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🏆 Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2015)

  PARTICIPANTS (sorted by highest achieved rating; click on name to see player's games)
Humpy Koneru, Anna Muzychuk, Ju Wenjun, Tatiana Kosintseva, Zhao Xue, Mariya Muzychuk, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Antoaneta Stefanova, Alisa Mikhailovna Galliamova, Pia Cramling, Valentina Gunina, Viktorija Cmilyte, Tingjie Lei, Dronavalli Harika, Ekaterina Valentinovna Kovalevskaya, Marie Sebag, Bela Khotenashvili, Tan Zhongyi, Elina Danielian, Hoang Thanh Trang, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Natalia Pogonina, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Monika (Bobrowska) Socko, Olga Girya, Lilit Mkrtchian, Irina Krush, Anna Ushenina, Lela Javakhishvili, Natalia Zhukova, Huang Qian, Elisabeth Paehtz, Ekaterina Polovnikova-Atalik, Shen Yang, Salome Melia, Inna Gaponenko, Deimante Cornette, Nino Khurtsidze, Alina Kashlinskaya, Qi Guo, Deysi Estela Cori Tello, Sopiko Guramishvili, Zhang Xiaowen, Irine Kharisma Sukandar, Mary Ann Gomes, Sophie Milliet, Carolina Lujan, Meri Arabidze, Baira Kovanova, Wang Jue, Guliskhan Nakhbayeva, Tatev Abrahamyan, Kubra Ozturk, Yuanling Yuan, Camilla Baginskaite, Mitra Hejazipour, Thi Thanh An Nguyen, Yaniet Marrero Lopez, Marisa Zuriel, Irina Berezina, Shamima Akter Liza, Shrook Wafa, Amina Mezioud, Ayah Moaataz Chess Event Description
Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2015)

Official site: See also Wikipedia article: Women's World Chess Championship 2015.

The 2015 FIDE Women's World Championship, held from March 17 to April 5 in Sochi, Russia, featured 64 players in a series of knockout matches. The early rounds had two games each, plus tiebreak games if necessary. The final was a match of four games, with the winner declared Women's World Champion. The prize fund was $450,000, with the winner taking home $60,000 from the final and $109,250 in total. (1)

Players received 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with a 30-second increment from move one. The tiebreaks consisted of two 25 min + 10-sec increment rapid games, then if needed two additional 10+10 games, two 5+3 blitz games and finally a single Armageddon game, where White had 5 minutes to Black's 4, but a draw counted as a win for Black. (2)

The reigning World Champion Yifan Hou did not participate. On way to the final, Mariya Muzychuk knocked out Yuanling Yuan, Monika (Bobrowska) Socko, Antoaneta Stefanova, Koneru Humpy in the quarterfinal, and Dronavalli Harika in the semifinal. Natalia Pogonina knocked out Qi Guo, Ju Wenjun, Marie Sebag, Zhao Xue in the quarterfinal, and Pia Cramling in the semifinal. The final match started April 2. Muzychuk won the second game and no tiebreak games were necessary:

1 2 3 4 Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) 2526 1 2 Natalia Pogonina (Russia) 2456 0 1

Mariya Muzychuk thus became the 15th Women's World Champion.

Previous edition: Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship Match (2013) (Hou regained the title by defeating Anna Ushenina). Next: Muzychuk - Hou Women's World Championship Match (2016) (Muzychuk could not defend the title against Yifan Hou).

(2) Chess24,

 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 201  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. D E Cori Tello vs Tingjie Lei  0-1682015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD80 Grunfeld
2. M Arabidze vs E Paehtz ½-½152015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
3. L Javakhishvili vs S Guramishvili 1-0512015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA48 King's Indian
4. Wang Jue vs M Sebag 0-1812015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
5. T Kosintseva vs M A Gomes ½-½802015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB47 Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation
6. C Lujan vs A M Galliamova 1-0322015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
7. G Nakhbayeva vs Tan Zhongyi  ½-½242015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD38 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation
8. E Danielian vs Y Marrero Lopez  ½-½492015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE56 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 7...Nc6
9. T Abrahamyan vs D Harika 0-1572015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC05 French, Tarrasch
10. I Krush vs S Milliet 1-0752015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
11. Huang Qian vs B Kovanova  ½-½412015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA30 English, Symmetrical
12. N Pogonina vs Qi Guo  ½-½622015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE04 Catalan, Open, 5.Nf3
13. L Mkrtchian vs A Goryachkina ½-½392015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
14. Khurtsidze vs E V Kovalevskaya 0-1222015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
15. A Kashlinskaya vs Shen Yang  ½-½432015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
16. O Girya vs E Polovnikova-Atalik  1-0652015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA04 Reti Opening
17. I K Sukandar vs S Melia  ½-½242015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
18. M Socko vs D Cornette  ½-½292015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD05 Queen's Pawn Game
19. I Gaponenko vs N Zhukova  ½-½122015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
20. P Cramling vs M Hejazipour  1-0462015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA46 Queen's Pawn Game
21. K Arakhamia-Grant vs Hoang Thanh Trang  1-0452015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC11 French
22. A Stefanova vs T Nguyen  ½-½432015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD02 Queen's Pawn Game
23. S Wafa vs Ju Wenjun  0-1382015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB23 Sicilian, Closed
24. K Ozturk vs B Khotenashvili  0-1422015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD76 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O Nb6
25. Koneru vs Ayah Moaataz 1-0312015Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 201  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Final cb report:
Apr-06-15  Kanatahodets: "Mariya Muzychuk became the 15th Women World Champion against all odds. Perhaps a sign that she was not one of the weaker candidates is that for her monumental effert, the end result was.... a loss of two Elo!" That's funny:)
Apr-06-15  Kanatahodets: Anyway, Maria is the cutest WC in the history of chess. And it seems to me the nicest after Hou.
Apr-06-15  Nerwal: <Final cb report:

Those Chessbase reports have been terrible. Focussing on mistakes, criticizing at every opportunity, drowning the tension of the fights in computerized variations. To crown this achievement, we learned in commentary of game 3 that ♖+f♙+h♙ vs ♖ is an easy draw (tell that to Eljanov, Aronian, and many others), and in game 4 we see quoted a game between 1300 players as reference.

Apr-06-15  dumbgai: <quoted a game between 1300 players as reference>

The best part of that report!

Apr-06-15  dumbgai: I was 1300 once, but didn't make much of a contribution to opening theory, I'm afraid.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: I was 1300 once, and I made a ton of contribution to opening theory, all of which was classified under: "Do not play this move!", I'm afraid.
Apr-06-15  dx9293: <Nerwal> Agree. The ChessBase reports have been shameful.

It's clear the author (Albert Silver) does not respect the event or the players in it (even though most of them were 2400-2500+). I'd like to see how he would do in this tournament: lose 0-2 in the first round I'm sure.

Knockout tournaments are going to have more mistakes and blunders, because the tension is increased by the "lose and go home" nature of the event. Those who would like to popularize chess might consider adopting this format more often. The drama in the Women's World Championship was unbelievable!

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: 1300 not, but I heard some GM regularly looks at all games at 1800+ level in search for opening ideas.

Actually, many an opening trap popularized by GM games in the pre-computer era was most probably first discovered at a much lower level.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: As for Muzychuk's alleged "against-all-odds" victory. She performed as good as the rating predicted (though much better if we exclude that first round loss). She was seeded 8th, not some 50th. Rated just 30 points below the second seed Ju Wenjun at the start of the tournament. That's what you call an underdog? Being the tiny 30 points below #2?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Natalia Pogonina: Thanks to everyone for following this event. I hope it has been an entertaining tournament to keep an eye on. One of the representatives of a major Russian news site told me that the online broadcast of the final match had better ratings at their site than football matches. They didn't expect so much attention at all!

I am extremely exhausted and am leaving for the Women's World Team Chess Championship in a few days. If China grants me a visa after what has happened here, of course :)

Apr-06-15  Kanatahodets: Congrats Natasha for your resilience. it was fun to watch. each time after your loss i said - she will be back:)
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: < If China grants me a visa after what has happened here, of course :)>

I think Natalie eliminated several Chinese players. Let's hope they don't imprison her in the Forbidden City.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <HMM> There is an old saying in poker: You can shear a sheep many a time, but you can only skin him once.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I wonder if China will put up a bid for Hou again? They certainly have the money. Muzychuk then gets an extra 10% of the prize money, for playing in the opponent's country.

Maybe Donald Trump will put in a bid, and have the match in a Trump hotel ballroom? I suppose the two players would have to kiss his ring and tell him "You're mortal!" before the opening game.

Apr-07-15  Beholder: <Natalia Pogonina: Thanks to everyone for following this event. I hope it has been an entertaining tournament to keep an eye on.>

It definitely was! Congrats on your very strong showing, on becoming the vice-champ, on earning a sizeable prize, and most of all, on an incredible heroic feat of coming back from defeat THREE TIMES in a row!!!

That was quite an achievement in itself.

Apr-07-15  ChessMan94: I'm afriad Maria's reign will be a short one. Hou will regain the title.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parmetd: Good luck Natalia. I was rooting for you.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Closing ceremony: Mariya Muzychuk is crowned> cb report, pictures and comments.

Apr-08-15  Pedro Fernandez: Dear Natalia, we appreciate your kinda post and let me tell you that a lot of your pals were betting for your success. Good job dear Pogonina. A warm greetings for you and your family, specially to your son.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: a fine tournament ended, with two great warriors on the podium.

"Um....this unicorn thing is kind of itchy...can I take it off now?"


Premium Chessgames Member
  Natalia Pogonina: Here is an in-depth interview with me on the championship and other related issues. Hope you will enjoy reading it:

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Well, this is nice for MM but the format is not so good for chess. Maybe a tournament is OK for choosing the challenger for the title, but until MM beats HY in a match this crown is not so significant.

FIDE once upon a time did things well. Zonal tournaments followed by Inter Zonal tournaments, the highest placing players from the IZTs then played knockout matches to determine a worthy challenger.

Even so, the worthy challenger had to take the crown from the champ by winning a match or else having the champ resign the title (like Lasker & Fischer did).

Nowadays things have gotten silly, especially with the women's format.

Jul-14-15  Boomie: <thegoodanarchist: Well, this is nice for MM but the format is not so good for chess.>

Read Pogonina's interview. She points out the financial problems FIDE has had in supporting women's events. Apparently it's easier to find a sponsor for one knockout tournament than many playoffs. Plus it is more exciting for the spectators as there are many must win games.

In an ideal world, the challenger would come out of a candidate match system and the title settled by a longish match with the champ. But this world is anything but ideal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <detritus....Plus Cramling, being in her early 50s, and presumably post-menopausal, won't have to worry about ill-timed menstruation!>

One might say that, in that case, no further detritus shall cloud her thought processes or gum up the works.

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