The Women's World Championship begins

by André Schulz
3/18/2015 – It would be surprising not to see any surprises at the Women's World Championship. After all, it is a knock-out tournament. But the first round brought hardly any upsets, the favorites won or drew, hoping for better opportunities in the second game. With one exception: Yuan Yuanling used a lethal counter to win against Marya Muzychuk.

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Tournament conditions

The Women's World Chess Championship takes place from March 17 – April 7 in Sochi, Russia. The knock-out tournament is attended by 64 players, including the former World Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Anna Ushenina (Ukraine), and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), the three-time Russian champion Valentina Gunina, the World Vice-Champion Humpy Koneru (India), and other leading grandmasters. Unfortunately, the reigning champion Hou Yifan was unable to come due to personal reasons, but she will still have an opportunity to challenge the new champion in a match, as the winner of the FIDE Grand Prix.

The first five rounds consist of mini-matches of two games with 90 minutes per 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with bonus 30 seconds per each move. The final match consists of four games.

If the match score is tied, its winner is determined on tiebreak: two rapid games of 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move. If the score remains equal, the players proceed to another two games with a slightly faster time control – 10 minutes + 10 seconds per move. If these games do not determine the winner as well, then there are two blitz games: 5 minutes + 3 seconds per move. Finally, if the score is still even, there is an Armageddon game: White has five minutes, Black has four minutes, and a three-second increment per move after the move 61.

Replica of a Lunochod lunar rover at the "Galactica"

Security check

The Women's World Championship started with a certain amount of delay - it was originally scheduled for autumn 2014 - twelve draws and 20 wins. In the majority of games the favorites prevailed, but there was one big surprise: Yuan Yuanling won against Mariya Muzychuk.


During the Chess Olympiad in Tromso 2014 Daniel King had the opportunity for a short and interesting interview with the Canadian player:

A quick chat with Yuan Yuanling (Tromso)


Top seed Humpy Koneru

Ju Wenjun is one of the favorites to win the title

Tatev Abrahamyan from the US

Former Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk

Antoaneta Stefanova - she also is a former Women's World Champion

Hoang Than Trang

Sophie Milliet and Irina Krush

Tatiana Kosintseva

Anna Ushenina, winner of the last knock-out World Championship

The first move

Informal: Andrey Filatov

Results of the first round

Koneru, Humpy IND 1-0 Moaataz, Ayah EGY
Wafa, Shrook EGY 0-1 Ju, Wenjun CHN
Muzychuk, Anna UKR 1-0 Mezioud, Amina ALG
Shamima, Akter Liza BAN 0-1 Cmilyte, Viktorija LTU
Kosteniuk, Alexandra RUS 1-0 Berezina, Irina AUS
Baginskaite, Camilla USA 0-1 Gunina, Valentina RUS
Zhao, Xue CHN 1-0 Zuriel, Marisa ARG
Yuan, Yuanling CAN 1-0 Muzychuk, Mariya UKR
Stefanova, Antoaneta BUL ½-½ Nguyen, Thi Than An VIE
Ozturk, Kubra TUR 0-1 Khotenashvili, Bela GEO
Cramling, Pia SWE 1-0 Hejazipour, Mitra IRI
Abrahamyan, Tatev USA 0-1 Harika, Dronavalli IND
Danielian, Elina ARM ½-½ Marrero Lopez, Yaniet CUB
Nakhbayeva, Guliskhan KAZ ½-½ Tan, Zhongyi CHN
Ushenina, Anna UKR 1-0 Zhang, Xiaowen CHN
Lujan, Carolina ARG 1-0 Galliamova, Alisa RUS
Kosintseva, Tatiana RUS ½-½ Gomes, Mary Ann IND
Wang, Jue CHN 0-1 Sebag, Marie FRA
Javakhishvili, Lela GEO 1-0 Guramishvili, Sopiko GEO
Arabidze, Meri GEO ½-½ Paehtz, Elisabeth GER
Krush, Irina USA 1-0 Milliet, Sophie FRA
Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan SCO 1-0 Hoang, Thanh Trang HUN
Huang, Qian CHN ½-½ Kovanova, Baira RUS
Gaponenko, Inna UKR ½-½ Zhukova, Natalia UKR
Socko, Monika POL ½-½ Daulyte, Deimante LTU
Sukandar, Irine Kharisma INA ½-½ Melia, Salome GEO
Girya, Olga RUS 1-0 Atalik, Ekaterina TUR
Kashlinskaya, Alina RUS ½-½ Shen, Yang CHN
Khurtsidze, Nino GEO 0-1 Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina RUS
Mkrtchian, Lilit ARM ½-½ Goryachkina, Aleksandra RUS
Pogonina, Natalija RUS ½-½ Guo, Qi CHN
Cori T., Deysi PER 0-1 Lei, Tingjie CHN

Impressions of the press conferences and the opening ceremony

Press conference with Anastasya Karlovich, Humpy Koneru, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Andrey Filatov and Alexandra Kosteniuk

Humpy Koneru, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Andrey Filatov

Press officer Anastasya Karlovich, Humpy Koneru

The players at the opening ceremony

The dignitaries

Official speech by Andrey Filatov

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov



Date Event Time
March, 16 Arrival of the participants
Opening Ceremony
Players’ meeting – after the official part of the Opening Ceremony
19.30 (preliminary)
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 case of the absence of tie breaks

Photos: Etery Kublashvili, Vladimir Barsky


Pairings tree...


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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