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Mariya Muzychuk

Mariya Muzychuk (2013)
Full name Mariya Olegivna Muzychuk
Country Ukraine
Born 21 September 1992
Lviv, Ukraine
Title Grandmaster
Woman Grandmaster
Women's World Champion 2015-2016
Peak rating 2561 (December 2015)
2015 Ukrainian postage stamp featuring sisters Muzychuk

Mariya Olegivna Muzychuk (Ukrainian: Марія Олегівна Музичук; born 21 September 1992, Lviv) is a Ukrainian chess player, and the current Women's World Chess Champion. She is also a two-time champion of Ukraine (2012, 2013), World Team and European Team champion with Ukraine in 2013 and bronze medal winner of the 2012 and 2014 Chess Olympiad with Ukraine.

Career

Maria Muzychuk was first taught chess at age two by her parents and at age three she already knew all the chess pieces. At age six, Muzychuk took part in her first chess tournament.

Muzychuk won the under-10 girls' section at the 2002 European Youth Chess Championship in Peniscola, Spain. In November 2010 she was ranked as the fifth highest rated under-20 female player in the world.

She made it to the top-16 of the 2010 Women's World Chess Championship, but lost to Dronavalli Harika in an armageddon playoff after a tie in the regular match.

Muzychuk won the women's Ukrainian Chess Championship in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 she won the best woman's prize at the Gibraltar Masters tournament, where she also earned a grandmaster norm.

She became world champion by winning the Women's World Chess Championship 2015. In the first round, she drew with Yuanling Yuan in the classical games and then defeated her in the tiebreaks. In round two, she drew with Monika Socko in the classical games and defeated her in the tiebreaks. In round three, she defeated former Women's World Chess Champion Antoaneta Stefanova in the classical games by a score of 1½-½. In the quarter-final she defeated number one seed Humpy Koneru in the tiebreaks (2½-1½), and then beat Dronavalli Harika in the semi-final by tiebreaks (3½-2½). In the final she beat Natalia Pogonina with a score of 2½-1½. As a result of her victory, she obtained the Grandmaster title as a direct award, and qualified for the 2015 Chess World Cup which was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. In 2015, Muzychuk was awarded the Order of Merit, 3rd Class by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

She is expected to defend her title against Hou Yifan in the Women's World Chess Championship 2016.

Playing style

In openings, Muzychuk usually plays Sicilian Defence with both White and Black, followed by French Defence with White and Dutch Defence with Black. Muzychuk has the ability of finding unexpected tactical tricks, which sometimes recompenses for some flaws in her positional understanding. During her World Championship match against Natalia Pogonina, Muzychuk was called "Miss Tactics" by the media.

Personal life

She has an older sister, Anna Muzychuk, who is also a leading chess player. Apart from chess, both sisters also play table tennis.

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