Women’s world champ Hou Yifan ready for AAI Grandmasters chess

June 6th, 2011 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) Reigning women’s world champion Hou Yifan of China is all set p for the upcoming inaugural Airports Authority of India (AAI) Grandmasters Chess Tournament beginning here June 21.

The 17-year-old, who last year became the youngest-ever world champion in either the men’s or women’s section, will become the first women’s reigning champion to play in India since Maya Chiburdanidze played in India in the early 1980s.

Apart from Hou, the other participants will be World Junior No.1 GM Fabiano Caruana of Italy, Philippines’ No. 1 GM Wesely So, Czech Republic No. 2 GM Viktor Laznicka; India No. 2 GM Krishnan Sasikiran and the reigning Indian National Champion GM Parimarjan Negi.

The tournament will offer prize of $24,500. The winner will take $8,000 and the runner-up $6,000.

Hou, who interestingly will be challenged by India’s Koneru Humpy for the world title later this year, is using the tournament as part of her preparations. She was recognised as the Best Sportswoman in China in a sport that is not included in the Olympic programme.

Hou recently won the first-ever Chinese Female Professional chess tournament held in Wuxi, Jiangsu in China in April with a highly impressive score of 9/11. However, she had disappointing result in Asian Individual, where playing in the Open section, she ended 33rd in Mashhad, Iran.

Hou hails from Xinghua, which is famous for holding top level Chinese individual chess tournaments for the past three years. The town has two women grandmasters, eight national champions and over 10,000 playing youngsters live here.

According to Susan Polgar, one of the strongest-ever women’s players, but now retired, Hou is preparing for her match against Humpy and all these Open events are part of her larger plan.

This will be India’s first ever Category 17 chess tournament with a unique group of six grandmasters playing in a double round robin event from June 21 to July 2.

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