Georgia triumph at the World Women’s Team Championship

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
9/12/2023 – The final of the World Women’s Team Championship saw Georgia beating the young Kazakhstani squad by two sets to zero, with Lela Javakhishvili scoring back-to-back wins for the eventual champions. In the match for third place, France got the better of the United States. | Photo: Michal Walusza

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Georgia 2 – 0 Kazakhstan

Sets: 2½-1½, 3½-½

Keeping up with a tradition of strong results in women’s tournaments, the Georgian team grabbed gold medals at the World Women’s Team Championship in Bydgoszcz. Despite the absence of the country’s highest-rated woman player, Nana Dzagnidze, a well-honed team composed of experienced competitors obtained yet another memorable victory.

Bella Khotenashvili, Meri Arabidze, Nino Batsiashvili, Lela Javakhishvili and Salome Melia have been playing together for a while now. Three of them were part of the squad that won bronze at the 2010 Chess Olympiad, while four of them (in different configurations) reached the podium at the 2018 and 2022 Olympiads.

What is even more impressive is that Georgia won the World Women’s Team Championship with the exact same lineup back in 2015. The tournament took place in Chengdu and included 8 out of the 10 teams that participated in this year’s event — Armenia and Russia participated instead of France and Germany.

World Women’s Team Championship

Once again victorious! | Photo: Michal Walusza

The experienced team defeated an impressively young Kazakhstani squad. After winning the first set by a 2½-1½ score, Georgia ended the tournament in style, making the most of their opponents’ must-win situation to collect 3½ points in the final encounter.

Lela Javakhishvili, who remained undefeated throughout the knockout stage of the event, twice beat Amina Kairbekova on Monday. In the first set, she saw her 17-year-old opponent failing to find a tactical recourse in a sharp endgame.

37...Rxg3 is a nice way to create counterplay against White’s passer on the queenside, as White cannot grab the rook with 38.hxg3 due to h3-h2-h1.

Instead, Kairbekova’s 37...Rb1 allowed Javakhishvili to cement her advantage with 38.Bxe5 Bxe5 39.Nf7+ Kg7 40.Nxe5, and the a-pawn decided the game in White’s favour.

World Women’s Team Championship

The runners-up from Kazakhstan! | Photo: Michal Walusza

France 1½ – ½ United States

Sets: 2-2, 3-1

In terms of rating average, the French team was only the fourth seed in Pool B, and the ninth seed overall, with only one player rated above 2300 in the lineup: six-time national champion Sophie Milliet. After tying for third place in the pool stage, the Frenchwomen knocked out the strong Polish team in quarterfinals and then lost to Kazakhstan in a closely contested semifinal.

Not disheartened by their loss on Sunday, they went on to beat the United States in the match for third place. Great team spirit was demonstrated by the French team throughout... Or should we use a different phrase? Yosha Iglesias, the ninth highest-rated woman player in France, shared on X:

“Viens dans mes bras, ma chérie” can be roughly translated as, “Come into my arms, my dear” — a beautiful phrase to describe a beautiful moment, indeed

The match was not without ups and downs for the French, though. In the first encounter between Alice Lee and Deimante Daulyte-Cornette, the American star blundered with 22.Rc3

Daulyte-Cornette found the strong 22...Nxf2, as 23.Kxf2 would fail to 23...Ne4+, grabbing the rook. However, what turned to be a rollercoaster encounter saw the French IM first giving up her advantage and then misplaying the rook and knight versus rook and bishop endgame.

Lee ended up winning the game to tie the score in the first set.

Despite this setback, the French team played the second set brilliantly, keeping things under control on the top two boards and grabbing victories on boards 3 and 4, as Sophie Milliet and Natacha Benmesbah collected the wins that allowed their team to secure a spot on the podium!

World Women’s Team Championship

The French squad — Mitra Hejazipour, Anastasia Savina, Sophie Milliet, captain Silvia Collas (neé Alexieva), Deimante Daulyte-Cornette and Natacha Benmesbah | Photo: Michal Walusza

World Women’s Team Championship

Team USA — captain Melikset Khachiyan, Annie Wang, Anna Zatonskih, Alice Lee, Atousa Pourkashiyan and Tatev Abrahamyan | Photo: Michal Walusza

Knockout bracket

World Women's Team Chess Championship


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.