Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Humpy Koneru of India are the winners of the 2019 World rapid chess championship which ended on Saturday evening in Moscow. With eight wins, seven draws, and no lost games, the Norwegian chess master comfortably won the Open Rapid, his third victory in this category.
The winner of the women’s rapid was determined in a playoff that ended with Humpy Koneru beating Lei Tingjie in the Armageddon.
Humpy had stopped playing chess for nearly two years from 2016 to 2018 because she became a mother. But within a year of returning to the game, she has won a prestigious title.
After two days and eight rounds of play, there were four players sharing the first place, with 6.5/8: Irina Bulmaga, Tan Zhongyi, Lei Tingjie, and Mariya Muzychuk. The second tier, with 6/8 was made up of Humpy Koneru, Olga Girya, Kateryna Lagno, Harika Dronavalli, Ekaterina Atalik, and Anna Muzychuk.
Several of the key games on the final day were decided thanks to the blunders of players who were in significantly better positions.
The final round of the women’s rapid started with Lei Tingjie alone at the top with 9/11, followed by Tan Zhongyi on 8.5 and no fewer than five players, including Humpy, on eight points.
On board two in the final round, with both players having a couple of seconds on their clock, Tan Zhongyi offered a draw to Humpy Koneru who immediately refused. A few seconds later, under time pressure, Zhongyi blundered and lost.
Tingjie needed just a draw in the final round to win the title after Zhongyi lost but Atalik came up with the big win to deny the Chinese. This meant that three players were now tied for the top place: Tingjie, Humpy, and Atalik.
And Humpy came through in fine style to seal a magnificent triumph.
The FIDE Women’s World Rapid Championship was a 12-round Swiss tournament taking place from December 26-28 in Moscow, Russia. 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.
In an interview after winning in the tie-break, Humpy Koneru said that the result was beyond her expectations from the day: “When I started my first game on Day Three I did not imagine I would be at the top. My hope was to reach the top three. I didn’t expect to play the tie-break games. 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, a better position and it was a comfortable win.”