Humpy will not enjoy any advantage because she had lost to the 17-year-old Chinese on both the occasions they met in the same championships. Hou Yifan is not at the peak of her rating now but that does not mean that she is less stronger. In fact, she recently won a tournament convincingly, but somehow she also returned some poor results thereafter to go down under the 2600-mark again.
Hou Yifan qualified for the title match as the 2010 champion while Humpy had a right to challenge her after she came second to Yifan in the Grand Prix series 2009-2011. The difference between the two earlier meetings between Humpy and Hou Yifan and the current one is that now the Chinese is the world title holder and so she could be under more pressure than Humpy.
The Indian will also hope that the format (match) would help her test the Chinese more as there is scope to come back even if she loses a game. In the earlier meetings, Humpy lost once in tiebreaker and then in a two-game match in 2010 in the semifinals.
One of the interesting rule changes for this match is that the colours will be reversed after game four (the player with white in game one plays game five with black). The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.
The champion will be the one to score 5.5 points first. If the scores are level after the regular 10 games, after a new drawing of colors, four tie-break games will be played, with 25 minutes for each player and an increment of 10 seconds after each move.
In these games the players do not need to record the moves – the arbiters will do that instead (the player on the move may stop the clocks and consult the arbiter’s score sheet and to find out if her next move will produce a threefold repetition or invoke the 50 moves rule).
Hou Yifan is holding the title after 2010 Women World Championship while Humpy Koneru had a right to challenge her after she became second in the Grand Prix circle 2009-2011 Chief arbiter Panagiotis Nikolopoulos has explained that “zero tolerance” rule which requires chess players to be seated at their board when the games are scheduled to start, would also be in force.
He also noted that players are free to offer a draw anytime according with the regulations and “no-draw offer” is not specified for the match. The prize fund for this match is 200,000 euros. The winner takes 60 percent and 40 percent goes to the loser if the match ends within the 10 regular games. In case the winner is decided by tie-break games, the winner takes 55 percent.
Schedule: Games 1-2:November 14-15; Rest day: November 16; Games 3-4: November 17-18; Rest day: Nov 19; Games 5-6: Nov 20-21; Rest day: Nov 22; Games 7-8: Nov 23-24; Rest day: Nov 25; Games 9-10 and tiebreaks: Nov 26-27.