International Chess Federation
Thursday, 18 May 2023 10:47
FIDE and GCF to stage Solidarity Matches in Batumi, Georgia

FIDE and the Georgian Chess Federation have organized a double match-up between Top Ukrainian players Mariya and Anna Muzychuk and local stars Nino Batsiashvili and Meri Arabidze, respectively.

The games will take place in the Hotel Legend in Batumi, Georgia, from June 5-11. Each of the matches will consist of six classical games, following this schedule:

June 5: 1st game
June 6: 2nd game
June 7: 3rd game
June 8: (rest day)
June 9: 4th game
June 10: 5th game
June 11: 6th game

Mariya Muzychuk

Born September 21, 1992

Federation: Ukraine

Rating: 2515

Mariya Muzychuk was the Women's World Champion in 2015-16 and reached the semi-finals in the Women's World Championship in 2018. She earned her spot for the Women's Grand Prix 2022-23 thanks to her 4th place in the FIDE Grand Swiss 2021 held in Riga.

Mariya was born on September 21, 1992, in Stryi, Lviv Region, Ukraine. She started her chess career in the village of Ugersko, where her parents used to work at a local sports school for children and youngsters. However, Mariya managed to train at home, too: her elder sister Anna used to help her along with her parents.

Since she was 7, Mariya has participated in the Ukrainian youth championships; in 2002, she won the Ukrainian and European championships for children under 10. At the age of 11, Mariya was shortlisted for the Ukrainian women's championship, then she won the World Youth Championship for children under 14 and later repeatedly won medals at the European and World Youth Championships.

Her success at the European Women's Championships brought Maria the title of women's grandmaster, and in 2008 she was awarded the title of International Master. After taking her first serious steps into professional chess, Muzychuk got on the Ukrainian national team (while her elder sister was playing for Slovenia); as a member of the Ukrainian national team, she was the silver medalist (2018) and a three-time bronze medalist (2012, 2014, and 2016) of the Olympiads, as well as the women's World and European (2013) champion as a member of the Ukrainian team. Moreover, she won the gold medal at the 2018 Olympiad, holding the best result on the second board. She is a two-time Ukrainian women's champion (2012 and 2013).

Muzychuk got her moment of glory in the 2015 knockout World Women's Championship in Sochi: after outplaying Yuanling Yuan, Monika Socko, Antoaneta Stefanova, Humpy Koneru, Harika Dronavalli, and Natalija Pogonina one by one, the Ukrainian grandmaster became the fifteenth Women's World Champion. In March 2016, Mariya Muzychuk failed to defend her title in a match against Hou Yifan, China.

In 2014, Mariya Muzychuk won the first women's prize at a prestigious Gibraltar Open tournament. Her beginning of this year has been fruitful: she won the second women's prize in the same tournament, demonstrating an impressive performance with a score of 2718 points.

Mariya Muzychuk holds the honourable FIDE Caissa award as the best women's chess player in 2015.

At the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament 2019 (Kazan, Russia), Mariya Muzychuk was the only woman chess player to defeat the tournament's winner, Aleksandra Goryachkina, with their match game having been awarded the special prize for being the most beautiful game of the tournament.

Like many other Ukrainian players, Mariya had to reallocate abroad since the start of the war, and for the last months, she has been living with her sister in Valencia, Spain. Despite the added difficulties, Mariya successfully defended the first for Ukraine at the Chennai Chess Olympiad, leading her team decisively contributing to a historical gold medal.

Anna Muzychuk

Born: February 28, 1990

Federation: Ukraine

Rating: 2504

Anna Muzychuk is the fourth woman in history to reach 2600 Elo points. She collected all possible ranks in rapid and blitz chess, and she is also the 2017 World Vice-Champion. She finished 7th in the previous edition of the Women's Grand Prix, and she qualified for the current one thanks to reaching the semi-finals in the FIDE Women's World Cup 2021 in Sochi.

Anna was born on February 28, 1990, in Stryi, Lviv Region, Ukraine. Her parents, chess candidate masters, were coaches conducting classes at a local sports school for children and youngsters in the adjacent village of Ugersko. They made little Anya familiar with the game; a bit later, her younger sister Mariya started playing, too.

Anna Muzychuk took medals and first prizes in many world youth championships and won as many as five European youth championships. At the age of 12, Anna became an international master and, two years later, a grandmaster. In 2003, she won the Ukrainian women's championship and repeated that achievement in 2014.

Between 2003 and 2014, she represented the Slovenian Chess Federation in the international arena and then returned under the Ukrainian flag. She is World Women's Junior Champion (2010), Two-Times World Blitz Champion (2014, 2016) and World Rapid Champion (2016). When playing on the first board of the Ukrainian national team at the World Chess Olympiad, she won silver in 2018 and twice received the bronze award (2014 and 2016). In 2016, she also won the gold for the best result on the first board.

In 2017, at the World Women's Championship, A. Muzychuk made it all the way to the finals, where she lost to the Chinese chess player Tan Zhongyi in a fierce struggle.

At the end of the same year, Anna Muzychuk decided to boycott the World Rapid and Blitz Championship in Saudi Arabia despite being the current women's champion in these two disciplines. Her Facebook post on the subject broke all records in the Ukrainian sector of that social network: it collected more than 160,000 likes and was shared by more than 70,000 people.

"The age gap between me and my sister Mariya is two and a half years. Those who know us say that we're totally different. She is fast, and I'm calm. But we're on really good terms. We practice together, and never conflict; we just argue a little bit sometimes. A few times, we played against each other in the rapid chess competitions, but I don't want to compete with my sister." (A. Muzychuk).

Anna Muzychuk holds the honourable FIDE Caissa award as the best women's chess player in 2016.

In June 2019, Anna Muzychuk took second place at the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament (Kazan, Russia).

Like her sister, she has been based in Valencia (Spain) since the war broke out. She defended the second board of the Ukrainian team that won the Chennai Chess Olympiad.

Nino Batsiashvili

Born: January 1, 1987

Federation: Georgia

Rating: 2467

Born in Batumi, Georgia, on New Year's Day, Nino Batsiashvili has been making waves in the international chess scene for almost two decades. She became a Women International Master in 2003, a Woman Grandmaster in 2006, and a Grandmaster in 2018.

Batsiashvili has won the Georgian Women's Championship four times: in 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2022.

She also achieved notable results on the international stage. Her star ascended sharply in 2015 when she was a runner-up at the Women's European Individual Chess Championship. That same year she was part of the Georgian national women's team that won gold at the World Team Chess Championship. In addition, she earned an individual bronze medal for her performance on board four. In December of that year, she also held the World Champion Magnus Carlsen to a draw at the Qatar Master Open.

Batsiashvili last took part in the Women's Grand Prix series in 2015-2016. She came overall seventh. Her best performance was in the fifth stage of the event, in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, where she came in second.

In 2017 Batsiashvili was part of the Georgian team, which won a bronze medal at the World Team Chess Championship. That year she was eliminated in the third stage of the Women's World Chess Championship.

Her career continued steadily as in 2018 and 2020, she again won the Georgian Women's Championship.

In 2022 Batsiashvili won an individual gold medal for the second board at the Chess Olympiad 2022 in Chennai, India. Her team came second after Ukraine. That same year she again became the champion of her country. 

Batsiashvili's consistent record of success, both individually and with her team, proves she is a force to be reckoned with.

Meri Arabidze

Born: February 25, 1994

Federation: Georgia

Rating: 2441

Born in Samtredia (Georgia) in 1994 but currently based in Kutaisi, Meri Arabidze is the reigning European Women's Champion, having won the last edition of this event held in Petrovac, Montenegro, with 8½/11 and edging Kiolbasa on tiebreak.

She learned to play chess at the age of six, and since 13 she has been working on a permanent basis with the coach Alexander Arsenidze. 

Meri skyrocketed in the ranks of junior chess players from an early age, winning three titles at the World Youth Chess Championships: Girls under-10 in Heraklio 2004, Girls under-12 in Belford 2005, and Girls under-18 in Caldas Novas 2011. She also won three continental titles at the European Youth Chess Championship, in the categories of Girls under-10 in 2004, Girls under-12 in 2006, and Girls under-14 in 2008.

Arabidze earned the Woman FIDE Master (WFM) title in 2004, when she was just 10 years old. It would be followed by the Woman International Master (WIM) title in 2009, Woman Grandmaster (WGM) in 2012, and International Master (IM) in 2014. With her current strength and ambitious play, she is one of the female players with better chance of achieving the Grandmaster title in the near future.

2015 was one of the most successful years in her career, reaching the quarterfinals of the Women's World Chess Championship after sequentially knocking out Elisabeth Pähtz, Yaniet Marrero Lopez and Viktorija Cmilyte. Then she lost to Harika Dronavalli.

That same year, she was part of the Georgian team which won the Women's World Team Chess Championship 2015, where she also won the individual gold medal to the best performance in the third board, and the team bronze medal with Georgia at the Women's European Team Chess Championship 2015.

Arabidze is a very strong rapid player, having won the Georgian national championship in this category in 2014. "Playing classical chess is more difficult, and rapid chess is easier and more fun. So yes, I prefer rapid."