Kateryna Lagno wins FIDE Chess.com 2022 Women’s Speed Chess Championship

GM Kateryna Lagno defeated the defending champion, GM Hou Yifan, in the final of the FIDE Chess.com 2022 Women’s Speed Chess Championship on Friday, September 2. It was a riveting duel of two worthy opponents that came down to the wire in the end.

Lagno pulled ahead in the first 5+1, but some connection problems coupled with Hou’s determination and resilience did not allow her to win this stage (4.5-4.5). It should be noted that Hou showed real sportsmanship and agreed to add her opponent two minutes on the clock after Katerina got disconnected.

Hou Yifan grabbed the lead in the 3+1 portion in which the opponents exchanged heavy blows and kept it to the very end, winning the second segment by a minimal margin of 5.5-4.5.

Lagno immediately levelled the score in the final 1+1 stretch and then stringed together three victories and broke away. Hou responded with two straight wins sending the match to the last decisive game. Needing a victory to reach Armageddon, she spent precious seconds in a very complicated endgame and eventually forfeited on time.

In her short post-game interview with Alexandra Kosteniuk and Irina Krush, Lagno shared how she coped with the connectivity issue: “Everything was quite good from the start, but then I got disconnected, and somehow I just couldn’t put myself together after that. I understand that happens to Chinese players quite often, but I was like: ‘Not today! Not now!’ And then… it was always a very close match.”

Kateryna also expressed gratitude to her husband, GM Alexander Grischuk, who helped with opening preparation.

Lagno earned $9,214.29 in prize money for this victory and a total of $20,860.11 in this event. Hou collected $2,785.71 from this match, $14,399.85 in total.

The FIDE Chess.com 2022 Women’s Speed Chess Championship is an online event where titled women players will play a series of blitz and bullet matches for a share of the $70,000 prize fund.

More info of the FIDE Chess.com Women’s Speed Chess Championship can be found here.