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India’s Koneru Humpy becomes Women’s World Rapid Chess Champion

Norway's Magnus Carlsen claims men's title

Prime News, International Sport, Chess, Moscow (Russia), December 30:- Indian grandmaster Koneru Humpy has become the 2019 Women’s World Rapid Champion. She defeated China’s Lei Tingjie in a dramatic final in Moscow on Sunday.

After losing the opening game, Humpy made an impressive comeback and collected nine points each in 12 rounds to be tied with Tingjie. The duo then played a fierce game to break the deadlock. Tingjie finished with a silver, while Turkey’s Ekaterina Atalik won bronze.

This is a significant triumph for Humpy who is India’s best-ever women’s chess player. She is more at ease in the classical format and was clearly trying to take her skills in the rapid format to a new level.

“When I started my first game on Day III, I did not imagine I would be at the top. My hope was to reach top three. I didn’t expect to play the tie-break games,” said 32-year-old Humpy, who had taken a two-year sabbatical from 2016 to 2018 after she became a mother, in an interview with FIDE.

“I lost the first game on time but came back in the second game. It was a gambling game, but I won. In the final game, I had a better position and it was a comfortable win.”

The Women’s World Rapid Championship is a 12-round Swiss tournament. Players received 15 minutes for the entire game, plus a 10-second increment starting from move one. The playoff for first place consisted of two 3+2 games followed, if necessary, by Armageddon, where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4.

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.

Norway’s Magnus Carlsen

Norway’s Magnus Carlsen claimed the men’s title. Iranian star Firouza Alireza, who played under FIDE flag, won the silver ahead of American Hikaru Nakamura. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)

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