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Women's World Chess Championship 2015

Mariya Muzychuk, winner of the championship.

The Women's World Chess Championship was held from 16 March to 7 April 2015 in Sochi, Russia. It was a 64-player knockout tournament. It was originally scheduled from 11 to 31 October 2014 but problems in finding a sponsor and host city eventually forced international chess organisation FIDE to announce the postponement of the Championship on 24 September 2014, scheduling it for early 2015 in Sochi. The unclear state of the tournament was highly criticised by the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP).

In the final, Ukrainian Mariya Muzychuk, seeded 8th, defeated Russian Natalia Pogonina, seeded 31st. She will defend her title in a 2016 match against Hou Yifan.

Participants

Natalia Pogonina, finalist of the championship

The players were 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 2015, subject to signing the contract.

Notably, women's world number one and defending champion Hou Yifan from China opted not to play, because of a prior commitment to a chess tournament in Hawaii. Also absent from the world top-10 were Nana Dzagnidze and Kateryna Lagno (they were replaced by two spots from E13).

The participating players were seeded by their March 2015 FIDE rating (shown after the players below).

Three former world champions were in the field: Alexandra Kosteniuk seeded 5th, Antoaneta Stefanova 9th and Anna Ushenina 15th.

Qualification paths

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

Schedule and prize money

FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (right), awaiting the second round.

Two days per match were followed by possible tie-breaks on the next day if the match was tied. The only rest day was 1 April the day after the semi-finals.

The total prize-money was 450,000 US dollars, the same as in 2010 and 2012.

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

Results

Final match

a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after move 40

The final was the only match of the tournament which consisted of four classical games (from 2 to 5 April 2015), played on consecutive days with a rest-day between the semi-final tie-breaks and match 1. Eventual tie-breaks were played on 6 April 2015, 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 (10+10), two blitz games (5+3) and an armageddon decider. In the final game White pieces belonged to Muzychuk, who opened the game with her favorite 1.е4. Pogonina responded with her favorite 1…е5. In the Scotch Four Knights Game she tried to avoid the main variations by putting the bishop to b4 via c5. The idea allowed Black to duck the home preparation of Muzychuk. White, however, achieved a spatial advantage and overall more favorable game after the opening. Later White decided to advance kingside pawns, weakening own king. The Black also had pawn weaknesses and a sharp and dynamically balanced position emerged. On the move 41 Muzychuk carried out a simplifying combination, transposing to an endgame with two strong passed pawns against a knight. Pogonina was left with no winning chances, and the game ended in a draw on the move 56 after the move repetition.

Women's World Chess Championship Final 2015
Rating 1 2 3 4 Total
Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) 2526 ½ 1 ½ ½
Natalia Pogonina (Russia) 2456 ½ 0 ½ ½

Pogonina had the white pieces in the first game. Before the final they had met only once, in the 2007 European Individual Championships, which ended in a draw.

Bracket

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.

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