Women's World Chess Championship 2015 (knock-out)
The tournament is played as a 64-player knockout. In was originally scheduled from 11 to 31 October 2014. Problems in finding a sponsor and host city eventually forced FIDE to announce the postponement of the Championship on 24 September 2014. The unclear state of the tournament was highly criticised by the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP).
The players are selected through national chess championships, Zonal tournaments and continental chess championships. 51 players from Women's Continental and Zonal qualifiers: Europe 28, Asia 12, Americas 8 and Africa 3.
The qualified players were announced on 22 January, subject to signing the contract.
Notably, women's world number one and defending champion Hou Yifan opted not to play, because of a prior commitment to a chess tournament in Hawaii. Also absent from the top 10 are Nana Dzagnidze and Kateryna Lagno (they are replaced by two spots from E13).
The participating players were seeded by their March 2015 FIDE rating. Three former world champions are in the field, Kosteniuk seeded 5th, Stefanova 9th and Ushenina 15th.
Schedule / Prize money
Two days per match are followed by possible tie-breaks on the next day if the match is tied. The only rest day is 1 April the day after the semi-finals.
The total prize-money is 450,000 US dollars, the same as in 2010 and 2012.
|First round||17–18 March||19 March||3,750|
|Second round||20–21 March||22 March||5,500|
|Third round||23–24 March||25 March||8,000|
|Quarter-finals||26–27 March||28 March||12,000|
|Semi-finals||29–30 March||31 March||20,000|
|Final||2–5 April||6 April||loser 30,000
Nationalities in the field
Russia sends the most players with ten, one more than China.
|Europe (35)||Asia/Oceania (18)||Americas (8)||Africa (3)|
|Armenia (2)||Australia (1)||Argentina (2)||Algeria (1)|
|Bulgaria (1)||Bangladesh (1)||Canada (1)||Egypt (2)|
|France (2)||China (9)||Cuba (1)|
|Georgia (6)||India (3)||Peru (1)|
|Germany (1)||Indonesia (1)||United States (3)|
|Hungary (1)||Iran (1)|
|Lithuania (2)||Kazakhstan (1)|
|Poland (1)||Vietnam (1)|
In the first round, five lower rated players won against their opponent. The highest rated player eliminated was Elina Danielian, seeded 13th. The tie-breaks also saw two armageddon games played after two pairs of rapid games and a pair of blitz games did not result in a winner. Aleksandra Goryachkina and Tatiana Kosintseva won those games.
The second round saw the second seed Ju Wenjun lose to Natalia Pogonina in the classical games. Meri Arabidze, also advanced after the classical games, thus becoming the lowest rated player in round three. In the tie-breaks, former champion Anna Ushenina lost the first game due to the zero tolerance rule by not showing up on time. Afterward she explained phone reset to the Ukrainian time-zone, which is one hour beihnd the Sochi time zone. She didn't recover in the second game and was knocked-out.
Round three saw top seed Koneru Humpy winning her sixth straight game, defeating Alisa Galliamova 2–0. Former champion Antoaneta Stefanova was knocked out by Mariya Muzychuk, who advanced with her her sister Anna Muzychuk to the fourth round. In the tie-breaks Kosteniuk, the last remaining former champion, lost to Harika Dronavalli. Pogonia won against Marie Sebag to become the last remaining of ten Russians in the Championship. Meri Arabidze continued her strong run by knocking out fourth-seeded Viktorija Cmilyte.
In the quarter-finals Koneru Humpy lost her first game of the tounament to Mariya Muzychuk and Zhao Xue also won her first game against Pogonina. Harika Dronavalli defeated Arabidze and reached the semi-finals again after 2012. The other three quarter-finals have gone to tie-breaks. In the tie-breaks Koneru Humpy was knocked out. Cramling defeated Anna Muzychuk in the second round of tie-breaks and Pogognia turned the match around against Zhao Xue.
In the semi-final Pia Cramling won her first classical match. Pogonina though, for the third round in a row, equalised in game two. The match goes into tie-breaks. Dronavali versus M. Muzychuk had two draws in the classical games. In the tie-breaks Pogonina won the first set of rapids against Cramling with a win. Muzychuk decided the second set of rapids for her against Dronavalli.
The final is the only match of the tournament which consists of four classical games. Those are played on consecutive days with a rest-day between the semi-final tie-breaks and match 1. Eventual tie-breaks are played on 6 April, in the same manner as the whole tournament. Two rapid games (25+10, i.e. 25 minutes for the whole game plus 10 seconds increment, the two rapid games of 10+10, two blitz games of 5+3 and an armageddon decider.
Women's World Chess Championship Final 2015 Rating 1 2 3 4 Total Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) 2526 0 Natalia Pogonina (Russia) 2456 0
Pogonina will have the white pieces in the first game. Prior to the final both have only met one time in the 2007 European Individual Championships. The game ended in a draw.
Players were seeded by their March rating. The standard bracket is used, i.e. seed #1 plays #64, #2 plays #63 and so on. The draw of who plays white first is done at the opening ceremony. Pairings published on 3 March.
- "Open Letter to FIDE President Mr.Kirsan Ilyumzhinov". chessprofessionals.org. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Women's World Championship to Take Place in Sochi". chess-news.ru. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- Fide.com - Regulations of the WWCC Cycle
- Women's World Championship 2015: Player's Contract
- "Women's World Championship About To Take Off (But Hou Yifan Doesn't Play)". chess24.com. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.