Coming soon: Ju Wenjun vs Aleksandra Goryachkina

by André Schulz
1/4/2020 – The new chess year 2020 starts with a World Championship. World Champion Ju Wenjun and her challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina compete for the title of World Champion for women in a match split between Shanghai and Vladivostok. The first of a total of 12 games will be played on Sunday, January 5th. | Photos:

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World Championship in the Far East

The first major chess event of 2020 is in fact a world championship. Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun (China) plays against her challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina (Russia) from January 5th to 26th.

Tournament logoGoryachkina, who somewhat surprisingly won the women's candidate tournament in Kazan, in May 2019 to qualify for the match, is from the city of Orsk — on the border between Europe and Asia in the southern Urals — and is just 21 years old, but she has twice won the World Youth Championship. 

Ju Wenjun (28) won the title of World Women's Champion in 2018 in a match against Tan Zhongyi and defended the title in the same year by winning the knockout World Championship where she overcame Kateryna Lagno in the Final.

Ju and Goryachkina have met in some rapid and blitz tournaments in recent years, with positive results for the current World Champion. Their only classical game last year at the Grand Prix in Skolkovo ended in a draw.

Opening ceremony group

Principles at the opening ceremony on Saturday

Two venues

The competition will be held half in Shanghai, China, and half in Vladivostok, Russia. Six games will be played in each of the two locations. If the score is 6:6 at the end of twelve games, a rapid (and if necessary blitz) playoff will decide the match. 

The opening ceremony of the competition is today, January 4, 2020, at the InterContinental Shanghai Jing'An Hotel. The first game will be played on Sunday. Two games are then played followed by a rest day. After game six, players travel to Vladivostok, where the seventh game is scheduled to commence on January 17th.

The games in the second half of the competition will be played on the Far Eastern Federal University campus on Russki Island.

The organizers of the competition are the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the Chinese Chess Federation, the Chess Federation of Russia (CFR) and the government of the Primorye region. Partners and sponsors are Gazprom, PhosAgro, Gidrostroy, SILA International Lawyers and Far Eastern Federal University.

The prize fund is EUR 500,000 and will be divided 60:40 between the winner and loser after the end of the competition. If the there is a playoff, the ratio is 55:45.

The time situation

The games are slated to start at 15:30 local time, which is 8:30 CET and 2:30 AM EST. When the match moves to Vladivostok, games will start two hours earlier.

The closing ceremony will take place on either January 24th or January 25th, depending on whether a playoff is necessary.

The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game plus 30 seconds per move, starting from with move one. Agreed draws before move 40 are not allowed.


All games begin at 15:30 local time in Shanghai and then Vladivostok. Therefore, games 1-6 start at 7:30 UTC (8:30 CET, 2:30 AM EST) and games 7-12 will begin at 5:30 UTC (6:30 CET, 12:30 AM EST).

Date Venue Event
January 4 Shanghai Opening ceremony
January 5   Game 1
January 6   Game 2
January 7   Rest day
January 8   Game 3
January 9   Game 4
January 10   Rest day
January 11   Game 5
January 12   Game 6
January 13   Rest day
January 14 Vladivostok Arrival
January 15   Opening ceremony
January 16   Game 7
January 17   Game 8
January 18   Rest day
January 19   Game 9
January 20   Game 10
January 21   Rest day
January 22   Game 11
January 23   Game 12
January 24   Playoff (if necessary) or closing

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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