Anna Ushenina is a new Women's World Chess Champion Print
Saturday, 01 December 2012 07:32
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Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) is a new Women's World Chess Champion!

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The World Champion will be determined on tie-break tomorrow

After losing the third game of the World Championship final match, Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) needed to win the last game with classical time control today.

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The players continued their opening discussion in the Slav defense. The Bulgarian got a promising position after the opening, while her opponent Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) played inaccurately and lost a couple of important tempi. The critical moment occurred on the 19th move, when White offered a pawn sacrifice in order to begin actions on the kingside. After very long thought Black declined the offer and retreated her queen to a passive location. This allowed White to regroup her pieces and threaten the black king. In the ensuing struggle the Ukrainian did not find all the defensive resources, and White got an overwhelming advantage. When the goal was within reach, White made a mistake and allowed her opponent to complicate the game. However, Black returned the favor, committing a blunder on the next move. Stefanova delivered a tactical blow, making the checkmate inevitable, and Ushenina resigned on the 33rd move.

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The match score is now tied – 2-2. The winner will be determined on tie-break tomorrow, December 1. The tie-break begins with two rapid games – 25 minutes plus 10 bonus seconds per move. If the score remains tied, the players continue with two more games with 10 minutes plus 10 bonus seconds per move. If the score is still tied, the players compete in two blitz games – 5 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. Finally, if the winner is still not determined, they proceed to an ultimate game, also known as the Armageddon – White has 5 minutes, Black has 4 minutes, each side receives 3 bonus second per move, starting with the move 61, and a draw counts as a victory for Black.

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Final, Game 3

In the third games of the Women’s World Championship final Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) played the Slav Defense. The Bulgarian went for the Chebanenko Variation (with 4…a6; also called the Chameleon Variation sometimes), which she didn’t use for a long time. Nevertheless, Ushenina was not caught by surprise. White played very well and got a small advantage. In an attempt to activate her pieces, Black carried out a pawn break in the center, which turned out very risky. White replied with an interesting tactical operation, trading two minor pieces for a rook and two pawns. Formally the material was still equal, however, White got a clear advantage: Black’s pieces were badly coordinated, and her king became weak.

Soon White advanced the passed pawn, and her position became overwhelming. Stefanova got into a time trouble and was unable to defend perfectly. Instead of seeking the vital counterplay on the kingside, she decided to play passively, which turned out to be a decisive mistake. Ushenina converted her advantage flawlessly, not giving her opponent any hope. Black resigned on the 37th move. By winning this game Anna Ushenina took the match lead – 2-1. The fourth game (and the last one with a classical time control) is scheduled on Friday, November 30th. Antoaneta Stefanova plays White and needs a win to stay in the match.

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The second game of the Women's World Championship match between Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) and Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) featured an interesting theoretical discussion. The Bulgarian, playing White, decided to test her opponent's knowledge in a very sharp opening variation known as the Slav Gambit: White sacrifices a central pawn, but forces Black to keep the king in the center and obtains long-lasting initiative. Ushenina, however, deviated from the main lines, and by the 10th move the players reached an original position with complicated strategic and tactical pattern.

The position looked more promising for White, but Stefanova possibly misplayed it on the next few moves. Ushenina could sacrifice a pawn for the initiative and try to utilize her development lead. This would create a very sharp game risky for both sides. However, the Ukrainian preferred a safer path, simplifying the position, and the players agreed to a draw already on the 17th move on a half-empty board.

The match score is 1-1. The third game of the final is played on Thursday, November 29th, Anna Ushenina has White.

The final match began on November 27. This is a best-of-four match. If the score is tied after four games, the players continue on tie-break. The tie-breaks begin with two rapid games: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move for each player. If the score is 1-1, they will 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, is the score remains equal, the Armageddon game steps up: 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.

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Anna Ushenina and Antoaneta Stefanova agreed to a draw

Today, November 27, Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) played the first game of the final match. The Ukrainian had White. In a well-known opening variation White had certain initiative, but Black’s position was very solid. After the game Anna Ushenina said that she expected this opening, although her opponent does not use it often.

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After the opening Stefanova offered a draw, but Ushenina declined and, as she confessed at the press-conference, overreacted, weakening her king too much. Soon Black won a pawn and got excellent winning chances. However, Stefanova, being under time pressure, made a mistake on the 31st move, moving the f-pawn and weakening her king as well. White activated her queen and rook, and within the next few moves Black’s advantage evaporated. In five more moves the players agreed to a draw.

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The second game is played tomorrow, November 28. Antoaneta Stefanova has White.

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Anna Ushenina defeated Ju Wenjun on tie-break and advanced to the final 

In the first tie-break game Anna, 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.

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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.

Thus, Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) won the match against Ju Wenjun (China) and advanced to the World Championship final, where she meets Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria).

Semifinal results:

Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) – Harika Dronavalli (India) 1.5-0.5

Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) – Ju Wenjun (China) 2.5-1.5

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Today, November 25, the bronze medals for Harika Dronavalli (India) and Ju Wenjun (China) were awarded. The prizes were presented by the mayor Khanty-Mansiysk, the President of Ugra Chess Federation Vassily Filipenko.

Tomorrow, November 26, is a rest day.

The final match begins on November 27. This is a best-of-four match. If the score after four games is 2-2, the players continue on tie-break. The tie-breaks begin with two rapid games: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move for each player. If the score is 1-1, they will 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, is the score remains equal, the Armageddon game steps up: 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.

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Antoaneta Stefanova was first to advance to the final match 

Harika Dronavalli (India) needed to win as White to tie the match score against Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria). 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.

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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. Tomorrow, November 25th, the tie-break will determine the second participant of the final match. It will be the fifth tie-break at this championship for Ju Wenjun, and the second one for Ushenina.

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Semifinal results:

Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) – Harika Dronavalli (India) 1.5-0.5

Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) – Ju Wenjun (China) 1-1

Official website

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Antoaneta Stefanova from Bulgaria took the lead against the Indian Harika Dronavalli, winning the first game of the match with 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 defending, but Harika impatiently went for a sharp counterattack. She sacrificed another pawn and then a piece, but 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.

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Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) trapped her opponent Ju Wenjun (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.

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Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) – Harika Dronavalli (India) 1-0 

Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) – Ju Wenjun (China) draw

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The quarterfinals of the Women’s World Championship

Six participants of the World Championship came today to the Ugra Chess Academy ready to complete the lineup of the semifinals.

Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) convincingly defeated Marie Sebag (France). In the first game of the match emotions took over logic, and the spectators witnessed a completely crazy game with brilliant moves and horrible blunders coming from both sides at an alarming rate. Finally the French player got an overwhelming position with an extra piece, but the Bulgarian kept cool and capitalized on her opponent’s final blunder by promoting a passed pawn. Sebag had to return material, ended up down an exchange and resigned. The second game was one-sided, and Stefanova won convincingly, thus wrapping up the match 2-0. The former World Champion advanced to the semifinal. 


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The match between Harika Dronavalli (India) and Zhao Xue (China) was just as tense. The Chinese, playing White in the first game, got a promising position, but her hesitation allowed the opponent to advance her passed pawn a bit too far. Harika combined threats in the center and on the kingside, and finished the game with a nice attack against the king. In the second game the Indian got an opening advantage, pushed in the middlegame, and found the right moment to transpose to a drawn ending, as she was content with a draw. Harika won the match 1.5-0.5 and looked very happy at the press-conference. She thanked her parents, friends, trainers, and especially her grandmother, who also came to Khanty-Mansiysk.

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The Chinese Ju Wenjun and Huang Qian were unable to determine the winner in rapid games, drawing both after very tenacious struggle. In the first 10-minute game Ju Wenjun had a big advantage and excellent winning chances, but misplayed in the end, allowing the opponent to make a draw. The second game was also a roller coaster ride: Huang Qian obtained a big advantage with complete domination on the board, but then made several mistakes, and Black turned the tables. Ju Wenjun played flawlessly for the rest of the game, and secured the match victory.

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Tie-break results:
Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) – Marie Sebag (France) 2-0
Huang Qian (China) – Ju Wenjun (China) 1.5-2.5
Harika Dronavalli (India) – Zhao Xue (China) 1.5-0.5

Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) – Harika Dronavalli (India)
Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) – Ju Wenjun (China) 

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Anna Ushenina defeated Nadezhda Kosintseva and advanced to the semifinals. Other three matches will continue tomorrow with quicker time controls.

The shortest game of the round and, possibly, the championship was played between Huang Qian and Ju Wenjun (both – China). The players went for a peaceful opening variation and agreed to a draw on 17th move. The Chinese quarterfinal will continue tomorrow on tie-break.

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The Russian Nadezhda Kosintseva had Black against Anna Ushenina (Ukraine). Kosintseva equalized in the opening, but made a few inaccuracies later, allowing White to sacrifice a pawn for dangerous initiative. In a wild game Ushenina obtained a significant advantage, which soon turned to a decisive one. Anna Ushenina won the match and became the first player in the semifinal.

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Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) won the game on demand and equalized the match score against Marie Sebag (France). Stefanova, playing White, got a promising position after the opening, however, misplayed badly in the middlegame, and her position turned to a precarious. Instead of playing for a win, the French decided to force the perpetual, securing the match victory, but miscalculated and allowed White to regroup her forces. The former World Champion, armed with an extra pawn, regained the initiative and eventually won the game. The match will be continued on tie-break.

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The game between Harika Dronavalli (India) and Zhao Xue (China) was very dramatic. The Indian was better after the opening, but then started to make mistakes and lost a pawn. After a long maneuvering game Black won another pawn. By that time White’s position was basically hopeless, but the Indian player began to set up traps, and Zhao Xue fell into one of them, allowing her opponent to draw the game by perpetual. The winner in this match-up will also be determined tomorrow.

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The tie-breaks are scheduled tomorrow, November 22.

Quarterfinal results:
Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) – Marie Sebag (France) 1-1
Huang Qian (China) – Ju Wenjun (China) 1-1
Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) – Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia) 1,5-0,5
Harika Dronavalli (India) – Zhao Xue (China) 1-1

Tie-break pairings:
Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) – Marie Sebag (France)
Huang Qian (China) – Ju Wenjun (China)
Harika Dronavalli (India) – Zhao Xue (China) 

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The first games of the Women’s World Championship quarterfinal ended in Khanty-Mansiysk

The ex-World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) lost her first game at the championship. She was defeated by Marie Sebag (France). The players selected a well-known opening variation, and Stefanova, playing Black, obtained a small advantage. However, she did not utilize all the benefits of her position and allowed White to make a break in the center. After that Stefanova lost the thread of the game and started making mediocre moves, while her opponent played flawlessly and increased the advantage. Being in a time trouble, Stefanova committed a blunder and soon resigned.

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The game between Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia) and Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) was extremely nervous and full of action. The players castled to the opposite sides of the board and began preparing for mutual attacks. At some point Ushenina, being under time pressure, made several inferior moves, and her position became much worse. Kosintseva even had a chance to win in one move, but missed the winning continuation. After the control the game ended in a draw by repetition, despite White still being a pawn up.

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Zhao Xue (China) and Harika Dronavalli (India) played a good positional game. The Indian demonstrated an opening variation that was specially prepared for the championship, and equalized easily. The game quickly transposed to a symmetrical ending, where Black sacrificed a pawn for the initiative. However, White parried all threats, and the game ended peacefully.

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Ju Wenjun (China), playing White, selected a very sharp variation against her compatriot Huang Qian. In the previous match Ju faced this line as Black against Natalia Zhukova, and probably liked White’s options. However, it seems she haven’t studied it well enough. White made an exchange sacrifice early in the game, but did not receive full compensation for it and were forced to defend. Black returned the exchange and kept an extra pawn, however, Huang Qian was unable to convert her advantage and eventually had to settle for a draw.

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Marie Sebag (France) – Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) 1-0
Ju Wenjun (China) – Huang Qian (China) draw
Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia) – Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) draw
Zhao Xue (China) – Harika Dronavalli (India) draw

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The tie-breaks of the third round of the Women's Chess World Championship finished in Khanty-Mansiysk

Vassily Filipenko, mayor of Khanty-Mansiysk and president of Ugra Chess Federation, visited the press-center today and answered the journalists' questions for more than an hour. After the press-conference the mayor invited everybody to a small excursion around Ugra Chess Academy, and played an exhibition game with a chess automaton.

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The match of Kosintseva sisters lived up to the expectations and was the most tense and dramatic in the round. The elder sister dominated in the first rapid game: she obtained an opening advantage, and her play was accurate and energetic, which forced the younger sister to spend more and more time. Tatiana defended imprecisely in the time trouble, and eventually had to resign. However, in the second game Tatiana demonstrated her character and equalized the score with Black. In the first 10-minute game she played White and got an advantage, but spoiled it later in a very complicated game and lost. Nadezhda defended very well in the second 10-minute game and parried all dangerous threats created by her sister. Black was eventually forced to go for a draw, and Nadezhda won the match 2.5-1.5.

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Natalia Zhukova (Ukraine) lost the first game to Ju Wenjun (China). The Chinese, playing White, got a promising position after the opening, sized more space and controlled the open files. After the queen exchange White won a pawn, and her material advantage was the decisive factor in the endgame. The Ukrainian was unable to come back in the second game, where she initiated a sharp struggle, but cracked under time pressure. Ju Wenjun forced a draw by perpetual and advanced to the quarterfinals.

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Huang Qian (China) knocked out Irina Krush (USA) in similar fashion. Krush was forced to defend an unpleasant position in the first game, blundered at the end and had to resign. In the second game the Chinese equalized as Black and held the draw, which allowed her to advance.

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Tie-breaks results
Ju Wenjun (China) – N. Zhukova (Ukraine) 1.5-0.5
Т. Kosintseva (Russia) – N. Kosintseva (Russia) 1.5-2.5
Huang Qian (China) – I. Krush (USA) 1.5-0.5

The quarterfinals:
А. Stefanova (Bulgaria) – М. Sebag (France)
Zhao Xue (China) – H. Dronavalli (India)
Ju Wenjun (China) – Huang Qian (China)
N. Kosintseva (Russia) – А. Ushenina (Ukraine)

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Five players advance to the Quarterfinals in Khanty-Mansiysk

Three matches to be decided on tie-breaks.

The second games of the third round of the Women’s World Championship were played at the Ugra Chess Academy on Sunday, November 18th. This was one of the most thrilling days of the tournament, full of decisive games.

The ex-World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), who won the first game against Monika Socko (Poland), selected a very sharp opening line. Stefanova did not try to play for a draw, but went for a full-scale offensive instead. She sacrificed a pawn, then delivered a nice tactical blow, and won an exchange and soon the game, thus advancing to the Quarterfinal with the perfect score 2-0.

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Zhao Xue (China) defeated Maria Muzychuk (Ukraine) in 27 moves. The Ukrainian made a mistake in the opening, giving her opponent a very favorable position with a firm advantage and no risk. White seized space and carried out a swift attack. Zhao Xue won the match 1.5-0.5 and moved up.

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Harika Dronavalli (India) outplayed Lela Javakhishvili (Georgia) in the opening and won a pawn. Material advantage decided the outcome of both the game and the match – Harika won and advanced to the Quarterfinal.

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Natalia Pogonina (Russia) needed to beat Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) to equalize the match score. Pogonina played aggressively, but the Ukrainian defended very calmly, parried all the threats and eventually gained a positional advantage. Pogonina help the game, but lost the match 0.5-1.5 and was eliminated.

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Alisa Galliamova (Russia) was in the same situation, as she needed to defeat Marie Sebag (France) to tie the match score. The Russian played actively, outplayed her opponent in the maneuvering game and won a pawn. However, she made a mistake in the time trouble, and Sebag was able to activate her pieces and threaten the perpetual. In order to avoid the losing draw, Galliamova had to send her king to the other side of the board, but Sebag developed a mating attack, winning the match 2-0.

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Kosintseva sisters (both Russia) made a draw on the 48th move. Most pieces were traded early, and the game proceeded to a rook ending. The winner of this match will be determined tomorrow on a tie-break.

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Irina Krush (USA) and Huang Qian (China) will also return to the venue tomorrow. The Chinese, who lost the first game, played very energetically today, and converted her extra pawn in a complex ending.

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The longest game of today was played between Natalia Zhukova (Ukraine) and Ju Wenjun (China). Zhukova needed to win, and she selected a very sharp opening line, which brought her a large advantage. However, she nearly spoiled a sure win, when instead of delivering a fine tactical blow she decided to win a rook. Black seized the initiative, and Zhukova had to return almost all her extra material to defend. The game proceeded to an endgame with rook + a-pawn for White and two minor pieces for Black. White gave up her rook, but promoted the a-pawn. Ju Wenjun tried to build a fortress in the center of the board, but Zhukova broke through it and created irresistible threats. So the strong-willed Ukrainian tied the match score, and the players proceeded to the quickplay finish tomorrow.

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The third round results:

М. Socko (Poland) – А. Stefanova (Bulgaria) 0-2
Ju Wenjun (China) – N. Zhukova (Ukraine) 1-1
А. Ushenina (Ukraine) – N. Pogonina (Russia) 1.5-0.5
М. Muzychuk (Ukraine) – Zhao Xue (China) 0.5-1.5
L. Javakhishvili (Georgia) – H. Dronavalli (India) 0.5-1.5
T. Kosintseva (Russia) – N. Kosintseva (Russia) 1-1
Huang Qian (China) – I. Krush (USA) 1-1
А. Galliamova (Russia) – М. Sebag (France) 0-2

The tie-break is played tomorrow, November 19th:

Ju Wenjun (China) – N. Zhukova (Ukraine)
T. Kosintseva (Russia) – N. Kosintseva (Russia)
Huang Qian (China) – I. Krush (USA)

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16 participants of the World Championship, who advanced to the third round, played the first games of the round on November 17th. The games were very spectacular and action-packed.

Monika Socko (Poland), who became a hero of the second round (she defeated the World Champion Hou Yifan, making her the youngest ex-World Champion in history), lost as White to the former World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria). Socko seized the initiative after the opening, but a single lapse of concentration cost her a piece and a game. Stefanova confidently converted her advantage.

Ju Wenjun (China) won as White against Natalia Zhukova (Ukraine). In the previous round the Ukrainian grandmaster defeated the highest rated player of the tournament Humpy Koneru (India).

The most intriguing match was the one between Kosintseva sisters. Nadezhda, playing Black, surprised everybody by choosing the Caro-Kann defense, which she never played before. Tatiana started to improvise and soon ended up in an unpleasant position. Black had the initiative and managed to win a pawn, but White's tenacious defense saved her half a point.

It was a very unsuccessful day for two other Russian players, Alisa Galliamova and Natalia Pogonina. Galliamova lost to Marie Sebag (France), and Pogonina was defeated by Anna Ushenina (Ukraine).

Irina Krush (USA) crushed Huang Qian (China). The games Muzychuk (Ukraine) – Zhao Xue (China) and Javakhishvili (Georgia) – Dronavalli (India) ended in draws.


М. Socko (Poland) – А. Stefanova (Bulgaria) 0-1
Ju Wenjun (China) - N. Zhukova (Ukraine) 1-0
А. Ushenina (Ukraine) – N. Pogonina (Russia) 1-0
М. Muzychuk (Ukraine) — Zhao Xue (China) draw
L. Javakhishvili (Georgia) – H. Dronavalli (India) draw
T. Kosintseva (Russia) – N. Kosintseva (Russia) draw
Huang Qian (China) – I. Krush (USA) 0-1
А. Galliamova (Russia) - М. Sebag (France) 0-1

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Official website

Round 2 Game 2

Ten players advanced to the third round of the Women's World Championship it Khanty-Mansiysk. Twelve players will return tomorrow to play tie-breaks.

The second games of the second round were played on Thursday, November 15th.

The players demonstrated very tense and spectacular chess, and there were many decisive games. Predicting the outcome of most encounters was nearly impossible. The outcome in many games was impossible to predict during the course of the round, because the evaluation was changing constantly, and emotions often prevailed over logic.

The main headline of the day was the loss of the World Champion Hou Yifan (China), who had White against grandmaster Monika Socko (Poland). Monika demosntrated exceptional determination and won on demand (she lost her first round game, so winning the second one was a must) with Black pieces, which is a big achievement. Tomorrow this match will be continued on tie-break.

Natalia Zhukova (Ukraine) played another great game against the rating favorite of the tournament Humpy Koneru (India) and won the match with the perfect score.

The Russian derby Gunina-Galliamova ended in favor of the experienced Alisa Galliamova, who won today with Black pieces. Natalia Pogonina won another very tough match against Alexandra Kosteniuk (both – Russia) and advanced to the next round. The Russian Tatiana Kosintseva completely crushed the defensive line of Hoang Thanh Trang (Hungary) and also proceeded to the third round. Olga Girya (Russia) lost to Marie Sebag (France) and was knocked out from the championship.

In the match of the former World Champions Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) defeated Zhu Chen (Qatar). Harika Dronavalli (India) and Maria Muzychuk (Ukraine) won against Elina Danielian (Armenia) and Maritza Arribas (Cuba) respectively and also advanced to the next stage. Lela Javakhishvili (Georgia) took the upper hand in a lengthy battle with Kateryna Lahno (Ukraine).

Irina Krush (USA) tied the score against Pia Cramling (Sweden) as Nino Khurtsidze (Georgia) angainst Zhao Xue (China).

Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia) and Lilit Mkrtchian (Armenia) made a second draw and will continue their match on tie-break tomorrow. Also two draws occurred in the matches between Anna Muzychuk (Slovenia) and Anna Ushenina (Ukraine), and Ju Wenjun (China) and Anna Zatonskih (USA). 


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Hou, Yifan (CHN) – Socko, Monika (POL) 0-1, Zhukova, Natalia (UKR) – Koneru, Humpy (IND) 1-0, Muzychuk, Anna (SLO) – Ushenina, Anna (UKR) draw, Khurtsidze, Nino (GEO) – Zhao, Xue (CHN) 1-0, Lahno, Kateryna (UKR) – Javakhishvili, Lela (GEO) 0-1, Mkrtchian, Lilit (ARM) – Kosintseva, Nadezhda (RUS) draw, Cmilyte, Viktorija (LTU) – Huang, Qian (CHN) 0-1, Girya, Olga (RUS) – Sebag, Marie (FRA) 0-1, Gunina, Valentina (RUS) – Galliamova, Alisa (RUS) 0-1, Krush, Irina (USA) – Cramling, Pia (SWE) 1-0, Kosintseva, Tatiana (RUS) – Hoang, Thanh Trang (HUN) 1-0, Danielian, Elina (ARM) – Harika, Dronavalli (IND) draw, Arribas Robaina, Maritza (CUB) – Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR) draw, Pogonina, Natalija (RUS) – Kosteniuk, Alexandra (RUS) 1-0, Ju, Wenjun (CHN) – Zatonskih, Anna (USA) draw, Zhu, Chen (QAT) – Stefanova, Antoaneta (BUL) 0-1.

Tomorrow twelve players will return for the tie-breaks:
Hou, Yifan (CHN) – Socko, Monika (POL)
Muzychuk, Anna (SLO) – Ushenina, Anna (UKR)
Khurtsidze, Nino (GEO) – Zhao, Xue (CHN)
Mkrtchian, Lilit (ARM) – Kosintseva, Nadezhda (RUS)
Krush, Irina (USA) – Cramling, Pia (SWE)
Ju, Wenjun (CHN) – Zatonskih, Anna (USA)

Official website

Round 2

On Wednesday, November 14th, 32 participants of the championship, who won their first round matches, played the first games of the second round.
There were fewer decisive games compared to the first round, and the reason is obvious – the strength gap between the players is now much narrower. Yet the World Champion Hou Yifan (China) once again proved her power by winning as Black against the experienced Monika Socko (Poland). Another thriller produced Natalia Zhukova (Ukraine), who, also as Black, defeated the rating favorite Humpy Koneru (India). Zhao Zue (China) crushed Nino Khurtsidze (Georgia), Pia Cramling (Sweden) won against Irina Krush (USA), Harika Dronavalli (India) defeated Elina Danielian (Armenia), and Maria Muzychuk defeated the hero of the starting round Maritza Arribas Robaine (Cuba). The rest of the games were drawn.

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Russian players Nadezhda Kosintseva, Tatiana Kosintseva and Olga Girya made draws against Lilit Mkrtchian (Armenia), Hoang Thanh Trang (Hungary) and Marie Sebag (France) respectively. There are two all-Russian pairs in the second round: Alisa Galliamova plays with Valentina Gunina, and Alexandra Kosteniuk faces Natalia Pogonina. These games also ended in draws, despite being the longest in the round.


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Socko, Monika (POL) – Hou, Yifan (CHN) 0-1, Koneru, Humpy (IND) – Zhukova, Natalia (UKR) 0-1, Ushenina, Anna (UKR) – Muzychuk, Anna (SLO) draw, Zhao, Xue (CHN) – Khurtsidze, Nino (GEO) 1-0, Javakhishvili, Lela (GEO) – Lahno, Kateryna (UKR) draw, Kosintseva, Nadezhda (RUS) – Mkrtchian, Lilit (ARM) draw, Huang, Qian (CHN) – Cmilyte, Viktorija (LTU) draw, Sebag, Marie (FRA) – Girya, Olga (RUS) draw, Galliamova, Alisa (RUS) – Gunina, Valentina (RUS) draw, Cramling, Pia (SWE) – Krush, Irina (USA) 1-0, Hoang, Thanh Trang (HUN) – Kosintseva, Tatiana (RUS) draw, Harika, Dronavalli (IND) – Danielian, Elina (ARM) 1-0, Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR) – Arribas Robaina, Maritza (CUB) 1-0, Kosteniuk, Alexandra (RUS) – Pogonina, Natalija (RUS) draw, Zatonskih, Anna (USA) – Ju, Wenjun (CHN) draw, Stefanova, Antoaneta (BUL) – Zhu, Chen (QAT) draw.

The 8th Ugra Governor Cup starts tomorrow in Khanty-Mansiysk. This is a part of the Russian Cup series, the prize fund is 1 million 641 thousand roubles, which is slightly more than $50,000. More than 100 players from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan already registered for the event, including Anton Korobov (2702), Nikita Vitiugov (2700), Alexey Dreev (2654) and Igor Kurnosov (2645). Evgenia Ovod (Russia) and Madina Davletbaeva (Kazakhstan), who already busted from the World Championship, will join the field as well. The tournament will run until November 24th. 

Official web-site



Today the participants of the World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk played the first round of tie-breaks. Now we know all 32 players who advanced to the second round.

It was the tie-breaking day at the Ugra Chess Academy. Those players who tied their classical matches 1-1, returned to the venue to determine winners in series of quicker games. First they had to play two rapid games with 25 minutes plus 10 seconds per move.

16 tie-break participants demonstrated uncompromising, fighting and very emotional chess. The positions were usually extremely sharp and double-edged, and the outcome was impossible to predict. The rating favorite Bela Khotenashvili (Georgia) lost her match to the Cuban Maritza Arribas Robaina. Russian grandmasters Natalia Pogonina and Alisa Galliamova defeated their compatriots Svetlana Matveeva and Ekaterina Kovalevskaya with the perfect score 2-0 and advanced to the second round.

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Those players who drew their 25-minute matches had to continue with even quicker time control – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. At this stage Ju Wenjun, Elina Danielian and Lela Javakhishvili defeated Atousha Pourkashiyan, Sopiko Khukhashvili and Anastasia Bodnaruk.

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The longest matches today were Cristina-Adela Foisor (Romania) vs. Maria Muzychuk (Ukraine), and Irina Krush (USA) vs. Li Ruofan (Singapore). Irina Krush managed to win her match in blitz games – 5 minutes plus 3 seconds per move – with the score 1,5-0,5, while Muzychuk and Foisor advanced to the Armageddon game. At this stage White has one minute more than Black, but the draw counts in Black's favor. Muzychuk played Black and managed to hold a draw, thus advancing to the next round.

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Thus the tie-breaks ended in favor of Maritza Arribas Robaina, Ju Wenjun, Natalia Pogonina, Elina Danielian, Irina Krush, Alisa Galliamova, Lela Javakhishvili and Maria Muzychuk.

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Khotenashvili (Georgia) – Arribas Robaina (Cuba) – 0,5-1,5
Ju Wenjun (China) – Pourkashiyan (Iran) 3-1
Pogonina (Russia) – Matveeva (Russia) 2-0
Foisor (Romania) – Muzychuk (Ukraine) 3,5-3,5, Muzychuk advanced because of having Black in the Armageddon game.
Danielian (Armenia) – Khukhashvili (Georgia) 3-1
Krush (USA) – Li Ruofan (Singapore) 3,5-2,5
Kovalevskaya (Russia) – Galliamova (Russia) 0-2
Bodnaruk (Russia) – Javakhishvili (Georgia) 1,5-2,5

Pairings for the second round:

Hou, Yifan (CHN) – Socko, Monika (POL)
Koneru, Humpy (IND) – Zhukova, Natalia (UKR)
Muzychuk, Anna (SLO) – Ushenina, Anna (UKR)
Zhao, Xue (CHN) – Khurtsidze, Nino (GEO)
Lahno, Kateryna (UKR) – Javakhishvili, Lela (GEO)
Kosintseva, Nadezhda (RUS) – Mkrtchian, Lilit (ARM)
Cmilyte, Viktorija (LTU) – Huang, Qian (CHN)
Sebag, Marie (FRA) – Girya, Olga (RUS)
Gunina, Valentina (RUS) – Galliamova, Alisa (RUS)
Cramling, Pia (SWE) – Krush, Irina (USA)
Kosintseva, Tatiana (RUS) – Hoang, Thanh Trang (HUN)
Harika, Dronavalli (IND) – Danielian, Elina (ARM)
Arribas Robaina, Maritza (CUB) – Muzychuk, Mariya (UKR)
Kosteniuk, Alexandra (RUS) – Pogonina, Natalija (RUS)
Ju, Wenjun (CHN) – Zatonskih, Anna (USA)
Stefanova, Antoaneta (BUL) – Zhu, Chen (QAT)

Official web-site


Round 1
- Game 2

The second games of the first round were played in Ugra Chess Academy on November 12th. 24 players won their two-game matches. 11 of them won both games: World Champion Hou Yifan (China), Humpy Koneru (India), Anna Muzychuk (Slovenia), Zhao Xue (China), Kateryna Lahno (Ukraine), Nadezhda Kosintseva (Russia), Pia Cramling (Sweden), Valentina Gunina (Russia), Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), Zhu Chen (Qatar), and Lilit Mkrtchian (Armenia).

The following players advanced to the second round with the score 1,5-0,5: Viktorija Cmilyte (Lithuania), Marie Sebag (France), Tatiana Kosintseva (Russia), Harika Dronavalli (India), Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Anna Zatonskih (USA), Olga Girya (Russia), Nino Khurtsidze (Georgia), Huang Qian (China), Anna Ushenina (Ukraine), Natalia Zhukova (Ukraine), Hoang Thanh Trang (Hungary), and Monika Socko (Poland). Grandmaster Olga Girya, representing Ugra, won today with Black pieces and thus advanced to the second round, where she meets with Marie Sebag from France.

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The game between Natalia Zhukova and Guo Qi was a true masterpiece. The Chinese obtained a pleasant position after the opening and decided to sacrifice an exchange, which led to a highly complicated game with a lot of calculation involved. The Ukrainian had to return extra material and even gave up another piece, however, she secured a very strong passed pawn. The pawn eventually promoted, winning a fine game for Zhukova.

Tomorrow is a rest day for all the players who advanced to the second round. Those participants who tied their matches 1-1 will return tomorrow to play tie-breaks.

Four players who lost their games yesterday managed to equalize the score today: Maritza Arribas (Cuba), Atousa Pourkashiyan (Iran), Lela Javakhishvili, and Sopiko Khukhashvili (both Georgia).

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The tie-breaks begin with two rapid games – 25 minutes + 10 second per move for each player. If these games are tied as well, the players proceed to two blitz games – 5 minutes + 10 seconds per move. And if those do not determine the winner, the players will clash in a sudden death game, in which White has 6 minutes against Black's 5 minutes, but a draw counts as a victory for Black.

The following players are meeting tomorrow on tie-breaks: Ju Wenjun (China) – Atousa Pourkashiyan (Iran), Natalia Pogonina – Svetlana Matveeva (both Russia), Cristina-Adela Foisor (Romania) – Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine), Elina Danielian (Armenia) – Sopiko Khukhashvili (Georgia), Li Ruofan (Singapore) – Irina Krush (USA), Alisa Galliamova – Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (both Russia), and Anastasia Bodnaruk (Russia) – Lela Javakhishvili (Georgia).

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The 8th Ugra Governor Cup starts on Wednesday, November 14th. This competition is a part of the Russian Cup series, and its prize fund exceeds $50,000. More than 100 players from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Azerbaijan have already registered for this event, including Anton Korobov (2702), Nikita Vitiugov (2700), Alexey Dreev (2654) and Igor Kurnosov (2645). The World Championship participants who get eliminated in the Round 1 will also be able to join the Governor Cup, which ends on November, 24th.



Round 1- Game 1

The first leg games of the Round 1 were played today at the Ugra Chess Academy. The Governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova, who pays very close attention to chess events, made a symbolic first move in Hou Yifan-Ranasinghe game. The city mayor and Ugra chess federation president Vassily Filipenko, and director of Ugra sports department, biathlon Olympic champion Evgeny Redkin also addressed the players, wished them best of luck and good games.

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A symbolic first move by the Governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova

The Governor inspected organization of the event and answered questions of journalists. She underscored her great respect for the participants of the championship: “I respect everyone fascinated with this ancient game. All chess players in my opinion have a very well organized mind and can achieve excellent results in any area”.

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Inspecting the organization of event

There were no major upsets in the first round. The World Champion Hou Yifan (China) crushed her less experienced opponent from Sri Lanka. The third place finisher of the FIDE Grand Prix Anna Myzychuk (Slovenia) and one of the strongest Chinese players Zhao Xue also showed no mercy to their opponents. The second place finisher of the FIDE Grand Prix Humpy Koneru (India) had a difficult game, but managed to reverse the trend and defeat her opponent from South Africa.

The World U-20 Champion and Russian Cup winner Anastasia Bodnaruk (Russia) won a brilliant game again the experienced Lela Javakhishvili (Georgia), featuring a double rook sacrifice. The European Champion Valentina Gunina (Russia) sacrificed a bishop in her game against Gu Xiaobing (China) and obtained four pawns in return, which secured her the victory.

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Iveta Rajlich and Olga Girya discussing their game

Other Russians did not shine in the first round. Former World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk made a draw with an American player, Russian champion Natalia Pogonina drew with her compatriot Svetlana Matveeva, former Russian champions Alisa Galliamova and Ekaterina Kovalevskaya also drew their game. Local player and FIDE nominee Olga Girya got a promising position against Iveta Rajlich (Poland), but failed to convert her material advantage in the time trouble.


FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship is opened


Deputy Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Pavel Kolobkov read a congratulatory telegram from the Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Vitaly Mutko. Then FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, after his welcome speech, declared the championship officially open. The opening ceremony was attended by Natalia Komarova, the Governor of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Area – Ugra, and Evgeny Redkin, director of the Department of Physical Education and Sports of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Area – Yugra.

Drawing of colors was an important technical aspect of the ceremony. For that purpose Chief Arbiter Hal Bond (Canada) and the reigning Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan (China) went up to the stage. Hou Yifan chose one of the two proposed chess boards and found a white pawn. This means that Hou Yifan and all participants with the odd numbers will have white pieces in the first game.
The opening ceremony continued with the colorful theatrical show. Participants and guests of the championship saw the performances of the artists of dance theater “Ugra-Classic”, an ensemble of wind instruments, dance group “Courage”, illusionist Yevgeniy Kaverzina, dance theater “Show-karapuz”, and the program was completed with the fantastic vocals and music of “AngeliQuie and The Band”. The official part was followed by a banquet.

Official web-site

drawing of lots
Drawing of lots

press conference
Press conference

Chief Arbiter Hal Bond and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

In the tournament hall with press attache of championship Vladimir Barsky and Ana Burtasova

Together with the Minister of Sports of Ugra Evgeny Redkin, the FIDE President visited the Mayor of Khanty-Mansiysk Vasily Filipenko

Closing ceremony
Closing ceremony of Individual Chess Championship of Ural Federal District

With the winners U16-18

16-18 men
Boys U16-18












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