On Saturday, India’s Koneru Humpy claimed the FIDE Women’s World Rapid Chess Championships title in Moscow following an impressive show in a playoff that decided the winner.
“This is my first world title, so I’m very happy and excited with this victory,” Koneru told FIDE (International Chess Federation) after her win.
“When I started my first game in the morning, I didn’t expect to finish first,” Koneru said. “I thought if I could finish in the top three, that would be a great result.”
“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. I am very happy and excited about this victory. People were expecting me to win the classical world championship for many years but I lost in the knockouts each time. Surely, no one expected me to win the rapids because I was seeded 13th and I was never too good in this format. So this is an unexpected victory for me,” she added.
While Humpy finished on top, China’s Lei Tingjie finished with a silver, while Turkey’s Ekaterina Atalik won bronze. Humpy, in fact, had to get the better of Tingjie in an Armageddon game, to walk away with the gold. In the playoff, Humpy had initially lost the opening round but she made a solid comeback in the second and went on to win the match.
Before the playoff though, Humpy, Tingjie and Atalik were tied with a score of 9/12. But as per the rules of FIDE, only the top-two finishers of the tiebreak could play in the final playoff and hence Humpy and Tingjie went head to head.
Humpy had taken a two-year sabbatical from chess from 2016 to 2018 after she became a mother. But within a year of returning to the game, she has won a prestigious title.