty. Twenty-six moves later Tingjie agreed to draw in a hopeless situation.
The Women’s World Rapid Championship is a 12-round Swiss tournament. Players received 15 minutes for the entire game, plus a 10-second increment starting from move one. The playoff for first place consisted of two 3+2 games followed, if necessary, by Armageddon, where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4.
After Vishwanathan Anand won this title in the open section in 2017, Humpy is only the second Indian to win the rapid gold in the current format.
Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen of Norway won the open section scoring 11.5 points out of a possible fifteen rounds. Iranian star Firouza Alireza, who played under Fide flag, won the silver ahead of American Hikaru Nakamura.