Women's World Championship begins on Tuesday

by ChessBase
9/8/2013 – GM Anna Ushenina of Ukraine, 28, is the incumbent, having won the title in the FIDE knockout in 2012 in Khanty-Mansiysk. Challenger Hou Yifan of China, 19, was the youngest female ever to gain the GM title, and at 16 the youngest human being to win a world chess championship title. The two face off in Taizhou, China, in a ten-game match. We have the schedule and all the details.

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Women’s World Chess Championship Match 2013 between the current World Champion Anna Ushenina of Ukraine and her challenger, Hou Yifan of China (former World Champion 2010-2012), is scheduled to start on 10th of September in the Taizhou Hotel (Taizhou, China).

The drawing of colours will be conducted during the opening ceremony which will take place at 3 p.m. on 10th of September in the Taizhou Hotel. 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 game will be played. This involves a drawing of lots, the winner being able to choose the colour. The player with the white pieces receives five minutes, the player with the black pieces four minutes, with an increment of three seconds per move from move 61 on. In case of a draw, the player with the black pieces is declared the winner. The games will start at 3 p.m. local time.

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 ten regular games. In case the winner is decided by tie-break games, she will receive 55% and loser 45%.

Anna Ushenina holds the title after the 2012 Women World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk...

...while Hou Yifan had a right to challenge her after coming first in the Grand Prix Series 2011-2012.

Anna Ushenina and Hou Yifan played their first game in 2006 during World Chess Olympiad (Turin, Italy) and the game ended in a draw. In 2007 again peace was signed during Russian team championship. Hou Yifan took the lead in their encounters in 2007-2008, when she won three games in a row. However, in the end of 2008 Anna Ushenina managed to outplay Chinese prodigy during the European Club Cup. Another draw in 2009 and the players stopped meeting over the board for the next four years, until 2013! Anna Ushenina defeated Hou Yifan with the black pieces in their last encounter during Geneva Grand Prix.

Games between these two have been consistently hard-fought. Hou Yifan is one point ahead according to overall results. For her part, hoverer, Anna Ushenina played seven out of eight games with Black and has victory in their last game at Geneva GP in 2013.

According to FIDE rating Hou Yifan (2609) holds the second position among women after Judit Polgar. Anna Ushenina (2500) is on 17th place.

The players

Anna Ushenina, 28 (born 30 August 1985), is a Ukrainian chess player and the Women's World Chess Champion since November 2012. Her current rating is 2500 (view here rating profile here). She lives in Kharkiv (Ukraine), where she was born. Determined that young Anna would develop intellectual and creative talents, her mother introduced her to chess at the age of seven, along with painting and music.

Tournament successes in Kiev in 2001 and Odessa in 2003 earned her the WGM title, awarded in 2003. Her Olympiad performance and subsequent results in Pardubice and Abu Dhabi (both 2006) then qualified her for the IM title, awarded in January 2007. She got the title of grandmaster as Women's World Champion in 2012.

At the national Ukrainian Women's Championship, her progress and achievements have been noteworthy. She became the champion of Ukraine at Alushta in 2005, and almost repeated the success at Odessa in 2006, finishing second.

In the 'A2' section of the prestigious Aeroflot Open in Moscow 2007, she scored five points in the first seven rounds, defeating three grandmasters for a performance of 2672. At the Women's European Individual Chess Championship, held 2008 in Plovdiv, she took the bronze medal.

Team competitions: For Ushenina, her earliest major medal-winning performance occurred in Balatonlelle, at the European Team Championship for Girls under 18 in 2002, where she took team gold and individual silver on board one. On another occasion at the 2007 Women's World Team Chess Championship in Yekaterinburg, she helped Ukraine to get a bronze medal and added an individual bronze to her tally. She has also played twice at the European Team Chess Championship, in 2005 and 2007. The team finished outside of the medal places each time, but for her personal performance, Ushenina took individual gold at the latter event, held in Heraklion. In 2011 she won Individual Gold for board 3 at the European Women's Team Championship.

Her many successes in team chess reached an early pinnacle in 2006. At the Turin Women's Olympiad she was a part of the victorious Ukrainian team, and in 2008, at the Dresden Olympiad, Ukraine's ladies took home the team silver medals after failing to oust the powerful Georgian team from the top spot. At Istanbul Olympiad in 2012 Ukrainian team took bronze medals and in 2013 Ukrainian girls won golden medals in World women team championship in Astana.

World Champion Title: In the final of the Women's World Chess Championship 2012 in Khanty-Mansiysk Ushenina achieved a tiebreak victory over Antoaneta Stefanova to become the 14th Women's World Chess Champion. She is Ukraine's first women's world chess champion. Anna was one of four female participants in the 128-player the FIDE World Cup in Tromso (August, 2013). She managed to make a draw in classics against top grandmaster Peter Svidler (lost the first game and won the second) but lost in rapid.

Hou Yifan, 19 (born February 27, 1994, in Xinghua, Taizhou, Jiangsu, China), is Chinese chess player, a former Women’s World Champion. Her current rating is 2609 (view here rating profile here). She started playing chess regularly at the age of six, but was already fascinated with the game when she was three years old. Yifan's father, Hou Xuejian, a magistrate, often took his young daughter to a bookstore after dinner. He noticed that the little girl liked to stare at the glass chess pieces behind the window. He later bought his daughter her first chess set. The three-year-old was able to beat her father and grandmother after a few weeks. In 1999, her father engaged a chess mentor, IM Tong Yuanming, for his five-year-old daughter. Tong later said that Hou was an unusual talent, showing "strong confidence, distinguished memory, calculating ability and fast reaction." The young girl's talent impressed many people.

She was admitted to the National Chess Center, an academy for young talented players from all over the country in Beijing when she was ten, with leading Chinese grandmasters Ye Jiangchuan and Yu Shaoteng as her trainers. In order to better support her chess career, her family relocated to Beijing in 2003. At the age of twelve, she became the youngest ever player to participate at the FIDE Women's World Championship (Yekaterinburg 2006) and at the Chess Olympiad (Torino 2006). In June 2007, she became China's youngest ever National Women's Champion.

Hou Yifan achieved the titles of Woman FIDE Master in January 2004, Woman Grandmaster in January 2007, and International Master in September 2008 by reaching the final of the Women's World Championship. In August 2008 she had already qualified for the grandmaster title by achieving her third GM norm, and became the youngest ever female player to qualify for the title. In 2010, Yifan became the youngest World Chess Champion in history (men's and women's!) by winning the Women's World Championship in Hatay, Turkey at the age of 16.

Hou became a winner of Women Grand Prix 2010-2011 and defended her world champion title in the Women's World Chess Championship Match against Koneru Humpy in Tirana (Albania) in November 2011. In November 2012 she was surprisingly knocked out in the second round of the Women's World Chess Championship 2012. As the winner of FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011–2012 she has earned the right to challenge the new champion in the Women's World Chess Championship 2013.

In August, she took part in the Chess World Cup 2013 in Tromsø, Norway. She was one of four female participants in the 128-player single-elimination tournament. Her opponent for the first round was Alexei Shirov. After two draws in the classical portion of the match, they proceeded to tie breaks. Hou won the first rapid game with white and loss the second as black. In the next tiebreaker set she lost both games resulting in her elimination.

Team competitions: Hou Yifan contributed to the success of the Chinese national women’s team which became three-time winner of the World Women Team Championships in 2007, 2009, 2011. At the first World Women's Team Chess Championship in Yekaterinburg (Russia) in 2007 Hou was part of the winning China national team that also included Zhao Xue, Ruan Lufei, Shen Yang, and Huang Qian. Hou Yifan played on board two in every round and scored 7.5/9 (+7 =1 –1), winning the gold medal for that board. In December 2011, Hou played for China in the Women's World Chess Team Championship in Mardin, Turkey 2011. China became clear winner three points ahead of Russia.

At the 40th Chess Olympiad held in Istanbul, Turkey from August 27 to September 10, 2012, Hou Yifan led the Chinese women's chess team to a second place silver medal finish. She herself won the gold medal for individual performance on board one with a 6.5/9 score (+4, =5) and a 2645 performance. During the competition she was also presented with the Caissa Cup, which honors the female player with the best chess results during the year. In January 2011, Hou Yifan was recognized as the best Sportsperson of the Year in China involved in a non-Olympic sport.

Information and pictures by Anastasiya Karlovich, FIDE Press Officer


10th September Opening Ceremony
11th September Game 1
12th September Game 2
13th September Rest day
14th September Game 3
15th September Game 4
16th September Rest day
17th September Game 5
18th September Game 6
19th September Rest day
20th September Game7
21st September Game 8
22nd September Rest day
23rd September Game 9
24th September Rest day
25th September Game 10
26th September Rest day
27th September Tiebreak Games
28th September Closing Ceremony


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 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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