Start of the Women's Candidates Tournament

by ChessBase
5/30/2019 – Today is the official start of the Women's Candidates Tournament in Kazan. A press conference will be held and in the evening the opening ceremony will take place. The first round will be played on May 31st, starting at 2:00 pm CEST. With 200,000 euros, this is the most highly endowed women's tournament in history. | Image: Official site:

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Candidates tournament of women in Kazan

The race for the Women's World Championship title begins in Kazan on Friday with the newly established Candidates Tournament. It will be the strongest all-female tournament in history and also carries a record prize fund of EUR €200,000.

From May 31th to June 18th, eight top grandmasters play for the right to challenge World Champion Ju Wenjun. After a break of more than twenty years, the tradition of the candidates tournament among women, returns. Eight of the world's best female players compete against each other in a double round-robin format over 14 rounds.

The players

(In rating order)

  1. Kateryna Lagno RUS, 2559 (KO World Ch. 2018 finalist) 
  2. Mariya Muzychuk UKR, 2560 (KO World Ch. 2018 semi-finalist)
  3. Anna Muzychuk UKR, 2555 (qualified by rating)
  4. Alexandra Kosteniuk RUS, 2545 (KO World Ch. 2018 semi-finalist)
  5. Valentina Gunina RUS, 2515 (qualified by rating)
  6. Nana Dzagnidze GEO, 2513 (qualified by rating)
  7. Tan Zhongyi CHN, 2513 (qualified by rating)
  8. Alexandra Goryachkina RUS, 2505 (1st substitute)

Promotional video via FIDE

A press conference before the competition with organizers and participants takes place in the AO Tatmedia this afternoon at 15:00 followed by the opening ceremony at the Kazan Palace Hotel. The tournament itself takes place at Nogai Hotel.


All rounds start at 3:00 pm local time (12 Noon UTC / 14:00 CEST)

May 31 - Round 1
June 1 - Round 2
June 2 - Round 3
June 3 - Rest Day
June 4 - Round 4
June 5 - Round 5
June 6 - Round 6
June 7 - Rest Day
June 8 - Round 7
June 9 - Round 8
June 10 - Round 9
June 11 - Rest Day
June 12 - Round 10
June 13 - Round 11
June 14 - Round 12
June 15 - Rest Day
June 16 - Round 13
June 17 - Round 14
June 18 - Tiebreaks (if necessary) and the Closing Ceremony

The draw took place on April 30th in Moscow and was attended by Arkady Dvorkovich, President of FIDE, and Judit Polgar, the strongest player in the history of chess and honorary FIDE Vice-President.

Pairings for the first round

Valentina Gunina - Kateryna Lagno
Alexandra Kosteniuk - Alexandra Goryachkina
Nana Dzagnidze - Tan Zhongyi
Maria Muzychuk - Anna Muzychuk

A special chess tent is set up in the Bauman street near the venue. Grandmaster Sergey Shipov will comment live on the match for the Russian-speaking audience. On the rest days, the tent organizes events such as blitz tournaments, master classes, meetings with chess stars and simultaneous performances with famous grandmasters.

GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko and IM Elisabeth Paehtz will comment on the games of the Candidates Tournament for the English-speaking audience.

The winner of the Candidates Tournament qualifies for the World Championship match against Ju Wenjun (China). The prize money there is EUR €500,000 or 150% more than at the last World Championship match for women.

Kazan as a chess city

The Republic of Tatarstan as one of the strongest sports regions of Russia and Kazan is often referred to as the sports city of Russia. Thanks to its extensive sports infrastructure, Tatarstan organizes more than 800 competitions every year, including all-Russian and international events in various sports.

The chess history of the Republic of Tatarstan covers 135 years. The chess world revolves around the Republican Sports Olympic Reserve School, named after the great Tatarstani player Rashid Gibyatovich Nezhmetdinov, the only player in the world who has been both international master in chess and a USSR master in checkers.

This is not the first time that Kazan organizes such significant chess events. In 1999, the city hosted the Women's World Championship Match between Alisa Galliamova and Xie Jun. In 2011, the capital of Tatarstan hosted the Candidates Matches. Next year, the city organized one of the legs of the Women's Grand Prix, and in 2014 it welcomed the Russian Superfinals.

The organizers of the Candidates Tournament are FIDE, the Russian Chess Federation, the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Ministry of Sports of the Republic of Tatarstan and the City of Kazan.

The tournament is sponsored by PJSC PhosAgro and the Russian Railways.

Text via FIDE press release


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