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by Peter Doggers from Chess.com, 09/08/14

Hou Yifan of China became the winner of the overall 2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix, finishing 85 GP points ahead of Humpy Koneru of India. She has now secured a place in the 2015 women's world championship match, no matter how she will score in the 2014 women's world championship knockout tournament.

The reigning women's world champion shared first place at the final tournament in Sharjah, UAE with her compatriot Ju Wenjun, who finished in third place in the overall standings.

In 2014. Hou Yifan has made it clear that, without the retired Judit Polgar, she's in a league of her own. By finishing first in the last three (of six) Grand Prix tournaments, she became the convincing winner of the overall GP.

Moreover, the Chinese GM got her rating to 2667. That's only eight points below Polgar's 2675, and would be good for a 64th place in the rating list of September. In the women's live list, Humpy Koneru (2581) and Ju Wenjun (2580) are far behind.

The latter made an impressive jump with a 19.3-point-gain in Sharjah that was good for a shared first place, the biggest success so far for the 23-year-old Chinese GM.

She topped the standings together with her famous compatriot after eight rounds, and even took a half-point lead with the win in round nine.

Hou Yifan could have overtaken Polgar in the rating list, but instead dropped some points after draws with Elina Danielian and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs. But she caught Ju Wenjun in the final round, thanks to the following win. Alina l'Ami, who recentely got the IM title, was completely out of form and scored three draws and eight losses in Sharjah.

The Grand Prix in Sharjah was the last of six tournaments in the 2013-2014 Women's Grand Prix Series. Hou Yifan won the overall series because she finished ahead of Humpy Koneru, and thus secured a place in the 2015 women's world championship match even if she loses her title later this year in the knockout championship.

That knockout championship is very much in doubt at the moment. It is scheduled for October, but FIDE hasn't announced a host city or sponsor yet.

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