Women’s World Championship – Ushenina vs Stefanova in the finals

by ChessBase
11/26/2012 – In the semifinals the Bulgarian GM and former women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova knocked out the Indian GM Harika Dronavalli in their regular games. The Ukrainian IM Anna Ushenina and Chinese WGM Ju Wenjun drew their two games, so that the decision, in favour of Ushenina, came in the rapid tiebreaks. Monday is a free day, and the four-game final starts on Tuesday. Round five report.

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The Women’s World Chess Cup 2012 is being staged by the Ugorian Chess Academy in Khanty-Mansiysk from 11 November to 2 December. The best 64 chess players in the world are taking part in the competition, which consist of six knock-out rounds of two games, which reduce the participants from 64 to 32, 16, 8, 4, and 2. The final consists of four games, 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.

Round five

Antoaneta Stefanova from Bulgaria took the lead against the Indian Harika Dronavalli, winning the first game of the match with the white pieces. The former World Champion got a promising position after the opening. After lengthy maneuvering White made a break on the kingside and won a pawn. Black still had drawing chances and could equalize with accurate defence, but Harika impatiently went for a sharp counterattack. She sacrificed another pawn and then a piece, miscalculated and did not get sufficient compensation for her losses. Stefanova combined defensive moves with threats to the black king and finished the game with a nice tactical blow that inevitably led to a checkmate.

Anna Ushenina (above right, Ukraine) trapped her opponent Ju Wenjun from China in the opening to obtain an overwhelming advantage. The Chinese did not defend perfectly, and her position soon became critical. However, the Ukrainian wrongly rejected the opponent’s exchange sacrifice, and Black managed to come back. A draw was agreed on the 28th move.

Harika Dronavalli (India) needed to win. In a slow maneuvering game the Indian advanced her pawns on the queenside, and Stefanova pushed on the kingside. As the game got more open, Black sacrificed a piece for White’s three central pawns and obtained a big advantage. However, Stefanova did not try to win the game outright and just forced a draw by repetition, securing the match victory. Now the former World Champion will have a chance to win her second title.

Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) and Ju Wenjun (China) agreed to an early draw. The Chinese was unable to get an opening advantage with White and offered a draw on the 18th move.


In the first tie-break game Anna Ushenina, playing white, got an overwhelming position after the opening. Ju Wenjun had to sacrifice a piece in order to save her king from White’s attack. Black had some counterplay, but White calmly parried all threats, and soon the Chinese resigned. In the second game Ju Wenjun got a better position, and Black sacrificed a pawn to avoid bigger trouble. White responded by sacrificing an exchange for two pawns, and had decent winning chances in the resulting position. However, she missed a number of winning continuations due to a time trouble, and Ushenina avoided all traps and saved the game with accurate defending.

Results of round five

G2  R1  R2
Stefanova, Antoaneta (BUL)
Harika, Dronavalli (IND)
Ushenina, Anna (UKR)
Ju, Wenjun (CHN)

Replay all games from round five

In the finals: IM Anna Ushenina of Ukraine, 27...

... and former women's world champion GM Antoaneta Stefanova, Bulgaria, 33

November 26 is a rest day, the final match begins on Tuesday, November 27. It is a best-of-four match. If the score after four games is 2-2, the players continue to the tiebreak, which begins with two rapid games: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move for each player. If the score is still tied they continue with two quicker games: 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. If the winner is still not determined, the players will proceed to blitz games: 5 minutes plus 3 seconds per move. Finally, if the score remains equal, an Armageddon game is played: White has 5 minutes, Black has 4 minutes, 3 seconds per move are added starting with the move 61, and a draw counts as a victory for Black.

Goodbye to Khanty Mansiysk

Here are portraits of the players who were eliminated in round five of the Women's World Championship and who we will not be seeing in subsequent reports.

Going far: GM Harika Dronavalli, one of India's top female players

IM Ju Wenjun, the last of the many Chinese players to be eliminated

Ju Wenjun and Harika receive their consolation prizes for the semifinal success

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 is 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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