Women's World Championship starts tomorrow

by Frederic Friedel
2/29/2016 – Ukrainian GM Mariya Muzychuk is the current title holder, having won the 2015 Knockout Women World Championship in Sochi. The Challenger is Hou Yifan of China, former World Champion 2010-2012, 2013-2015 (who did not participate in Sochi). The venue is Potocki’s Palace in Lviv, Ukrain – a city that has 30 GMs. The opening ceremony is on Tuesday, round one on Wednesday. Preview.

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Women's World Chess Championship 2016 in Lviv, Ukraine

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) will take 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.

The venue of the Championship is Potocki’s Palace, built in the 1880s, and currently
serving as one of the residences of the President of Ukraine [photo: Andrey Okhrimets]

The drawing of colours will be conducted during the opening ceremony, which will
take place at 6 p.m. on 1st of March in Lviv Opera House [photo Oleksandr Samoylyk]

The colours will be reversed after game four (the player getting the white colour in game one plays game five with the black pieces). The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one. The winner of the ten-game match is the first player to reach 5.5 points or more. If the scores are level after the regular ten games, after a new drawing of colours, four tie-break games will be played, with 25 minutes for each player and an increment of ten seconds after each move.

If the scores are level after the four rapid games, then, after a new drawing of colours, a match of two games will be played with a time control of five minutes plus three seconds’ increment after each move. In case of a level score, another two-game match will be played to determine a winner. If there is still no winner after five such matches (i.e. after ten games), one sudden-death (Armageddon) game will be played.

The prize fund for this match is 200,000 Euros and will be split between the players as follows: 60% for the winner and 40% to the loser if the match ends within the tenregular games. In case the winner is decided by tie-break games, she will receive 55% and loser 45%.

Mariya Olegivna Muzychuk is the current Women's World Chess Champion, having won the title in the 2015 Knockout Women World Championship in Sochi (where Hou Yifan did not participate). She is also a two-time champion of Ukraine (2012, 2013), World Team and European Team champion with Ukraine in 2013 and bronze medal winner of the 2012 and 2014 Chess Olympiad with Ukraine.

Hou Yifan, who earned the right to challenge Mariya Muzychuk after coming first in the Grand Prix Series 2013-2014, arrived in Lviv a week before the start of the Championship, in order to adapt to the time difference between Ukraine and China. She has brought a team of six – manager, trainer, parents and Chinese Chess Federation representative, all staying in Leopolis Hotel.

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi brought Yifan sweets and a coin depicting King Danylo for her 22nd birthday on February 27. Lviv, which has has 30 GMs, celebrates its 760 anniversary during the Championship.

On the FIDE rating list of February 2016 Hou Yifan, 2673, holds the first position among women, while Maria Muzychuk, 2554, shares fourth place with Alexandra Kosteniuk. The two have played twice against each other in the past, at the Gibraltar tournament in 2012 and during FIDE Women Grand Prix in Monaco 2015. Both games were hard-fought, but in both of them Hou Yifan defeated her opponent.

The final crosstable of the FIDE Women Grand Prix in Monaco 2015

In the months before the tournament Maria Muzychuk played in the men's edition of the Ukrainian Championship in December 2015. In an unprecidented move the the games of Muzychuk were not made public, in order not to give Hou Yifan access to her games.

Schedule: the games of rounds 1–10 will take place from March 2nd to 16, with breaks after every two rounds. There is an extra rest day on March 15 before the final game. Tiebreaks, should they become necessary, take place after another rest day on March 18.


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.

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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