Carissa Yip Defeats Ju Wenjun as Humpy Koneru Leads Cairns

In a dazzling upset, IM-elect Carissa Yip defeated Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun with the black pieces at the penultimate round of the Cairns Cup. Yip had a terrible start at the elite women's event, but in the second half, her  formidable attacking prowess has come to the fore.

[pgn] [Event "Cairns Cup"] [Date "2020.02.15"] [White "Ju, Wenjun"] [Black "Yip, Carissa"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C70"] [WhiteElo "2583"] [BlackElo "2412"] [PlyCount "114"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "China"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "CHN"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 g6 5. d4 exd4 6. c3 Bg7 7. cxd4 b5 8. Bb3 Nge7 9. d5 Na5 10. Bd2 Nxb3 11. Qxb3 c5 12. Bc3 f6 13. a3 d6 14. h4 O-O 15. Nbd2 Qe8 16. O-O Bd7 17. Qc2 Rc8 18. b3 h6 19. a4 Ra8 20. axb5 axb5 21. Rxa8 Qxa8 22. Ra1 Qb7 23. Qa2 Nc8 24. Ne1 b4 25. Bb2 Bb5 26. Nc2 Bd3 27. Ne3 Qe7 28. Re1 Nb6 29. Qa1 Ra8 30. Qc1 h5 31. Nec4 Nxc4 32. Nxc4 Ra2 33. g3 Kh7 34. Nd2 Bh6 35. f4 Qa7 36. Nc4 Qd7 37. Re3 Bxc4 38. bxc4 Qg4 39. Kh1 Bxf4 40. gxf4 Qxh4+ 41. Kg1 Qg4+ 42. Kh1 Qxf4 43. Qb1 Rxb2 44. Qxb2 Qxe3 45. Qxf6 Qxe4+ 46. Kh2 b3 47. Qf7+ Kh6 48. Qf8+ Kg5 49. Qd8+ Kf5 50. Qd7+ Ke5 51. Qg7+ Kf4 52. Qf6+ Kg4 53. Qe6+ Qf5 54. Qxd6 Qf2+ 55. Kh1 Qf3+ 56. Kh2 Qh3+ 57. Kg1 Qg3+ 0-1 [/pgn]
Carissa's star queen manoeuver 35....Qa7, compelled the knight to c4, which left the white king defenseless after 36...Qd7! and the well calculated 39...Bxf4!
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The public reaction to Carissa's win was resounding, as cheers were heard all over the Saint Louis chess campus. In her post-game interview, Carissa Yip was delightful in pinpointing other career highlights, such as her victory against 2650+ player and SLU student Dariusz Swiercz, qualifying for the IM title, and beating her dad for the first time.

The top female chess player in history, and one of the best attacking players of all time, GM Judit Polgar visited the livestream today. She touched on her favorite games and her philosophy on encouraging girls to reach their full potential. You can watch the full replay of the round below. Grandmaster Humpy Koneru scored a quick victory against last year's champion Valentina Gunina after a devastating piece of opening preparation that she had also used against Anatoly Karpov.

[pgn] [Event "Cairns Cup"] [Date "2020.02.15"] [White "Koneru, Humpy"] [Black "Gunina, Valentina"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D48"] [WhiteElo "2580"] [BlackElo "2461"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "India"] [BlackTeam "Russia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "IND"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. O-O a6 10. e4 c5 11. d5 c4 12. Bc2 Qc7 13. dxe6 fxe6 14. Ng5 Qc6 15. Qf3 h6 16. Qh3 hxg5 17. Qxh8 Ne5 18. Bxg5 Nf7 19. Qh4 Be7 20. Rad1 Qc5 21. e5 Nxe5 22. Bxf6 Bxf6 23. Qh5+ Ke7 24. Be4 Bc6 25. Bxc6 Qxc6 26. Rfe1 Nd3 27. Nd5+ Kf8 28. Nxf6 gxf6 29. Qh8+ Kf7 30. Qh7+ Ke8 31. Re3 Nf4 32. Qg8+ Ke7 33. Qg7+ Ke8 34. Rd4 c3 35. bxc3 1-0[/pgn]
This puts Humpy a half a point ahead of last year's runner-up, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, with one round to go. In the final round, Kosteniuk faces Ju Wenjun with white while Humpy plays her compatriot Harika Dronavalli. Playoffs on Monday will break any tie for first. Tune in for commentary from Yasser Seirawan, Jennifer Shahade, and more starting at 12:50 CT.
IM-elect Carissa Yip