Bengaluru, February 17: World Rapid Chess champion Koneru Humpy won the Cairns Cup, rated one of the toughest women's event in the Rapid format. Humpy won the title garnering 6 points from 9 nine games to bag $ 45,000 for the winner and the victory also helped her to reclaim the World No 2 position.
In the ninth and final round, Humpy drew with compatriot D Harika, who finished sixth with 4.5 points. Humpy took sole lead in the tournament after she defeated Russian Grand Master Valentina Gunina in the 8th round and she preserved the lead with a draw in the ninth round.
In the Humpy vs Gunina game, the 32-year-old Indian opted for Semi-Slav defence and outplayed her rival in 35 moves to record her fourth win of the tournament.
"This is a really strong field with an average rating of ELO 2500+. There is no way you could have taken anyone lightly like in any other international event as the field comprised two Americans and the rest top eight players including reigning world champion Ju Wenjun featuring in the round-robin format.
"Winning the Cairns Cup is also a special feeling for it does remind that the World Championship title was no flash in the pan. The toughest match was against Alexandra Kousteniuk which was a long battle in the seventh round and I could manage to keep my unbeaten record against her in five games," Humpy was quoted as saying by the Sportstar. Humpy also mentioned the massive help offered by her father-cum-coach Koneru Ashok in helping her winning the Cairns Cup, in its second edition.
Humpy was also helped by a paltry effort by world champion Wenjun Ju in the eighth round. The 16-year-old American Carissa Yip stunned Wenjun Ju in a 61-move game that helped Humpy to take sole lead as she won her 8th game with ease.