International Chess Federation
Monday, 20 Mar 2023 12:08
The home of chess welcomes Women's Grand Prix

By Milan Dinic

The third tournament of the four-stage Women's Grand Prix will start on the 24th of March. After Astana (in September 2022) and Munich (in February of this year), the event returns to Asia, as the Indian capital New Delhi will be the host city for the third leg of the Women's Grand Prix

India, the birthplace of chess and the country where the game experiences enormous fame, has continued to promote international chess. Following the successful organization of the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai in 2022, the third leg of the Women's Grand Prix, which will start in New Delhi on 24th March is another step in that direction.

Altogether 16 players are taking part in the four-tournament Women's Grand Prix cycle. Each tournament features 12 players, each playing in three of the four tournaments. The top two players will qualify for the Women's Candidates Tournament.

The 12-player line-up in Delhi has some of the strongest women players, including world number three Aleksandra Goryachkina, current Women's World Blitz champion Bibisara Assaubayeva (pictured below) and former Women's World Rapid and Blitz champion Kateryna Lagno. Current Women's Grand Prix leader (and former world champion), Alexandra Kosteniuk, will not be playing in this leg and is saving her chances for the fourth – and final - tournament in the series, in May.

Photo: Lennart Ootes

The host country will have three players taking part. Two are well-known heavyweights in the chess world: Harika Dronavalli (three-time bronze medal winner in the Women's World Chess Championship) and Humpy Koneru (the youngest woman ever to become GM, she has been at the top of women's chess since 2005). India's third hope is Chennai native IM Vaishali Rameshbabu. The older sister of GM Praggnanandhaa R, she currently has two GM norms and is considered to be one of the brightest upcoming stars in chess.

GMs Anna and Mariya Muzychuk have withdrawn from the event and have been replaced by IMs Nino Batsiashvili and Vaishali Rameshbabu.

What to expect in Delhi?

The tournament in Delhi is the final run for Zhu Jiner in this edition of the Women's Grand Prix. After coming in third in the inaugural tournament in Astana, the Chinese player was slightly behind in Munich, coming in 5th place. While she is currently in second place in the overall standings, Zhu needs to perform very strongly in Delhi if she is to secure one of the two cards leading to the Women's Candidates.

Kateryna Lagno missed the Munich stage but is still at the top – currently third in the overall rankings - riding the wave of her impressive victory in Astana and will surely be after the top place in Delhi. Riding the same wave is Alexandra Goryackina, now in shared 5-6thplace in the Grand Prix, who is a strong contender in Delhi.

The eyes of the local audience will be on the trio of their very own players. Humpy Koneru (pictured below) has 130 points from Munich and is currently in shared 5-6th place, while Harika Dronavalli is in the middle of the overall score broad. The tournament in Delhi will start with an Indian derby on board two, as Humpy will be leading white pieces against Harika.

Photo: Lennart Ootes

Looking to take advantage of playing in her home country will be IM Vaishali R, who already had a solid performance in the first leg in Astana, finishing in sixth place. The latecomer to the Delhi event (joining as one of the replacements) will have a greater surprise factor, which may play into her hands.

Georgian Nana Dzagnidze is also one to look out for: the former European Women's Champion and Blitz Champion won third place in Astana. Delhi will be her second appearance in this cycle, and she will be looking to capitalize on the solid score set in the event's first leg.

The path to Delhi: The first and second leg of the Women's Grand Prix

From 18 to 28th September 2022, Astana, Kazakhstan, hosted the inaugural Grand Prix tournament. The event was dominated by the rating favourites and Kateryna Lagno (pictured below) came up first with 8/11, followed by Alexandra Goryachkina, half a point behind. Both players did not suffer a single loss in that tournament! China's Zhu Jiner came in third after losing two games in the finish. The same trio will appear in the New Delhi edition of the WGP series, already announcing excitement ahead.

Photo: Anna Shtourman

The second leg of the event was held in the Bavarian capital, Munich, from 2nd to 13th February 2023. Former Women's World Champion and winner of the 2021 World Cup, Alexandra Kosteniuk, won with 7.5/11. In Munich, Kosteniuk proved that fortune favours the brave as she managed to turn around and win several games where she was struggling. Her strong start with four victories and steady performance later on meant that even the final-round loss (to Zhu Jiner) did not prevent her from being the sole winner of the second leg. India's Humpy Koneru came in second, with half a point behind, followed by Nana Dzagnidze.

Photo: Mark Livshitz

About the Women's Grand Prix

The FIDE Women's Grand Prix consists of four tournaments played between September 2022 and May 2023 and includes 16 women players who take part in three of the four tournaments. The two players who score the greatest number of cumulative points in the series shall qualify for the FIDE Women Candidates Tournament 2023-24.

The players participating in the Women's Grand Prix have been selected based on their performance in key FIDE events and their ELO. Also, each of the four local tournament organizers has a right to nominate a player of their choice.

The time control for the tournament 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 total prize fund for each one of the four events is €80,000, with another €80,000 being distributed among the top eight players in the overall standings for the Grand Prix series.

General information about the venue and the dates

The third leg of the Women's Grand Prix will take place in New Delhi's Leela Ambience Convention Hotel. The five-star hotel is designed to cater to business events and large meetings and should make an ideal place for a tournament of this level.


The rounds will be played each day from 3 PM local time (9.30 GMT)

Tournament schedule:




24 March




Opening Ceremony


Technical Meeting

25 March


Round 1

26 March


Round 2

27 March


Round 3

28 March


Round 4

29 March


Round 5

30 March


Round 6

31 March


Free day

1 April


Round 7

2 April


Round 8

3 April


Round 9

4 April


Round 10

5 April


Round 11


Closing Ceremony

6 April






















Official website: