Women’s Speed Chess Championship: Hou Yifan Joins Quaterfinalists

In what is her first official chess event in 2021, GM Hou Yifan reached the quarterfinals of the FIDE Chess.com Women’s Speed Chess Championship. The former women’s world champion from China beat Azerbaijan’s IM Gulnar Mammadova 15-6 on Sunday.

The live broadcast of the match.

It comes with the pairings system that the first round inevitably has a few matchups where one player is simply too strong for the other. In the eighth and last match in the round of 16, that was the case: Hou, the strongest still active female chess player on the planet, was no match for Mammadova, who did put up a good fight and was part of a great match to watch.

Hou won the 5|1 and 3|1 segments both with a 6-1, without losing a game. She won a model game as White in the Winawer:

Mammadova did win two games in the bullet segment and in fact, she won that part of the match 4-3. The Azerbaijani’s first win game when Hou erred in a theoretical endgame:

Mammadova said she was very happy that she got the chance to play in this big tournament against the number-one female player in the world. “This was a big experience for me,” she said.

For Hou, the Women’s Speed Chess Championship was the first official event in 2021. She referred to her new occupation as Professor at Shenzhen University: “To be honest I was busy with my job in the university and also some other projects going on,” she said. “I am not particularly training myself and not playing too often. It’s a great pleasure to be back!”

Mammadova earned $1,000 for finishing 9th-16th. Hou moves on to the quarterfinals, where she will meet IM Bibisara Assaubayeva, who eliminated GM Humpy Koneru. All eight matchups are now set. The tournament will continue on June 24.

All games

The FIDE Chess.com 2021 Women’s Speed Chess Championship is an online competition for titled female players. The qualifiers for the event were held May 28-June 6, while the main event runs June 10-July 3. Players battle for their shares of a total prize fund of $66,000.

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