Closing ceremony: Mariya Muzychuk is crowned

by Albert Silver
4/7/2015 – The official closing ceremony of the Women's World Chess Championship took place on April 6. 64 players from 28 countries competed for the chess crown from March 16 to April 5. In the final match Mariya Muzychuk from Ukraine defeated Natalia Pogonina from Russia by 2.5-1.5 and became the 15th World Champion. In the high-profile affair, unique gifts were given. Pictures and comments.

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Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony was attended by Arkady Dvorkovich, Chairman of the Organizing
Committee and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the FIDE President,
and Andrey Filatov, the RCF President

The champion and the runner-up received gold and silver medals made by the Adamas
Fine Jewelry as well as special cups by the Imperial Porcelain Factory

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Arkady Dvorkovich begin the proceedings

Harika Dronavalli, who tied for the third place, also received a memorable gift. The players
expressed their gratitude to organizers and sponsors for the wonderfully organized event
and expressed their hope to see many more tournaments played in Sochi. 

Runner-up Natalia Pogonina

22-year-old Mariya Muzychuk receives her crown and award

If you look closer you will notice the crown is in fact composed of chess pieces

Outside the match, Mariya and Natalia have been close friends for years

In his keynote, Arkady Dvorkovich, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee and Russian Deputy Prime Minister, commented, “We did our best to make the best women players of the world feel comfortable in the mountains that hosted the Winter Olympics only a year ago. I think your outstanding games prove that we did our job well. They were fully in line with the airy and slightly provocative logo of the championship that we approved in due course. I want to stress that Russia will remain hospitable to all chess players in the world.”

During the festivities, a giant FIDE cake was presented. Andrey Filatov, Mariya Muzychuk,
and Kirsan Ilymzhinov wait to cut the first piece.

What's a party without a selfie?

Though some wondered about the feeling regarding the match between a Ukrainian player and a Russian one, Andrey Filatov, the president of the Russian Chess Federation said, “To be honest, before the championship I dreamed about the Russian-Ukrainian final. As a student of the Ukrainian chess school and a President of the Russian Chess Federation, I was torn between my two Motherlands. Of course, I supported Natalia Pogonina enthusiastically, who made a heroic comeback in three matches and all in the very last game. And now with all my heart I congratulate Mariya Muzychuk, who won the title in a fair sporting contest. Becoming a World Champion at the age of 22 is truly spectacular!”

Excerpts from the press conference:

Kirsan Nikolaevich, do you already know the venue of the coming Women's World Championship Match?

(NB: According to the regulations, the new World Champion has to defend her title at the end of the year in a match with the ex-World Champion Hou Yifan, who won the right by winning the Grand Prix).

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov - We already have offers, and in the end of the month we will discuss this issue at the Presidential Board in China. China already submitted their bid. I think after Mariya's victory, Ukraine, or, more precisely, Lviv with its excellent chess club, will also consider submitting a bid. 

Andrey Filatov - I would like to thank the participants of this brilliant tournament once again for creating such a wonderful feast. Even at the Men's World Championship we did not see such atmosphere. The whole Russia and the whole Ukraine rooted for their girls. I received countless calls from Dnepropetrovsk, people congratulated me as the RCF President with Mariya's victory. I am grateful to Arkady Vladimirovich for outstanding organization of the championship, and to Kirsan Nikolaevich and FIDE for choosing Sochi for this occasion.

First channel interviews the new World Champion, Mariya Muzychuk 

A question to both players: how this World Championship will affect your life?

Mariya Muzychuk - I think it will affect my life in a big way. Hopefully I will gain confidence, gain energy, and will be able to play calmer and more creatively in the next competitions.

Natalia Pogonina - I don't know if it affected me. No, actually, my result at the Championship allows me to participate in the FIDE Grand Prix series for the first time. It means more opportunities for me, which is a good thing.

The winner of the Women's World Championship can take part in the Men's World Cup. Mariya, how do you rate your chances?

Mariya Muzychuk - Yes, this is a very good news. It is always interesting to play with the strongest men grandmasters. I will try to prepare well and hope to win at least one match.

Arkady Dvorkovich - During the Carlsen-Anand match in Sochi we organized the Tal Memorial blitz tournament. There was only was woman playing – Sasha Kosteniuk. I thought we should invite more ladies to such tournament next time! Perhaps we will conduct a similar blitz or rapid event next year, or maybe in the end of this year.

A fond farewell to Sochi

Click here to see all the reports on the 2015 Women World Championship

Report by Albert Silver and Eteri Kublashvili
Photos by Eteri Kublashvili, Anastasia Karlovich, and Vladimir Barsky

Final results

Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Pogonina, Natalia RUS 2456 ½ 0 ½ ½            1.5
Muzychuk, Mariya UKR 2526 ½ ½ ½            2.5


Round 1 - 64 players
March 17 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
March 18 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
March 19 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
Round 2 - 32 players
March 20 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
March 21 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
March 22 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
Round 3 - 16 players
March 23 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
March 24 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
March 25 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
Round 4 - 8 players
March 26 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
March 27 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
March 28 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
Round 5 - 4 players
March 29 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
March 30 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
March 31 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
Rest day - April, 1
Round 6 - 2 players
April 2 Game 1 3:00 p.m. local time
April 3 Game 2 3:00 p.m. local time
April 4 Game 3 3:00 p.m. local time
April 5 Game 4 3:00 p.m. local time
April 6 Tie breaks 3:00 p.m. local time
April 7 Closing Ceremony*  
*Closing Ceremony can be shifted to
April 6 in the absence of tie breaks


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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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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