Women’s World Championship Final – Ushenina takes the title

by ChessBase
12/1/2012 – After two draws in the regular games Anna Ushenina and Antoaneta Stefanova traded blows, each taking a game. With the score tied at 2:2 rapid chess tiebreaks had to be played. In the first Ushenina held her pressing opponent to an 89-move draw, in the second she ground her down in 94 moves. The Ukrainian is now Women's World Champion. Congratulations, Anna!

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The Women’s World Chess Cup 2012 was staged by the Ugorian Chess Academy in Khanty-Mansiysk from 11 November to 2 December. The best 64 chess players in the world took part in the competition, which consist of six knock-out rounds of two games, which reduced the participants from 64 to 32, 16, 8, 4, and 2. The winner will play a match against the winner of FIDE Women’s Grand Prix 2011-2012 (Hou Yifan), which will determine the World Champion among women.

Finals: Anna Ushenina is World Champion

The first two classical games had been draws, in the third of the four-game match Ukrainian GM Anna Ushenina had beaten her Bulgarian opponent Antoaneta Stefanova to take the lead. Our previous report had reached this stage of the Women's knock-out World Championship. Now for the rest of the final in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Game four

Start of the fourth game in the Final Antoaneta Stefanova vs Anna Ushenina

For the second time at this championship Antoaneta Stefanova heroically struck back. As in her match against Marie Sebag, the Bulgarian player desperately needed a win in the fourth game of the final. That is why the game was so nervous, despite the fact that Stefanova was very well prepared in the opening and got the advantage, both at the board and on the clock. Anna Ushenina, on the contrary, did not feel too comfortable in this line and made some errors that led her into trouble.

The arrival of Silvio Danailov demonstrated the Bulgarian ambition to return the women title to this country, and anyone with a good imagination could create conspiracy theories about what forces were involved in the opening preparation of GM Stefanova on that day. Morally, she prepared in a quite simple way – put on a blouse with nice fur shoulders. This blouse has spent all this time in the closet, waiting for the decisive moment.

Antoaneta Stefanova: “I was in a very bad situation because I lost on the previous day, so I had no choice, I had to play for a win and hope for the best. Yesterday I was in difficult situation and I spent a lot of time, then I lost the game. So today it was important to keep the pressure, also on the clock. It was a very nervous game for both of us, so I thought that the one who is better on time has a better chance to win”.


The tie-break between Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) was tense and the games long and hard-fought. Antoaneta Stefanova had white in the first rapid game. She obtained a minimal advantage in the opening, but her central break was a bit premature, as it allowed Black to open the files and activate her pieces. The position got simplified, and Black eventually equalized. In the subsequent maneuvering game White tried different tricks, but Black defended accurately and parried all threats. A draw was agreed on 89th move.

In the second game Anna Ushenina produced an opening novelty and seized the initiative. Stefanova ended up in a worse position and was short on time. After the exchange of queens White got a spatial advantage, invaded Black’s camp with her rooks and won a pawn. Stefanova did not want to defend passively and attempted to activate her pieces, but Ushenina exchanged a pair of rooks and denied her counterplay. Soon White won another pawn and accurately converted her decisive material advantage. The game lasted 94 moves.

Anna Ushenina on the Final: "The match was very interesting, but we were clearly tired and made many mistakes. In the third and fourth games we exchanged blows: first I took the lead, then Antoaneta equalized the score. In the first tie-break game White stood better, but I held a draw. In the second game Black was slightly worse, but Antoaneta was very short on time, defended inaccurately and gave me a chance to win."

Anna Burtasova, Anna Ushenina, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Vladimir Barsky

The score in the final is 3.5-2.5 in favor of Anna Ushenina (Ukraine). FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov congratulated her with this historic achievement at the concluding press conference. Regarding the championship he said:

"Women are a model of fighting spirit – they always fight until the end, and watching their games is always enjoyable. The percentage of decisive games in women’s competitions is higher than in men’s chess. This championship was exciting from the first day, and there were many dramatic games. Both Antoaneta Stefanova and Anna Ushenina proved that they really have the champion’s character! It was a true battle of wills. The tension was so high that even computers could not handle it. About half an hour ago I visited Alexander Khalifman in his commentator’s room and saw his computer covered in smoke. Luckily it was fixed quickly. How can human beings survive such tension if even machines collapse?"

Results of the finals

IM Anna Ushenina (2452, UKR)
GM Antoaneta Stefanova (2491, BUL)

Replay all games of the final

Credit: The above report was based on article published by the official web site, which has some extraordinary pictures, were made by Anna Burtasova, Etery Kublashvili, Vladimir Barsky and local photographers. Many more images are to be found here.

The live video coverage was provided by Mark Gluhovsky from ChessTV. There will be English language commentary by GM Alexander Khalifman. For the first time Mark is going to try to supply commentary in Chinese: GM Peng Zhaoqing speaking from her home in Holland. The Russian commentary will come from GM Sergei Shipov, working out of Moscow.


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess 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 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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