2015 Women's World Championship is announced

by Albert Silver
1/27/2015 – After the alarming news that the 2014 Women's World Championship had been put on hold with no definition in sight, due to lack of sponsorship, FIDE has finally published the dates, location and prize fund. The event will be held in Sochi, Russia, it will start in less than two months, and the players have two weeks to sign the contracts. Here are the full details.

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As in the previous World Championship, the tournament is scheduled to be a Knockout tournament, with 64 players, subject to confirmation. The tournament is to be held from March 16 (Opening ceremony) to April 7 (Closing ceremony) in Sochi, Russia. The players have until February 4 to send in the signed contracts or be excluded.

In view of the recent uncertainty as to the World Championship between Anand and Carlsen, when the title-holder delayed signing the contract due to concerns over the venue in Sochi, this concern is repeated here, and hopefully the disaster of the 2008 Women's World Championship will be avoided.

As a reminder, due to concerns over the announced location in Nalchik, Russia in 2008, in protest over the Russo-Georgian War in 2008 and safety concerns, eleven players did not show up, leading to some players having no opponent, and some matches with no players.

The list of players qualified for the tournament at the time of writing is:

From World Women's Championships 2012-2013

1 Hou, Yifan
CHN
g
World Champion (2615.75)
2 Ushenina, Anna
UKR
g
Runner up WWCCM 2013 (2493.58)
3 Ju, Wenjun
CHN
g
Semifinalist 2012 (2525.58)
4 Harika, Dronavalli
IND
g
Semifinalist 2012 (2491.00)

The final of the 2012 Knockout tournament in which Anna Ushenina defeated
Antoaneta Stefanova for the title

From average Rating List 2/2013 to 1/2014

5 Koneru, Humpy
IND
g
2604.25
6 Zhao, Xue
CHN
g
2565.58
7 Stefanova, Antoaneta
BUL
g
2506.66
8 Muzychuk, Mariya
UKR
wgm
2487.08
9 Tan, Zhongyi
CHN
wgm
2485.16

World Girl Junior Champions 2012-2013

10 Guo, Qi
CHN
wgm
Champion 2012 (2442.75)
11 Goryachkina, Aleksandra
RUS
wgm
Champion 2013 (2408.75)

28 players from European Women's Championships 2012 & 2013

12 Gunina, Valentina
RUS
g
2012
13 Kosintseva, Tatiana
RUS
g
2012
14 Muzychuk, Anna
UKR
g
2012
15 Cmilyte, Viktorija
LTU
g
2012
16 Sebag, Marie
FRA
g
2012
17 Lagno, Kateryna
RUS
g
2012
18 Danielian, Elina
ARM
g
2012
19 Khotenashvili, Bela
GEO
g
2012
20 Pogonina, Natalija
RUS
wgm
2012
21 Kosteniuk, Alexandra
RUS
g
2012
22 Hoang, Thanh Trang
HUN
g
2012
23 Khurtsidze, Nino
GEO
m
2012
24 Dzagnidze, Nana
GEO
g
2012
25 Melia, Salome
GEO
m
2012
26 Mkrtchian, Lilit
ARM
m
2013
27 Socko, Monika
POL
g
2013
28 Kashlinskaya, Alina
RUS
wgm
2013
29 Arabidze, Meri
GEO
m
2013
30 Kovanova, Baira
RUS
wgm
2013
31 Girya, Olga
RUS
wgm
2013
32 Ozturk, Kubra
TUR
wgm
2013
33 Cramling, Pia
SWE
g
2013
34 Javakhishvili, Lela
GEO
m
2013
35 Atalik, Ekaterina
TUR
m
2013
36 Milliet, Sophie
FRA
m
2013
37 Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan
SCO
g
2013
38 Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina
RUS
m
2013
39 Daulyte, Deimante
LTU
m
2013

Eight players from Americas

40 Zuriel, Marisa
ARG
wm
Continental
41 Krush, Irina
USA
g
Zone 2.1
42 Abrahamyan, Tatev
USA
wgm
Zone 2.1
43 Zatonskih, Anna
USA
wgm
Zone 2.1
44 Yuan, Yuanling
CAN
wm
Zone 2.2
45 Marrero Lopez, Yaniet
CUB
wgm
Zone 2.3
46 Cori T., Deysi
PER
wgm
Zone 2.4
47 Lujan, Carolina
ARG
m
Zone 2.5

Twelve players from Asia/Oceania

48 Huang, Qian
CHN
wgm
Continental 2013
49 Sukandar, Irine Kharisma
INA
m
Continental 2012
50 Zhu, Chen
QAT
g
Zone 3.1
51 Shamima, Akter Liza
BAN
wm
Zone 3.2
52 Nguyen, Thi Thanh An
VIE
wgm
Zone 3.3
53 Nakhbayeva, Guliskhan
KAZ
wgm
Zone 3.4
54 Wang, Jue
CHN
wgm
Zone 3.5
55 Shen, Yang
CHN
m
Zone 3.5
56 Lei, Tingjie
CHN
wgm
Zone 3.5
57 Zhang, Xiaowen
CHN
wgm
Zone 3.5
58 Berezina, Irina
AUS
m
Zone 3.6
59 Gomes, Mary Ann
IND
wgm
Zone 3.7

Three players from Africa

60 Wafa, Shrook
EGY
wgm
Continental 2013
61 Moaataz, Ayah
EGY
wm
Continental 2013
62 Mezioud, Amina
ALG
wm
Continental 2013

Two nominees of the FIDE President

63 Zhukova, Natalia
UKR
g
Nominee
64 To be announced
TBA
 
Nominee

As the winner of the Grand Prix cycle preceding the championship, Hou Yifan
was given the right to play Ushenina for the title, which she duly won

Financial conditions

The tournament regulations state "The Championship has a total prize fund of USD 450,000 (four hundred and fifty thousand dollars), to be distributed to the players in accordance with the regulations of the Championship. There will not be any FIDE deduction of 20% from the player’s prize fund."

Although this is the much the same as in 2012 and 2010, which had the same prize pool, but with 2010 costs. The breakdown, based on the 2012 championship was US$3,750 for first round losers, US$5,500 for the second round, US$8,000 for the third. Losing quarter-finalists picked up US$12,000$, the semi-finalists US$20,000. The runner up received US$ 30,000 and the winner got US$60,000.

Bear in mind that there will be 32 first-round losers and many will probably be looking at financial loss. Consider the costs:

Costs to participate

Hotel - The regulations state "All the players qualified for the Championship must stay at the official Championship hotel(s), and the name of this hotel(s) shall be announced later by FIDE." This means the players must blindly accept this hotel choice, by contract, and will pay whatever those costs may be.

Airfare - Obviously the airfare is another financial burden.

Taxes - All winnings are subject to taxation of the local hosts, which does not include income taxes the players may pay in their home countries. Inasmuch as Russia is concerned, foreign individuals present in Russia for less than 183 days are subject to 30 percent income tax. Unless the players' countries have double taxation treaties with Russia, they will then be subject to taxes on their winnings in their home country.

Naturally, we wish the players all the success in the world, but it is certainly a concern that a high number of the competitors vying for the highest title may leave worse financially than had they not participated. Bear in mind these are not idle concerns.

Open letter by Women's World Ch. participants 

1/18/2011 – It was an exciting event, and we reported enthusiastically. But as it turns out not all the players were enchanted by the conditions of the WWCCh in Antakya/Hatay (Turkey). They feel they were overcharged, unappreciated and had to play in substandard conditions. Eighteen participants have signed the highly critical letter – to which FIDE has promised to respond. Plus: a new NYT article.

Click to see Player's Contract (PDF)

Click for list of qualifiers (PDF)



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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momokanishizawa5 momokanishizawa5 3/19/2015 11:43
by contract, and will pay whatever those costs may be.

now wonder chess isn't progressing at all compare to esports (relatively new) where "travel + hotel is free" + in TI (dota2) the price pool is $10,930,698 ($9,330,698 added by the community).

Chess organizers should done better.
ff2017 ff2017 1/28/2015 12:21
Hopefully Hou Yifan can keep winning the Knockout championships and therefore bypass the need to play in the women's grand prixe. While the series is probably pretty lucrative financially for her it'll eliminate the need to continually play relatively weaker players into order for her to guarantee retention or the opportunity to retain title. She can just gain the title in the Knockout and retain it by beating the Winner of the Grand Prix.

She can then concentrate on winning invitationals and her Achilles Heel, the Chinese Chess Championships.
Nyul747 Nyul747 1/27/2015 08:08
Rooting for Yifan. She is beautiful! :). Good luck!
Armandochess Armandochess 1/27/2015 06:15
Omg great notice about that girls.

Nice match and congratulations to Hou Yifan !

Nice girls like http://www.escortintime.com/

Best.
ChiliBean ChiliBean 1/27/2015 03:24
Waiting patiently to hopefully know if all three Americans will be there or at least one of them to represent the USA.
ashperov ashperov 1/27/2015 08:25
lol what benifit did all those who voted for the current fide president recieve? Do they really approve of this kind of organisation when fide is in charge. (unlike Tata Steel that relies on private organisation).
I know chess players are suppose to be goofy, but by shooting your sport in its own foot seems a bit much. Elections of this manner should be well informed. Only countries have the excuse that the masses are not all well informed. This should not be the case with chess!
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