Hou Yifan Clinches First in the Grand Prix Series, Guarantees Herself a Slot in the 2015 Women's World Championship Match
Hou Yifan hasn't yet won the final event of the Grand Prix series (in Sharjah), but she doesn't need to. All she needs is to finish ahead of Humpy Koneru, and that is now guaranteed, as she has a three point lead over her rival with two rounds remaining. This means that if Hou loses her title in the women's world championship knockout tournament in October, she'll have qualified for a match with the knockout winner next year. If on the other hand she wins the KO, then since FIDE apparently doesn't want to watch Hou play a match against herself Humpy will get to face her by virtue of her second-place finish in the current Grand Prix series.
Two other bits of interest from the tournament. First, while Hou has had an excellent tournament, she's currently in second behind her countrywoman Ju Wenjun, half a point behind. Second, while Hou was at one point very close to overtaking Judit Polgar for #1 on the women's rating list, draws in the last two games have pushed her back a little, and she trails Polgar by 6.5 points. Not a lot, but probably enough for Polgar's lead to survive for at least another month.