Women's WCh. G1: A quiet Italian

by Albert Silver
3/3/2016 – The fanfare was a tribute to the passion and enthusiasm of Ukraine and especially Lviv as the match got underway. The media was present in force and game one was started. Playing black, Hou Yifan caught her opponent off-guard as she opted for an Italian game, and her choice was vindicated as Muzychuk failed to get anything from the opening. Report with GM analysis.

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2016 Women's World Chess Championship

The Women’s World Chess Championship Match 2016 between the current World Champion Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine and Challenger Hou Yifan of China (former World Champion 2010-2012, 2013-2015) takes place in Lviv, Ukraine, on March 1-18, 2016. The first game is scheduled to start at 3 pm local time on 2nd of March 2016. You can watch the games live in our broadcast window at the bottom of this page.

Game one

Photos by Vitaliy Hrabar for the official site

Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadoviy, together with six-year-old talent Kalyna Furmanova shares
his impressions with local journalists

“It’s a great honour for our city to welcome three-time Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan and current Women’s World Champion champion Mariya Muzychuk in Lviv. It’s going to be an interesting match between them and the next chess queen will be decided here in Lviv. I wish everyone to enjoy the games”, said the Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovyi.

On March 2nd, 2016 the first game of Women’s World Chess Championship Match was started.
Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovyi and one of the most promising young players of Ukraine 6-year-old
Kalyna Furmanova made the first move, e2-e4, with the white pieces.

‘The Women’s World Chess Championship Match has begun – this year chess queen will be chosen here in Lviv. I’d like to thank the organizers for the honour to make the first move. I believe everyone will enjoy the games. We want chess to become the dominant sport in our city, and in Ukraine. It’s a big responsibility to have this Match here and today is a very importnat day in the history of our city. There were no chess events of this level in Ukraine. I think this is a good start for Lviv and we hope to host other chess tournaments in the future, especially now, when every school of the city has chess lessons’, said Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi.

The media was present in force for the start of the match

Neither Women’s World Champion Maria Muzychuk, nor Hou Yifan revealed the names of their seconds

The first game finished in a draw after 31 moves and three hours of play

Hou Yifan had black and decided to switch from her usual Sicilian, and chose 1…e5. An Italian game (or Giuoco Piano) appeared on the board and the Women’s World Champion was unable to obtain any edge out of the opening. After many exchanges the game finished in a drawish ending.

Game one analyzed by GM Alejandro Ramirez


‘I believe this is a normal beginning of the match. There will be many more interesting games. Really, 1..e5 is rare move in my practice, but anyway this move is quite popular’, Hou Yifan commented.

‘I am really pleased that so many people came to support me. I can’t say that I am satisfied, neither that I am dissappointed. It’s my first real match. Before I had only training matches’, noted Mariya Muzychuk the current Women’s World Champion.


Press conference after game one

Current standings

Player Fed Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 G10 Pts
Mariya Muzychuk UKR 2563 ½                   0.5
Hou Yifan CHN 2667 ½                   0.5


March 2 Wednesday 15:00 Game 1
March 3 Thursday 15:00 Game 2
March 4 Friday Day Off  
March 5 Saturday 15:00 Game 3
March 6 Sunday 15:00 Game 4
March 7 Monday Day Off  
March 8 Tuesday 15:00 Game 5
March 9 Wednesday 15:00 Game 6
March 10 Thursday Day Off  
March 11 Friday 15:00 Game 7
March 12 Saturday 15:00 Game 8
March 13 Sunday Day Off  
March 14 Monday 15:00 Game 9
March 15 Tuesday Day Off  
March 16 Wednesday 15:00 Game 10
March 17 Thursday Day Off  
March 18 Friday 15:00 Tie-break games
March 18 Friday 18:00 Closing Ceremony

All games start at 3 p.m. local time, which is an hour ahead of European time, two ahead of Britain, and seven ahead of New York. You can find the starting time at your location here.

Women's World Chess Championship 2016 live broadcast

Watch it live on Playchess!

When the games are running, clicking on the above link will take you to our live broadcast. It is free and open to all – as a Premium Account member you have access to the Live Book, Chat, chess engine analysis – all in your browser, on a notebook, tablet or even your smartphone. And the Let's Check function will show you what the most powerful computers in the world think of the current position, as each move is being played.

In the live broadcast below, on the side of each board is an evaluation meter, showing you which side is better. The small "x" button on the top right of each board will remove it from the broadcast. If you remove two games you will have four larger boards. Removing four will give you two even larger boards, and removing five will give you just one very large board. Refresh the page (Ctrl-R) to return to the six most popular boards.

You can also click the "+" and "–" icons at the bottom right of the broadcast window to increase and decrease the number of boards. There are other functions: you can download PGNs of the running games and even start an engine by clicking the robot button (third from left).

Note that you can view moves and statistics in the opening (with the Live Book switched on) and even analyse on the boards while the games are being broadcast, by moving pieces and using the engine – best in multiple line mode.

Is there a better way to follow the games?

It may interest you to know that you can use the same broadcast service above on your blog or web site.
It is simply a matter of copying and pasting a line or two of code. Try it out: instructions are here.


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


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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