Anna Ushenina wins FIDE Women’s Speed Chess Championship

by ChessBase
7/21/2020 – Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) became the winner of the Women’s Speed Championship. In a dramatic Super Final that was decided in the last bullet game, she defeated the reigning European Blitz Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk 14½:13½. | Photo: David Llada

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Blitz, faster blitz and bullet

Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) became the winner of the Women’s Speed Championship. In a dramatic Super Final that was decided in the last bullet game, she defeated the reigning European Blitz Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk 14½:13½.

In this marathon duel full of twists and turns the opponents were worthy of each other. During 5+1 part Kosteniuk was slightly more precise and cool-headed at the critical moments - especially in time scramble - and pulled ahead 5½:3½.

Known as an expert in faster time controls, Ushenina showed her prowess in the 3+1 portion of the match (3 minutes for the game plus 1-second increments per move). The Ukrainian stormed back by winning three straight games and took the lead, but Kosteniuk recovered from the shock and leveled the score going into the final 1+1 stage.

The final portion of this clash turned into a real thriller. After Ushenina edged ahead by two points with just about twelve minutes remaining on the clock many may have thought that it was all over for the Russian. However, Alexandra reeled off two straight wins to even the score once again. It came down to the wire in the end as the victory in final see-saw bullet game tipped the scale in favor of Anna Ushenina.

“I tried to play solid chess because Alexandra is a very good player. I know that she is very strong in sharp, tactical positions and likes to attack, so I tried to avoid that… I am really happy to win the title”, said the champion in a short interview after the match.

Alexandra Kosteniuk

Alexandra Kosteniuk | Photo: David Llada

Reaching the final

The FIDE Chess.com Women's Speed Chess Championship was an online competition for female players held between June 18 and July 20, 2020. The format consisted of four separate stages.

After the Titled Swiss Tournaments and the Playoff Qualifiers, 22 players reached the Grand Prix. Each of the four Grand Prix legs was a 16-player knockout and lasted five days (including one rest day after the semifinals). 

All matches in each Grand Prix leg were divided into three segments:

  • 30-minute segment of matches with the time control 5 minutes + 1 second per move
  • 30-minute segment of matches with the time control 3 minutes + 1 second per move
  • 10-minute segment of matches with the time control 1 minute + 1 second per move

In each Grand Prix leg, every player scored cumulative Grand Prix points according to her position in the final standings. The two players who scored the highest number of cumulative Grand Prix points — Alexandra Kosteniuk and Anna Ushenina — qualified for the Super Final.

Each one of the Grand Prix legs had a total prize fund of $10,300 with $3,000 going to the winner, while the Super Final had a prize fund of $10,000 with $6,500 going to the winner and $3,500 to the runner-up. 


Final standings - Grand Prix (top 7)

Women's Grand Prix 2020


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royce campbell royce campbell 7/22/2020 03:28
First leg and finals? Another womens event given typical poor coverage on chessbase. Guinina and Lagno (and AK) wins are not trivial, and certainly more relevant than some of the articles published here during the same time frame. Congrats Anna!
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