Women's World Chess Championship 2015 (knock-out)

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There are two world championships held in 2015. For the 2015 World Championship match see Women's World Chess Championship 2015 (match)
Finalist Natalia Pogonina, Women's world rank 39

The Women's World Chess Championship held in March is the first of two world championships in 2015. It is held as a knock-out tournament, to decide the women's world champion.

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.[1] The unclear state of the tournament was highly criticised by the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP).[2]

On 25 November 2014, it was announced that the championship will take part in Sochi, Russia, from 16 March to 7 April 2015.[3]

In the final eighth seed Mariya Muzychuk played Natalia Pogonina, seeded 31.


Humpy Koneru, the No. 1 seed, was knocked out in the fourth round.

The players are selected through national chess championships, Zonal tournaments and continental chess championships. 51 players from Women's Continental and Zonal qualifiers:[4] Europe 28,[5] Asia 12, Americas 8 and Africa 3.

The qualified players were announced on 22 January, subject to signing the contract.[6]

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.[7][8] 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.

Qualification paths[edit]

Schedule / Prize money[edit]

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.[9]

Round Matches Tie-breaks Prize-money (US$)
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
winner 60,000

Nationalities in the field[edit]

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)
 Russia (10)
 Scotland (1)
 Sweden (1)
 Turkey (2)
 Ukraine (5)

Tournament summary[edit]

FIDE president (right) awaiting the second round

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.


Mariya Muzychuk, rating favorite in the final

Final match[edit]

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.[10]


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.[11]

Round of 64 Round of 32 Round of 16 Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
India Humpy Koneru (1) 2
Egypt Ayah Moaataz (64) 0
India Humpy Koneru (1) 2
China Lei Tingjie (32) 0
China Lei Tingjie (32) 2
Peru Deysi Cori (33) 0
India Humpy Koneru (1) 2
Russia Alisa Galliamova (16) 0
Russia Alisa Galliamova (16)
Argentina Carolina Luján (49)
Russia Alisa Galliamova (16)
Russia Tatiana Kosintseva (17) 0½
Russia Tatiana Kosintseva (17) 5
India Mary Ann Gomes (48) 4
India Humpy Koneru (1)
Ukraine Mariya Muzychuk (8)
Ukraine Mariya Muzychuk (8)
Canada Yuanling Yuan (56)
Ukraine Mariya Muzychuk (8) 3
Poland Monika Socko (25) 1
Poland Monika Socko (25) 4
Lithuania Deimante Daulyte (40) 2
Ukraine Mariya Muzychuk (8)
Bulgaria Antoaneta Stefanova (9) 0½
Bulgaria Antoaneta Stefanova (9)
Vietnam Nguyen Thi Thanh An (57) 0½
Bulgaria Antoaneta Stefanova (9)
Ukraine Inna Gaponenko (41)
Ukraine Natalia Zhukova (24) 0½
Ukraine Inna Gaponenko (41)
Ukraine Mariya Muzychuk (8)
India Dronavalli Harika (12)
Lithuania Viktorija Cmilyte (4) 2
Bangladesh Akter Liza Shamima (61) 0
Lithuania Viktorija Cmilyte (4)
Russia Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (36) 0½
Georgia (country) Nino Khurtsidze (29) 0½
Russia Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (36)
Lithuania Viktorija Cmilyte (4)
Georgia (country) Meri Arabidze (45)
Armenia Elina Danielian (13) 0½
Cuba Yaniet Marrero Lopez (52)
Cuba Yaniet Marrero Lopez (52) 0½
Georgia (country) Meri Arabidze (45)
Germany Elisabeth Paehtz (20) 2
Georgia (country) Meri Arabidze (45) 4
Georgia (country) Meri Arabidze (45) 0½
India Dronavalli Harika (12)
Russia Alexandra Kosteniuk (5) 2
Australia Irina Berezina (60) 0
Russia Alexandra Kosteniuk (5)
China Shen Yang (28) 0½
China Shen Yang (28)
Russia Alina Kashlinskaya (37)
Russia Alexandra Kosteniuk (5)
India Dronavalli Harika (12)
India Dronavalli Harika (12) 2
United States Tatev Abrahamyan (53) 0
India Dronavalli Harika (12)
United States Irina Krush (21)
United States Irina Krush (21)
France Sophie Milliet (44) 0½
Ukraine Mariya Muzychuk (8)
Russia Natalia Pogonina (31)
China Ju Wenjun (2) 2
Egypt Shrook Wafa (63) 0
China Ju Wenjun (2) 0½
Russia Natalia Pogonina (31)
Russia Natalia Pogonina (31)
China Guo Qi (34) 0½
Russia Natalia Pogonina (31) 3
France Marie Sebag (18) 1
Ukraine Anna Ushenina (15)
China Zhang Xiaowen (50) 0½
Ukraine Anna Ushenina (15)
France Marie Sebag (18)
France Marie Sebag (18)
China Wang Jue (47) 0½
Russia Natalia Pogonina (31)
China Zhao Xue (7)
China Zhao Xue (7) 3
Argentina Marisa Zuriel (58) 1
China Zhao Xue (7)
Georgia (country) Salome Melia (26) 0½
Georgia (country) Salome Melia (26) 3
Indonesia Irine Kharisma Sukandar (39) 1
China Zhao Xue (7)
Georgia (country) Bela Khotenashvili (10) 0½
Georgia (country) Bela Khotenashvili (10)
Turkey Kübra Öztürk (55) 0½
Georgia (country) Bela Khotenashvili (10)
China Huang Qian (23)
China Huang Qian (23)
Russia Baira Kovanova (42)
Russia Natalia Pogonina (31)
Sweden Pia Cramling (11)
Ukraine Anna Muzychuk (3)
Algeria Amina Mezioud (62) 0½
Ukraine Anna Muzychuk (3)
Russia Aleksandra Goryachkina (30) 0½
Russia Aleksandra Goryachkina (30) 5
Armenia Lilit Mkrtchian (35) 4
Ukraine Anna Muzychuk (3)
Georgia (country)Lela Javakhishvili (19) 0½
China Tan Zhongyi (14)
Kazakhstan Guliskhan Nakhbayeva (51) 0½
China Tan Zhongyi (14) 0½
Georgia (country)Lela Javakhishvili (19)
Georgia (country) Lela Javakhishvili (19)
Georgia (country) Sopiko Guramishvili (46)
Ukraine Anna Muzychuk (3)
Sweden Pia Cramling (11)
Russia Valentina Gunina (6) 2
United States Camilla Baginskaite (59) 0
Russia Valentina Gunina (6) 2
Russia Olga Girya (27) 0
Russia Olga Girya (27) 2
Turkey Ekaterina Atalik (38) 0
Russia Valentina Gunina (6) 0½
Sweden Pia Cramling (11)
Sweden Pia Cramling (11) 2
Iran Mitra Hejazipour (54) 0
Sweden Pia Cramling (11)
Scotland Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (43) 0½
Hungary Hoang Thanh Trang (22) 0½
Scotland Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (43)


External links[edit]