It was an incredible conclusion to a remarkable journey. Lufei Ruan had managed the feat of a last-minute win in the classical games to get anotehr chance in the tie-breaks, but in the end her higher-rated opponent, also known for her ability in rapid games, dominated and came through with a strong 3-1 score.
Many a player would have been seriously rattled by that loss in the fourth game, but whether a tribute to her strength of character, or the typical ability of youth to forget yesterday’s disappointments, 16-year-old Hou Yifan was her impeccable self today, and relentlessly took advantage of her opponent’s mistakes. The hitherto youngest finalist in world championship history, has now crowned her efforts by also toppling Maia Chiburdanidze’s record as the youngest world champion in history. Garry Kasparov called immediately after Hou Yifan's victory, commenting that Maia was not much older when she beat the great Nona Gaprindashvili 8½-6½ -- a very tough battle.