Hou Yifan from China won the Women’s World Chess Championship for the second time in the last three years. The Chinese prodigy has arguably been the best women player in the history of the game and is the current world No.1.
She has retained that spot for a long time now and after a gap of a year, Hou Yifan showed her brilliance by thrashing Mariya Muzychuk with a score of 6-3 in her favour. Yifan won the 10 rounds classical match with a round to spare without losing a single game.
The World Championship was held from 1 March to 14 March in Lviv in Ukraine. It was a match to determine the Fide Women’s World Champion of 2016. Mariya qualified as she was the world champion in 2015 and Hou qualified after winning the FIDE Grand Prix Series of 2013-14.
The games were intense and both players went out of their opening lines and tried something new and unusual. The coming up of computers has been a big boost for chess players as it gives them an insight as to how one can prepare for their games.
New technology helps players
The latest technology has contributed a lot by bringing the best moves on the board with the help of a chess engine. One can now prepare for his/her next game by watching the opponent’s opening choices and style of play by just downloading the ChessBase software. There are numerous analysis engines like the Houdini Pro and Fritz which can give an in-depth analysis of one’s games.
We can now collect all games that a player has played in his lifetime with the click of a mouse. No longer are we bound to use chess books for analysis, these books can also be downloaded on the ChessBase software. Computers also give the player a chance to play with highly competent players from across the world.
The top players hire ‘seconds’ as they are called for analysing high-quality openings and games and help them with their preparation before and during tournaments. This is all done with the help of computers.
With the use of technology and software, these two women out prepared each other and went for strong opening lines mostly using the Kings Pawn openings. The last game was a crucial one as Mariya relied on her pet line the Sicilian Defence with the black pieces.
Overall the tournament was a huge success for Hou Yifan who once again proved that she is the reigning queen of the world. For Mariya, it wasn’t as great as last year but she too played some solid chess.
The FIDE should be lauded for their efforts in showcasing the games all around the world and making the women’s game more popular. The popularity of this championship just goes to show the improvements that are being made in the world of women’s chess.
All eyes are now set on the next world championship where Hou Yifan will defend her crown.Published 30 Mar 2016, 18:43 IST