|Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine)||Hou Yifan (China)|
|born 21 September 1992
22 years old
|born 27 February 1994
21 years old
|Winner of the
2015 World Championship
|Winner of the
2013-14 Grand Prix
|FIDE rating: 2528
(Women's World No.10)
|FIDE rating: 2676
(Women's World No.1)
The match will be played over 10 games. It was originally scheduled from 11 to 31 October 2015. However, after obtaining a venue in Lviv, Ukraine, the match has been moved to March 2016.
The two have played only three classical chess games against each other. One game ended in a draw, while the other two were won by Hou Yifan with the black pieces.
The 2015 World Championship was a 64-player knockout tournament in Sochi, Russia, starting on 15 March.
Hou Yifan did not enter the tournament, and so relinquished the title. The highest rated player was Humpy Koneru, but she lost in the quarter-final. The final was won by Mariya Muzychuk, who beat Natalia Pogonina 2.5-1.5.
The challenger qualified by winning the 2013-14 FIDE Women's Grand Prix. The Grand Prix consisted of six single tournaments, with each player taking part in four of these. The first stage was won by Bela Khotenashvili. Humpy Koneru then won the second and third stage to take the overall points lead. After Hou Yifan won the fourth and fifth stage, only she and Koneru Humpy were in contention for the overall win. Both ELO-rating favorites entered the sixth stage in Sharjah, UAE, with Humpy leading Hou Yifan by 5 points. Needing at least 55 points and to finish above Humpy, Hou Yifan secured the overall Grand Prix win in round nine of eleven.
The bidding process to host the match opened in February 2015. Bids had to be submitted by 20 April. FIDE then wanted to decide within 20 days among the bids. But that did not happen.
Like in the last championship it was again difficult to find a host. In June 2015, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the FIDE president, met with Andriy Sadovyi, the mayor of Lviv, Ukraine, to talk about the possibility of hosting the match.
On July 1, 2015, the match was set to be hosted in Lviv, Ukraine, starting on 8 March 2016.