Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy claimed the World Women’s Rapid Chess Championship title after drawing the Armageddon game against China’s Lei Tingjie in Moscow on Saturday.
Rapid Chess Championship is a tournament played under rapid time controls. Each player is given less time to consider their moves when compared to normal tournaments. Armageddon chess is a particular variation in which different rules apply for each of the two players.
The tournament was held by FIDE, the international organisation that connects the various national chess federations globally.
32-year-old Humpy made a stunning comeback, winning the 12th and final round of game against Tan Zhongyi from China, to force the tie-breaker against Tingjie.
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.
Humpy, a native of Gudivada in Andhra Pradesh, grabbed the limelight when she became the world’s youngest chess champion (not solely a woman chess champion) at the age of 15 in 2002.
“I really didn’t expect to play the tie-breaker games. I managed to win the game in the last two rounds. The Chinese player (Tingjie) was leading and she just needed a draw to win the game. When I started the game in the morning, I hoped to come in the first three. But it’s a gambling game and as the day progressed, I was desperate to win,” Humpy told media after winning the game on Saturday.
Calling the victory unexpected, Humpy added that people never expected her to win the championship.
“People have been expecting me to win the classical World Championship every year but I have been losing, the best I could win was a silver medal. I can say for sure that no one expected me to win the rapid tournament because I was still at the 13th position when the tournament started and was never really great at rapids. It was an unexpected victory for me as well,” Humpy said.
Starting at the thirteenth seat, Humpy scored 9 points in all to match Tingjie and Ekaterina Atalik of Turkey.
Humpy had a good beginning scoring 4.5 points in the first five rounds, but then lost to Irina Bulmaga of Russia. 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. Tingjie had to settle for silver and the bronze went to Atalik.
Meanwhile, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen won the open section, scoring 11.5 points out of a possible 15 rounds.
(With inputs from PTI)