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All good things come to an end
Lopota 677Even though Hou Yifan's tournament win has been predictable for quite a while and mathematically inevitable since yesterday, only now, after the last clock has been stopped and the last scoresheet signed, is the right moment to congratulate the World Champion for her fantastic result! And to thank everyone for a wonderful tournament!

The decisive game rate remained high in the final round, featuring a couple of 'surprise' heroes, as mentioned below.
Playing with Black against the occupant of the third place, Danielian, Hou Yifan gradually neutralized White's slight initiative and space advantage until reaching an obviously drawn opposite-colored bishops ending. As if players did not wish to part with the wonderful chess experience in Lopota, the game continued for nine more moves before agreeing on a draw.
1The outside weather didn't improve for the tenth round and the players start displaying symptoms of acute tiredness, understandable for such long and tense tournaments. The round ended earlier than usual and many of the participants do not hide that their reserves of energy are close to the bottom, despite the pleasant geographical location and exquisite Georgian cuisine.
Hou Yifan's relatively short, but nevertheless entertaining, draw with Kosteniuk ensured the World Champion's clear tournament win with one round to go. By winning against Muzychuk, Ju Wenjun steps a bit closer to the already unreachable leader and trails now by 1,5 points.
Lightning Bolt
14You may recognize the nickname of the world's fastest sprinter - Usain Bolt. In this tournament we also have one woman that is outrunning the competition: Hou Yifan. With just two rounds to go, she has a lead of two points and is therefore sure of at least shared first. Displaying a perseverance and ambition already 'not required' by her tournament situation, Hou Yifan won with Black against Muzychuk in only 28 moves!

The meteorological conditions have suddenly deteriorated in Lopota and this was reflected in some of the today's games, featuring hair rising and inexplicable blunders. Or maybe it was the other way around, the skies were crying out in rains at the unfortunate player's unhappiness... And the abundance of decisive games was similar to that of the rain: four out of six and it could have been more!
Where mama means father
48After it became clear that I couldn't attend all the activities planned for the second free day (although, quite often I wish to be in two places at once), I took the Solomonic decision of spending the time in my room, in leisure. But something in Georgia's magic pulled me out of this sensible plan. There is more than all the beautiful things I have described before, there are a lot of small and apparently 'insignifiant' details confering the place a unique and irrepetible character. For instance, where else in the wide World "mama" would mean father and "deda" would stand for mother?!
Missed opportunities
22The high fighting spirit animating the 8th round was not reflected on the score table. All the games ended in draws with the exception of Stefanova-Muminova, won by the former Women World Champion.
For the first time in the tournament, Hou Yifan seemed to be under pressure when Harika made an original pawn sacrifice for the initiative.
There are no big shakes in the classification, Hou Yifan keeps her one and a half points advantage over her trailers, Ju Wenjun and Dzagnidze. So this may be a good moment to learn something about the players' secret dreams and aspirations, if they had not been chess players.
Dzagnidze and Danielian are confident they would have been sportives anyway, with an inclination for basketball for the former and tennis for the latter. The most exotic option belongs to Ju Wenjun, who would have chosen to be a cooking teacher!
The others tend to keep chess on the top position, Hou Yifan would have been happy to play chess with her idol, Bobby Fischer, while Kosteniuk and others would have been delighted to play with other great players from the past.
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