"The World" wins against Kazakhstan in Astana

by André Schulz
4/20/2023 – In Astana, in parallel to the World Championship match, a team of the best Kazakh women players played a blitz and rapid match against a team from "The World". "The World" team won both events, the rapid and the blitz match. "The World" team was led by former Women's World Champion Hou Yifan, who is still the world's number on the women's ranking list. In an interview she revealed her thoughts about the development of women's chess. | Photos: FIDE/Anna Shtourman

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As part of the programme for the World Championship match between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren, a women's exhibition match was held in Astana between a Kazakh and a world team. Each team consisted of eight players, including four junior players of different ages.

The Kazakh team featured the country's best players, including Bibisara Assaubayeva, Zhansaya Abdumalik and Dinara Saduakassova. The world team was led by Hou Yifan, who has largely retired from professional chess, and Harika Dronavalli.

"The World"

The team from Kazakhstan

The women played eight games of rapid chess and eight games of blitz. The rapid games were played with a time control of 15+10, the blitz games had a time control of 3+2.

The World Team proved to be the better team and won the first day of play 18.5:13.5. On the second day of rapid chess, the Kazakh women were able to reach a 16-16 tie, but could not make up the deficit from day 1 and the World Team won the rapid match 34.5-29.5. However, with a score of 7.0/8 Kazakh U16 player Alua Nurmanova was the best individual player in the rapid match.

The World Team also proved to be better in the blitz match, winning 38.5:25.5. The best blitz players were Nurgyul Salimova of Bulgaria and Afruza Khamdamova of Uzbekistan, who both scored 6.5 points from the eight rounds. Afruza Khamdamova also remained the only undefeated player among the 16 participants in the Blitz tournament.

Somewhat disappointing was the result of the two Kazakh national players Zhanzaya Abdumalik (2.5/8) and Dinara Saduakassova (1.5/8) in the blitz tournament.

Live video of day 3 of the match

Final result

Kazakhstan 55:73 The World


Kazakhstan 29.5:34.5 The World


Kazachstan  25.5:38.5 The World

The prize money was an impressive 50,000 USD. The winning team received 30,000 USD, with 20,000 USD going equally to the top players and 10,000 USD to the youth players. The second-placed team still received 20,000 USD.

The blitz games

The rapid games

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