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🏆 Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2012)

  PARTICIPANTS (sorted by highest achieved rating; click on name to see player's games)
Yifan Hou, Humpy Koneru, Anna Muzychuk, Ju Wenjun, Tatiana Kosintseva, Xue Zhao, Nadezhda Kosintseva, Mariya Muzychuk, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Antoaneta Stefanova, Kateryna Lagno, Alisa Galliamova, Pia Cramling, Valentina Gunina, Viktorija Cmilyte, Dronavalli Harika, Chen Zhu, Anna Zatonskih, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, Marie Sebag, Bela Khotenashvili, Elina Danielian, Thanh Trang Hoang, Natalija Pogonina, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Olga Girya, Monika Socko, Lilit Mkrtchian, Anna Ushenina, Irina Krush, Almira Skripchenko, Lela Javakhishvili, Natalia Zhukova, Qian Huang, Yelena Dembo, Shen Yang, Anastasia Bodnaruk, Nino Khurtsidze, Iweta Radziewicz Rajlich, Qi Guo, Svetlana Matveeva, Marina Guseva, Sopiko Khukhashvili, Evgenija Ovod, Cristina-Adela Foisor, Deysi Estela Cori Tello, Nastassia Ziaziulkina, Carolina Lujan, Tatev Abrahamyan, Ruofan Li, Soumya Swaminathan, Atousa Pourkashiyan, Xiaobing Gu, Maritza Arribas Robaina, Madina Davletbayeva, Irina Berezina, Shayesteh Ghader Pour, Melissa Castrillon Gomez, Khaled Mona, Ingrid Yadira Aliaga Fernandez, Natalia Khoudgarian, Amina Mezioud, Denise Bouah, S D Ranasinghe Chess Event Description
Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2012)

The 2012 FIDE Women's World Championship, held from 11 November to 1 December at the Ugra Chess Academy in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia (with a rest day on 26 November) featured 64 players in a series of knockout matches. Rounds 1-5 had two games each, plus tiebreak games on the third day if necessary. The final (Round 6) was a match of four games plus tiebreak games, with the winner declared Women's World Champion. Total prize fund: $450,000, with the winner taking home $60,000. Players received 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 more minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1. The tiebreaks consisted of two 25 min + 10-sec increment Rapid games, then if necessary two 10+10 Rapid games, two 5+3 Blitz games (two 5+10 Rapid games in the final), and an Armageddon game where White had 5 minutes to Black's 4, but a draw counted as a win for Black. The participants were accomodated in the Olympic hotel. Chief arbiter: Hal Bond.

The reigning World Champion Yifan Hou was knocked out in Round 2, by Monika (Bobrowska) Socko. On her way to the final, Anna Ushenina eliminated Deysi Estela Cori Tello in Round 1, Anna Muzychuk in Round 2, Natalia Pogonina in Round 3, Nadezhda Kosintseva in the quarterfinal, and Ju Wenjun in the semifinal. Antoaneta Stefanova defeated Marina Romanko Nechaeva in Round 1, Zhu Chen in Round 2, Monica Socko in Round 3, Marie Sebag in the quarterfinal and Dronavalli Harika in the semifinal. The final match started 27 November. After 2-2 in the Classical games, Ushenina won the second Rapid game and became the 14th Women's World Champion.

Elo Classic Rpd Anna Ushenina 2452 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 3½ Antoaneta Stefanova 2491 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 0 2½

Official site:
Zero Bulletin:
Mark Weeks:
ChessBase 1:
ChessBase 2:
ChessBase 3:
Wikipedia article: Women's World Chess Championship 2012

Previous: Hou - Koneru Women's World Championship Match (2011) (Hou defended her title against Humpy Koneru). Next: Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship Match (2013) (Hou regained the title by defeating Ushenina)

 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 195  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Y Hou vs S D Ranasinghe 1-0242012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC11 French
2. D Bouah vs Koneru 0-1502012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB42 Sicilian, Kan
3. A Muzychuk vs A Mezioud 1-0422012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC47 Four Knights
4. N Khoudgarian vs X Zhao  0-1382012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
5. Lagno vs K Mona 1-0632012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB15 Caro-Kann
6. M Castrillon Gomez vs N Kosintseva 0-1552012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC78 Ruy Lopez
7. Cmilyte vs I Aliaga Fernandez  ½-½602012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
8. I Berezina vs M Sebag  ½-½692012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
9. V Gunina vs X Gu 1-0632012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA48 King's Indian
10. S Ghader Pour vs P Cramling 0-1662012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA07 King's Indian Attack
11. T Kosintseva vs M Davletbayeva  ½-½542012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC77 Ruy Lopez
12. S Swaminathan vs D Harika  ½-½292012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC67 Ruy Lopez
13. B Khotenashvili vs M Arribas  1-0472012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
14. T Abrahamyan vs Kosteniuk  ½-½292012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB01 Scandinavian
15. Ju Wenjun vs A Pourkashiyan 1-0332012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA52 Budapest Gambit
16. M Guseva vs A Stefanova  0-1402012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
17. C Zhu vs N Ziaziulkina 1-0672012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
18. C Lujan vs A Zatonskih ½-½142012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC00 French Defense
19. N Pogonina vs S Matveeva ½-½362012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC03 French, Tarrasch
20. C Foisor vs M Muzychuk ½-½942012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA07 King's Indian Attack
21. E Danielian vs S Khukhashvili  1-0592012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
22. E Ovod vs T T Hoang ½-½452012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA89 Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation with Nc6
23. I Krush vs R Li ½-½452012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. E Kovalevskaya vs A Galliamova  ½-½282012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA09 Reti Opening
25. O Girya vs I Rajlich  ½-½632012Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD02 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 195  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 24 OF 24 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-02-12  Ladolcevita: Congratulations to Anna Ushenina!Splendid performance and very well deserved indeed!
Dec-02-12  Smileshire: "The percentage of decisive games in women’s competitions is higher than in men’s chess." It's easy to be decisive when the quality is inferior :) What i find is not losing as an ego problem among some men, maybe too many. But why?? A western cultural disease perhaps? A bit like men are less likely to see a doctor, rather than admit they have a problem. Play it safe seems to be the only option, whilst their game and physical condition deteriorates somewhat. Poor souls.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <Ponomariov and Khalifman were also "world champions". Are you ok with that?>

I am. And you know why? Because KO is not that different from a match. A KO winner has actually more games behind him than a match winner and to win a KO you need the same qualities as to win a match, with one notable difference: you cannot prepare that deeply for a KO.

I am sure that both Khalifman and Ponomariov would fare very good in a match, much better than their ratings. Just as Gelfand did - while he didn't win, he managed to reach tiebreaks, something nobody expected from him judging by rating.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Ratings are won in tournaments, KO is closer to matches than to tournaments. Actually, as I say, I'm sure KO winners are also excellent match players.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: 64 player ko tournaments are great entertainment. Lots of players, differing styles, Good matchups. It's a terrific tournament.

However, it is not a determinant of who is the best chessplayer in the world. Match play decides this important question.

Dec-02-12  shivasuri4: Notice how many of the top-women have lost rating points here. Everyone in the top 10, except Dzagnidze, who didn't play. Of course, Polgar lost those points by losing to Kramnik yesterday at London.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <However, it is not a determinant of who is the best chessplayer in the world. Match play decides this important question.>

Yes, but why not using a KO as a <qualifier> for match play? For the reasons I noted above KO winner may actually be extremely good match players. Just were just never given a chance to play the matches (neither Pono nor Kasim got the matches they were scheduled to play...).

Dec-02-12  cro777: "Emanuel Lasker was convinced that most of mankind 'loves a good fight'. He compared the notion of a good fight to a philosophical principle. His monograph 'Struggle' places the phenomenon at the center of human existence. Inescapably, modern chess and other games present an increasingly intense battleground". (Shelby Lyman, a Basic Chess Features columnist of the Columbus Dispatch).

The two-match tiebraker between Ushenina and Stefanova was very tense. "The tension was so high that even computers could not handle it. About half an hour ago I visited Alexander Khalifman in his commentator’s room and saw his computer wrapped up in smoke... even machines collapse". (FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov)

Handshaking without eye-contact at the very moment when Stefanova resigned and Ushenina became the World Champion:

Dec-02-12  dumbgai: Yeah, I do not dispute the fact that Ushenina is world champion. She simply is. But in my view the value of the title is much diminished due to the format. FIDE might as well hold their next world championship tournament as a knockout where each round is a one-game Armageddon match.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <dumbgai> And what if Ushenina gives a tough - as tough as Gelfand to Anand or better - challenge to Hou? What if it indeed turns out that KO winners are <best> challengers? As I say, it is a big possibility, considering the set of skills needed to succeed in both formats.
Dec-02-12  cro777: Women players are very beautiful, said Mark Glukhovsky, the chief editor of the 64-Chess Review.

"This is the sixth tournament that we broadcast online this year, however, this time I was much more nervous, because we are showing women’s chess...showing women is a completely different story.

I hope we managed to bring women’s chess closer to chess fans, to show them unique beauty of Harika Dronavalli

amazing willpower of Antoaneta Stefanova

mysterious stare of Marie Sebag

...I can continue forever. Women players are very beautiful these days, and I hope to match their good looks with artistic quality of our broadcasts someday".

When the new chess queen was very young, her mother brought Anna Ushenina to the chess club, painting and music sections to help her develop the feeling of beauty.

Dec-02-12  Smileshire: @cro777 - I'm not sure what Mark Glukhovsky sees in those pictures, but i think someone is sexually repressed. Good grief. Seriously, i think says a lot about is own 'lack off' upbringing. I won't laugh, tho i sure had to :), but he seems a little needy to me.
Dec-02-12  dumbgai: <alexmagnus> I have no problem with having a KO used as a candidates' tournament. I just don't like having the title itself change hands in 2-game matches with rapid tiebreaks. But from your wording I'm guessing you also consider Ushenina the challenger and Hou the defending champion, in some unofficial sense.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <But from your wording I'm guessing you also consider Ushenina the challenger and Hou the defending champion, in some unofficial sense.>

For a WC decided by a match, my ideal format would be a Candidates tournament in form of a KO <with the champion participating>. The champion wins - automatical title defense. The champion doesn't win - a match between the champion and the KO winner is due.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: And the KO being similar to here, with 64-128 players.
Dec-02-12  cro777: <Smileshire> The beauty of players is widely used in successful sports. Mark Glukhovsky was not commenting these pictures. He was talking about how one can make women’s chess more popular.

"Women’s chess is yet to find its niche in global sports. Most people view it as a weaker version of chess. In tennis, for example, women are much weaker than men, but women tennis is equally popular... I have no idea what would be the correct positioning for women’s chess, but we don’t even use the most straightforward idea of demonstrating the beauty of our players, which is widely used in more successful sports".

Dec-02-12  dumbgai: I would rather have a shorter KO, maybe 16 players, but have each round be 4 classical games. Have maybe 8 players seeded by rating and 8 additional spots in a tournament to give lower-rated players a chance to qualify. Maybe a secondary qualification KO, or a Grand Prix style series of tournaments where each round-robin winner gets a spot. In any case, I think the world championship title should be decided in a match of at least 8 classical games, because the defending champion shouldn't lose their title when she gets sick on one day and loses a couple of rapid games.
Dec-02-12  Smileshire: 'Beauty' to enable women's sport to be more popular!? How sexist can he be. If women want to participate and learn a sport then the majority, who are not beautiful, are sure going to be put off from trying! It's a complete nonsense. It is obvious a man had to have these retarded ideas. I watch sport for ability and others for their quirky and fun characteristcs. I certainly do not watch for some face without a personality. They have to be dedicated and show ability.
Dec-02-12  dumbgai: I think trying to compare chess to tennis is a lost cause. Some sports will never achieve mainstream popularity due to the fundamental nature of the sport. The reasons for tennis' greater popularity than chess isn't limited to promotion (which they admittedly do better than FIDE) or the players' beauty, but also due to the fast pace of the game and the ease with which a casual audience can understand it. This isn't a shortcoming of the sport or the audience, it's just how it is. Contemplating the benefits of a queenside pawn push for 15 minutes will never be interesting or entertaining to anyone who hasn't already been familiar with chess for many years. Chess isn't alone in this regard.
Dec-02-12  dumbgai: And I agree with <Smileshire> that promoting the game with "beauty" is a terrible idea. Sex appeal works naturally for tennis because the high intensity of the sport requires the competitors to be in excellent shape and to wear tight tops and skirts/shorts. How is that supposed to work in chess? Who other than the extremely sexually frustrated would want to watch a 4-hour chess game to gawk at the beauty of competitors? And personally I don't find any of the top women's chess players particularly attractive (okay, apart from Anna M).
Dec-02-12  cro777: <Smileshire> Of course, the question of how one can make women’s chess more popular is a complex one. If you ask a group of peaple which they would rather possess "beauty or brains", the answers will be unanimous. They would rather be smart. But the <fact> is that the beauty is used to gain a spotlight in media. Women's tennis is just one example. Mark Glukhovsky was taking about this idea as the <most straightforward> one. That doesn't mean that other elements are not (more) important.
Dec-02-12  geeker: Brava, Anna (or should I now say GM Ushenina)!
Dec-03-12  Octavia: I was listening to the final interview with Anna Ushenina. When she was asked if she intends to take part in the strongest competition in Tromsk next year, she said that it was a male competition. I was a bit disappointed since even I know that some women take part in it. Should the 2nd best woman not venture into the 'real' chess scene?
Dec-03-12  Kaspablanca: In my opinion Hou will crush Ushenina in the next year match.
Sep-08-13  visayanbraindoctor: A Knock-Out World Championship of successive two game mini-matches is utterly ridiculous IMO. It's almost like a lottery, and any winner has to have lots of luck. Hou Yifan may have been the strongest player here, but her chances for winning were very slim, because of the format. The statement that Hou surprisingly got knocked out is false. Odds are she would be knocked out. And she was.

I am just glad that FIDE has not tried to revive this format again for the World Chess Championship. Few chess fans can even recall all the names of the solely FIDE mini-match KO champions of the 1990s and early 2000s, and their order of winning.

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