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Anna Ushenina

Anna Ushenina in Dresden in 2008
Full name Anna Ushenina
Country Ukraine
Born 30 August 1985
Kharkiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Title Grandmaster
Women's World Champion 2012-2013
Peak rating 2502 (July 2007)

Anna Ushenina (Ukrainian: Aнна Юріївна Ушеніна; born 30 August 1985) is a Ukrainian chess grandmaster who was Women's World Chess Champion from November 2012 to September 2013.

Personal life

Ushenina lives in Kharkiv, where she was born. Determined that the young Ushenina should develop intellectual and creative talents, her mother introduced her to chess at the age of seven, along with painting and music. She became the Ukrainian Girls' (under 20) champion at just 15 years. Many of her chess skills have been self-taught, although in 2000-2002, she studied chess in the Kharkiv sports school of Olympic reserve. During this period, her coach was International Master Artiom Tsepotan. Afterwards she received more coaching at a specialist facility in Kramatorsk.

National success

At the national Ukrainian Women's Championship, her progress and achievements have been noteworthy. In 2003 (Mykolaiv) and 2004 (Alushta), she finished in fourth and sixth places respectively, thereafter becoming the champion at Alushta in 2005, and outperforming top seed Tatjana Vasilevich along the way. She almost repeated the success at Odessa in 2006, finishing second, but ahead of the higher rated Natalia Zhukova and Inna Gaponenko. At these combined (men and women) events, she has defeated male grandmasters of the calibre of Anton Korobov and Oleg Romanishin and in Ukraine was endowed with the title Honored Master of Sports.

Team performances

Her many successes in team chess reached an early pinnacle in 2006. At the Turin Women's Olympiad she was a part of the victorious Ukrainian team and remained undefeated throughout the contest. Ushenina and her compatriots Natalia Zhukova (also undefeated), Kateryna Lahno and Inna Gaponenko each scored between 70 and 80%, in what was a commanding performance, earning them team gold medals and much adulation in chess circles. In 2008, at the Dresden Olympiad, Ukraine's ladies took home the team silver medals, after failing to oust the powerful Georgian team from the top spot.

For Ushenina, her earliest major medal-winning performance occurred in Balatonlelle, at the European Team Championship for Girls (under 18) in 2002, where she took team gold and individual silver on board 1. On another occasion at the 2007 Women's World Team Chess Championship in Yekaterinburg, she helped Ukraine to a bronze medal finish and added an individual bronze to her tally. She has also played twice at the European Team Chess Championship, in 2005 and 2007. The team finished outside of the medal places each time, but for her personal performance, Ushenina took individual gold at the latter event, held in Heraklion, with 5/7.

A very active league chess player, she regularly plays in the national leagues of France, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro and Slovenia.

Tournaments and titles

Anna Ushenina in 2011

Tournament successes at Kiev in 2001 and Odessa in 2003, earned her the WGM title, awarded in 2003. Her Olympiad performance and subsequent results in Pardubice and Abu Dhabi (both 2006) then qualified her for the IM title, awarded in January 2007.

In the 'A2' section of the prestigious Aeroflot Open in Moscow 2007, she scored 5 points from the first 7 rounds, defeating three male grandmasters for a part performance rating of 2672. At the Women's European Individual Chess Championship, held 2008 in Plovdiv, she took the bronze medal, losing out 1-2 to Viktorija Čmilytė in a tie-break for silver. Playing at the Wijk aan Zee Corus 'C' (mixed) event of 2008, she found the standard very tough and finished towards the bottom of the Group, equal with Peng Zhaoqin on 4½/13. At the 2008 Moscow Open Women's event, run alongside the Aeroflot tournament, she took second place (after Anna Muzychuk, but ahead of Natalia Zhukova and Kateryna Lahno). In 2010 she won the Rector Cup in Kharkiv with a performance rating of 2649.

In October 2008 Ushenina had an Elo rating of 2496, placing her first, ahead of Kateryna Lahno and Natalia Zhukova in the national listings, and number 15 in the world among women.

Women's World Champion

In the final of the Women's World Chess Championship 2012 she achieved a tiebreak victory over Antoaneta Stefanova to become the 14th Women's World Chess Champion. This automatically entitled her to the title of grandmaster and also qualified her to the 2013 Chess World Cup. She is Ukraine's first women's world chess champion.

She lost her title against Hou Yifan in the Women's World Chess Championship 2013.