Pestaño: The best female players in history

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


WHILE reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway dominates the men’s game, Hou Yifan,19, of China does the same for women. She was recently named the Asian Chess Federation (ACF) “Woman Player of the Year” last week.

Hou is the current women’s world champion, the youngest to win the title and the youngest female player ever to be a grandmaster. She lost her title in 2012 but regained it in 2013. In the most recent (July 2014) Fide rating list, Hou is ranked as the No. 1 girl player in the world, the No. 2 female player (after Judit Polgár) and the No. 9 junior player of either sex.

Experts are saying that she could rival Judit Polgar as the best female player ever.

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Judit Polgár, 38, is the strongest female chess player in history and plays only with men. In 1991, she achieved the title of grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months. At the time, she was the youngest to have done so of either sex.

As of June 2014, Polgár was ranked 60th in the world with a rating of 2685, the only woman on the top 100 list. She has been ranked as high as No. 8 in 2005 with a rating of 2735.

From June 18 to July 2 this year , Hou played in the fifth stage of Fide women’s grand prix 2013-14 in Lopota, Georgia. She won the event with a 9/11 score, a full two points over her nearest competitors. She had a performance rating of 2773 and this is equivalent to winning a basketball game by 30 points.

The fide women’s grand prix 2013-14 is a series of six tournaments exclusively for women and is part of the qualification cycle for the women’s world chess championship 2015 . Hou also won the fourth stage in Khanty Mansiyk, Russia. The winner of the Grand Prix will challenge the 2014 champion in a 10-game match.

Should the grand prix winner be the 2014 world champion, the runner-up will play for the 2015 championship, which in this case is GM Koneru Humpy of India . Humpy won the second and third grand prix in Armenia and Uzbekistan.

In 2007 Humpy (now 27) surpassed the rating of 2577 set by Susan Polgar (Judit’s elder sister ) to become the second-highest ranked female player in history and the second female player ever, after Judit, to exceed the 2600 Elo mark.

GM Susan Polgar,45, was named the top 2014 chess coach in the world by Fide. Polgar, who is the chess coach at Webster University, was awarded the Furman Symeon medal, which is given annually to the best coach who works with both male and female players.

Polgar was recognized for improving the ranking of Wesley So from No. 95 in the world two years ago to No.15 now. Just recently, Polgar gave a one-on-one training to the top 10 young female chess players in Europe and Asia.

Susan has won four women’s world championships and has earned 10 Olympiad medals.

She was the first female to earn the grandmaster title through tournament play, and is credited with breaking a number of gender barriers, including the first to qualify for the men’s world championship.

There have been prominent lady players who have changed federations lately.

Women’s World Rapid Champion GM Kateryna Lagno,24, has completed the transfer from the Ukrainian to Russian Chess Federation. The process that started back in March was concluded last July 11. The RCF paid the 2,000 Euros transfer fee to Fide and 20,000 Euros compensation to the Ukrainian CF.

GM Anna Muzychuk has returned to Ukraine from Slovenia, saying the chess situation has improved in her native land.

Cepca. Please be reminded that our July handicapping tournament will be this Sunday at the second floor of Handuraw Gorordo starting at 2 p.m.

The prize sponsor for this month is former president Ben Dimaano.

(boypestano@gmail.com,www.chessmoso.blogspot.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 18, 2014.

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