Women’s no. 1 Hou Yifan won her last three games to take clear first place in Biel, becoming the first woman to win the top prize in the Biel Chess Festival’s 50-year history. Her 2809 performance featured five wins and a tactical shot that will become an instant classic. Second place was taken by Etienne Bacrot, who in the final round inflicted the first defeat of the tournament on Harikrishna. The Indian Grandmaster had to settle for 3rd place.
Elsewhere Peter Leko ended a very mixed tournament on a high by grinding out a win against Alexander Morozevich in 66 moves and many hours, while Ponomariov joined him on +1 by beating the luckless Noel Studer. The story, though, was all about Hou Yifan!
Her result was one of the best ever achieved by a female player, with Judit Polgar’s joint 1st with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the 2006 Essent Chess Tournament one of the last comparable results (she twice beat then world no. 1 Veselin Topalov in that event), while Judit also tied for 1st in the 2011 European Championship, though she eventually took bronze behind Potkin and Wojtaszek on tiebreaks. If we allow speed chess into the mix, then Valentina Gunina’s brilliant 9/10 at last year’s London Super Rapidplay needs to be mentioned as well.
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