Women's World Chess Championship

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Current Women's World Chess Champion Ju Wenjun from China Fondation Neva Women's Grand Prix Geneva 11-05-2013 - Ju Wenjun during the press conference.jpg
Current Women's World Chess Champion Ju Wenjun from China

The Women's World Chess Championship (WWCC) is played to determine the world champion in women's chess. Like the World Chess Championship, it is administered by FIDE.

Contents

Unlike with most sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee, where competition is either "mixed" (containing everyone) or split into men and women, [1] in chess women are both allowed to compete in the "open" division (including the World Chess Championship) yet also have a separate Women's Championship (only open to women). [2]

History

Era of Menchik

The Women's World Championship was established by FIDE in 1927 as a single tournament held alongside the Chess Olympiad. The winner of that tournament, Vera Menchik, did not have any special rights as the men's champion did—instead she had to defend her title by playing as many games as all the challengers. She did this successfully in every other championship in her lifetime (1930, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937 and 1939).

Dominance of the Soviet Union players (1950–1991)

1981 Women's World Championship, Maia Chiburdanidze vs. Nana Alexandria WomensWorldChamp1981.jpg
1981 Women's World Championship, Maia Chiburdanidze vs. Nana Alexandria

Menchik died, still champion, in 1944 in a German air raid on Kent. The next championship was another round-robin tournament in 1949–50 and was won by Lyudmila Rudenko. Thereafter a system similar to that of the overall championship was established, with a cycle of Candidates events (and later Interzonals) to pick a challenger to face the reigning champion.

The first such Candidates tournament was held in Moscow, 1952. Elisaveta Bykova won and proceeded to defeat Rudenko with seven wins, five losses, and two draws to become the third champion. The next Candidates tournament was won by Olga Rubtsova. Instead of directly playing Bykova, however, FIDE decided that the championship should be held between the three top players in the world. Rubtsova won at Moscow in 1956, one-half point ahead of Bykova, who finished five points ahead of Rudenko. Bykova regained the title in 1958 and defended it against Kira Zvorykina, winner of a Candidates tournament, in 1959.

The fourth Candidates tournament was held in 1961 in Vrnjacka Banja, and was utterly dominated by Nona Gaprindashvili of Georgia, who won with ten wins, zero losses, and six draws. She then decisively defeated Bykova with seven wins, no losses, and four draws in Moscow, 1962 to become champion. Gaprindashvili defended her title against Alla Kushnir of Russia at Riga 1965 and Tbilisi/Moscow 1969. In 1972, FIDE introduced the same system for the women's championship as with the overall championship: a series of Interzonal tournaments, followed by the Candidates matches. Kushnir won again, only to be defeated by Gaprindashvili at Riga 1972. Gaprindashvili defended the title one last time against Nana Alexandria of Georgia at Pitsunda/Tbilisi 1975.

In 1976–1978 Candidates cycle, 17-year-old Maya Chiburdanidze of Georgia ended up the surprise star, defeating Nana Alexandria, Elena Akhmilovskaya, and Alla Kushnir to face Gaprindashvili in the 1978 finals at Tbilisi. Chiburdanidze soundly defeated Gaprindashvili, marking the end of one Georgian's domination and the beginning of another's. Chiburdanidze defended her title against Alexandria at Borjomi/Tbilisi 1981 and Irina Levitina at Volgograd 1984. Following this, FIDE reintroduced the Candidates tournament system. Akhmilovskaya, who had earlier lost to Chiburdanidze in the Candidates matches, won the tournament was but was still defeated by Chiburdanidze at Sofia 1986. Chiburdanidze's final title defense came against Nana Ioseliani at Telavi 1988.

Post-Soviet era (1991–2010)

Chiburdanidze's domination ended in Manila 1991, where the young Chinese star Xie Jun defeated her, after finishing second to the still-active Gaprindashvili in an Interzonal, tying with Alisa Marić in the Candidates tournament, and then beating Maric in a tie-breaker match.

It was during this time that the three Polgar sisters Susan (also known as Zsuzsa), Sofia (Zsófia), and Judit emerged as dominant players. However they tended to compete in open tournaments, avoiding the women's championship.

Susan Polgar eventually changed her policy. She won the 1992 Candidates tournament in Shanghai. The Candidates final—an eight-game match between the top two finishers in the tournament—was a drawn match between Polgar and Ioseliani, even after two tiebreaks. The match was decided by a lottery, which Ioseliani won. She was then promptly crushed by Xie Jun (8½–2½) in the championship at Monaco 1993.

The next cycle was dominated by Polgar. She tied with Chiburdanidze in the Candidates tournament, defeated her easily in the match (5½–1½), and then decisively defeated Xie Jun (8½–4½) in Jaén 1996 for the championship.

In 1997, Russian Alisa Galliamova and Chinese Xie Jun finished first and second, but Galliamova refused to play the final match entirely in China. FIDE eventually awarded the match to Xie Jun by default.

However, by the time all these delays were sorted out, Polgar had given birth to her first child. She requested that the match be postponed. FIDE refused, and eventually set up the championship to be between Galliamova and Xie Jun. The championship was held in Kazan, Tatarstan and Shenyang, China, and Xie Jun won with five wins, three losses, and seven draws.

In 2000 a knock-out event, similar to the FIDE overall title and held alongside it, was the new format of the women's world championship. It was won by Xie Jun. In 2001 a similar event determined the champion, Zhu Chen. Another knock-out, this one held separately from the overall championship, in Elista, the capital of the Russian republic of Kalmykia (of which FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is president), from May 21 to June 8, 2004, produced Bulgarian Antoaneta Stefanova as champion. As with Polgar five years prior, Zhu Chen did not participate due to pregnancy.

In 2006 the title returned to China. The new champion Xu Yuhua was pregnant during the championship.

In 2008, the title went to Russian grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk, who, in the final, beat Chinese prodigy Hou Yifan 2½–1½, then aged 14 (see Women's World Chess Championship 2008).

In 2010 the title returned to China once again. Hou Yifan, the runner-up in the previous championship, became the youngest ever women's world champion at the age of 16. She beat her compatriot WGM Ruan Lufei 2–2 (classic) 3–1 (rapid playoffs).

Yearly tournaments (2010–2018)

Women's World Chess Championship, Tirana 2011 Women's World Chess Championship Tirana 2011.jpg
Women's World Chess Championship, Tirana 2011

Beginning from 2010, the Women's World Chess Championship would be held annually in alternating formats. In even years a 64-player knockout system would be used, in the odd years a classical match featuring only two players would be held. [3] The 2011 edition was between the 2010 champion Hou Yifan and the winner of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2009–2011. Since Hou Yifan won the Grand Prix, her challenger was the runner-up, Koneru Humpy. [4]

In 2011 Hou Yifan successfully defended her women's world champion title in the Women's World Chess Championship 2011 in Tirana, Albania against Koneru Humpy. Hou won three games and drew five in the ten-game match, winning the title with two games to spare.

Hou Yifan was knocked-out in the second round in Women's World Chess Championship 2012, which was played in Khanty Mansiysk. Anna Ushenina, seeded 30th in the tournament, won the final against Antoaneta Stefanova 3½–2½.

The Women's World Chess Championship 2013 was a match over 10 games between defending champion Anna Ushenina and Hou Yifan who had won the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011–2012. After seven of ten games Hou Yifan won the match 5.5 to 1.5 to retake the title.

After Hou declined to defend her title at the Women's World Chess Championship 2015, the title was won by Mariya Muzychuk, who defeated Natalia Pogonina in the final.

Hou defeated Muzychuk 6-3 to reclaim the Women's World Chess Championship 2016 title for her 4th championship in March 2016.

The following year Tan Zhongyi defeated Anna Muzychuk for the title at the Women's World Chess Championship 2017.

Tan lost the title defending it against Ju Wenjun (with Hou not participating at this event) at the Women's World Chess Championship Match 2018.

Return to match-only format

Due to various hosting and timing issues, the championships had varied from their intended annual calendar in recent years. [5] FIDE held a second world championship in 2018 in order to get back on schedule. [6]

After the 2018 championship tournament the new FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich announced the format would be changed back to matches only. He said the many different champions the yearly system created discredited the championship title as a whole. [7] Aleksandra Goryachkina won the Candidates tournament, held in June 2019, to challenge for the World Championship. Ju Wenjun retained her title in the 2020 Championship.

Women's World Chess Champions

NameYearsCountry
Vera Menchik 19271944Flag of Russia.svg Russia (in exile) / Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia / Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
none19441950 World War II
Lyudmila Rudenko 19501953Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg  Soviet Union (Ukrainian SSR)
Elisaveta Bykova 19531956Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union (Russian SFSR)
Olga Rubtsova 19561958Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union (Russian SFSR)
Elisaveta Bykova 19581962Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union (Russian SFSR)
Nona Gaprindashvili 19621978Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union (Georgian SSR)
Maia Chiburdanidze 19781991Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union (Georgian SSR)
Xie Jun 19911996Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Susan Polgar 19961999Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary
Xie Jun 19992001Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Zhu Chen 20012004Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Antoaneta Stefanova 20042006Flag of Bulgaria.svg Bulgaria
Xu Yuhua 20062008Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Alexandra Kosteniuk 20082010Flag of Russia.svg Russia
Hou Yifan 20102012Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Anna Ushenina 20122013Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine
Hou Yifan 20132015Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Mariya Muzychuk 20152016Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine
Hou Yifan 20162017Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Tan Zhongyi 20172018Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Ju Wenjun 2018Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China

List of Women's World Chess Championships

YearHost countryHost cityWorld championRunner-up(s)Won (+)Lost (−) Draw (=) Format
Women's World Chess Championship (1927–1944)
1927 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom London Flag of Russia.svg Vera Menchik Flag of Sweden.svg Katarina Beskow 100112-player round-robin tournament
1930 Flag of Germany (3-2 aspect ratio).svg  Germany Hamburg Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Vera Menchik Flag of Austria.svg Paula Wolf-Kalmar 6115-player double round-robin tournament
1931 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia Prague Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Vera Menchik Flag of Austria.svg Paula Wolf-Kalmar 8005-player double round-robin tournament
1933 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom Folkestone Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Vera Menchik Flag of England.svg Edith Charlotte Price 14008-player double round-robin tournament
1934 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands Rotterdam Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Vera Menchik Flag of Germany (1933-1935).svg Sonja Graf 3104-game match
1935 Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg Poland Warsaw Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Vera Menchik Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg Regina Gerlecka 90010-player round-robin tournament
1937 Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden Stockholm Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Vera Menchik Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg Clarice Benini 140026-player Swiss-system tournament
1937 Flag of Austria.svg Austria Semmering Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Vera Menchik Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg Sonja Graf 92516-game match
1939 Flag of Argentina.svg Argentina Buenos Aires Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Vera Menchik Flag placeholder.svg Sonja Graf 170220-player round-robin tournament
Vera Menchik died in 1944 as reigning world champion.
Women's World Chess Championship (1944–1950)
Interregnum
Women's World Chess Championship (1950–1999)
1950 Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg  Soviet Union Moscow Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Lyudmila Rudenko 15 players11½ points out of 1516-player round-robin tournament
1953 Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Soviet Union Moscow Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Elisaveta Bykova Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Lyudmila Rudenko 75214-game match
1956 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Moscow Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Olga Rubtsova Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Elisaveta Bykova 10 points out of 163-player (Rubtsova, Bykova, Rudenko) octuple round-robin
1958 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Moscow Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Elisaveta Bykova Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Olga Rubtsova 74314-game match
1959 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Moscow Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Elisaveta Bykova Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Kira Zvorykina 62513-game match
1962 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Moscow Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Nona Gaprindashvili Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Elisaveta Bykova 70411-game match
1965 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Riga Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Nona Gaprindashvili Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Alla Kushnir 73313-game match
1969 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Tbilisi
Moscow
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Nona Gaprindashvili Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Alla Kushnir 62514-game match
1972 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Riga Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Nona Gaprindashvili Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Alla Kushnir 54716-game match
1975 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Pitsunda
Tbilisi
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Nona Gaprindashvili Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Nana Alexandria 83112-game match
1978 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Tbilisi Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Maia Chiburdanidze Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Nona Gaprindashvili 42915-game match
1981 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Borjomi
Tbilisi
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Maia Chiburdanidze Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Nana Alexandria 44816-game match (draw)
1984 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Volgograd Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Maia Chiburdanidze Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Irina Levitina 52714-game match
1986 Flag of Bulgaria (1971-1990).svg  Bulgaria Sofia Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Maia Chiburdanidze Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Elena Akhmilovskaya 41914-game match
1988 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Telavi Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Maia Chiburdanidze Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Nana Ioseliani 321116-game match
1991 Flag of the Philippines (navy blue).svg Philippines Manila Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Xie Jun Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Maia Chiburdanidze 42915-game match
1993 Flag of Monaco.svg Monaco Monaco Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Xie Jun Flag of Georgia (1990-2004).svg Nana Ioseliani 71311-game match
1996 Flag of Spain.svg Spain Jaén Flag of Hungary.svg Susan Polgar Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Xie Jun 62513-game match
1999 Flag of Russia.svg Russia
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Kazan
Shenyang
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Xie Jun Flag of Russia.svg Alisa Galliamova 53715-game match
Women's World Chess Championship (2000–2018) (addition of the knockout format)
2000 Flag of India.svg India New Delhi Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Xie Jun Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Qin Kanying 10364-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match)
2001 Flag of Russia.svg Russia Moscow Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Zhu Chen Flag of Russia.svg Alexandra Kosteniuk 2+32+1064-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
2004 Flag of Russia.svg Russia Elista Flag of Bulgaria.svg Antoaneta Stefanova Flag of Russia.svg Ekaterina Kovalevskaya 20164-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, won early)
2006 Flag of Russia.svg Russia Yekaterinburg Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Xu Yuhua Flag of Russia.svg Alisa Galliamova 20164-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, won early)
2008 Flag of Russia.svg Russia Nalchik Flag of Russia.svg Alexandra Kosteniuk Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Hou Yifan 10364-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match)
2010 Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey Hatay Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Hou Yifan Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Ruan Lufei 1+212+264-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
2011 Flag of Albania.svg Albania Tirana Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Hou Yifan Flag of India.svg Humpy Koneru 30510-game match, won early
2012 Flag of Russia.svg Russia Khanty-Mansiysk Flag of Ukraine.svg Anna Ushenina Flag of Bulgaria.svg Antoaneta Stefanova 1+112+164-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
2013 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China Taizhou Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Hou Yifan Flag of Ukraine.svg Anna Ushenina 40310-game match, won early
2015 Flag of Russia.svg Russia Sochi Flag of Ukraine.svg Mariya Muzychuk Flag of Russia.svg Natalia Pogonina 10364-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match)
2016 Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine Lviv Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Hou Yifan Flag of Ukraine.svg Mariya Muzychuk 30610-game match, won early
2017 Flag of Iran.svg Iran Tehran Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Tan Zhongyi Flag of Ukraine.svg Anna Muzychuk 1+112+164-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
May 2018 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China Shanghai
Chongqing
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Ju Wenjun Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Tan Zhongyi 32510-game match
Nov 2018 Flag of Russia.svg Russia Khanty-Mansiysk Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Ju Wenjun Flag of Russia.svg Kateryna Lagno 1+212+264-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
Women's World Chess Championship (2020) (return to match format only)
2020 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Flag of Russia.svg Russia
Shanghai
Vladivostok
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Ju Wenjun Flag of Russia.svg Aleksandra Goryachkina 3+136+312-game match (plus tie-breaks)

Most Wins

See also

Related Research Articles

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Maia Chiburdanidze Georgian chess grandmaster (born 1961)

Maia Chiburdanidze is a Georgian chess grandmaster. She is the sixth Women's World Chess Champion, a title she held from 1978 to 1991, and was the youngest one until 2010, when this record was broken by Hou Yifan. Chiburdanidze has played on nine gold-medal-winning teams in Women's Chess Olympiads.

Nona Gaprindashvili Georgian chess grandmaster (born 1941)

Nona Gaprindashvili is a Soviet and a Georgian chess player, and the first woman to be awarded the FIDE title Grandmaster, which occurred in 1978. She was the fifth women's world chess champion (1962–1978).

Alisa Galliamova Russian chess player

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Below is a list of events in chess in 1993, as well as the top ten FIDE rated chess players of that year.

The FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2009–2011 was a series of six chess tournaments exclusively for women, which formed part of the qualification cycle for the Women's World Chess Championship 2011. The winner of the Grand Prix was to challenge Hou Yifan—the 2010 world champion— in the third quarter of 2011. As Hou Yifan also won the Grand Prix, Koneru Humpy as the runner-up qualified for the championship match.

The Women's World Chess Championship 2001 took place from November 25 to December 14, 2001 in Moscow, Russia. It was won by Zhu Chen, who beat Alexandra Kosteniuk in the final by 5 to 3. The final was tied 2–2 after the classical games and decided in the rapid tie-breaks.

The 1972 Women's World Chess Championship was won by Nona Gaprindashvili, who successfully defended her title against challenger Alla Kushnir. This was the third consecutive title match between the two strongest female players of their time.

The 1978 Women's World Chess Championship was won by Maia Chiburdanidze, who defeated the incumbent champion Nona Gaprindashvili At only 17 years of age, Chiburdanidze became the sixth and youngest Women's World Champion.

The 1981 Women's World Chess Championship was won by Maia Chiburdanidze, who successfully defended her title against challenger Nana Alexandria after a closely fought match, which ended in an 8-8 tie.

Womens World Chess Championship 1984

The 1984 Women's World Chess Championship was won by Maia Chiburdanidze, who successfully defended her title against challenger Irina Levitina.

The 1986 Women's World Chess Championship was won by Maia Chiburdanidze, who successfully defended her title against challenger Elena Akhmilovskaya.

The 1991 Women's World Chess Championship was won by Xie Jun, who defeated the incumbent champion Maia Chiburdanidze in the title match.

The 1993 Women's World Chess Championship was won by Xie Jun, who successfully defended her title against challenger Nana Ioseliani in the title match.

The 1996 Women's World Chess Championship was won by Hungarian Zsuzsa Polgar, who defeated the incumbent champion Xie Jun in the title match. Polgar was seeking American Citizenship at the time.

Womens World Chess Championship 1999

The 1999 Women's World Chess Championship was won by former champion Xie Jun, who regained her title after defeating Alisa Galliamova. Previous to the match, reigning champion Susan Polgar had been stripped of her title after much controversy.

The Women's World Chess Championship 2000 was a change from previous championship cycle in that, for the first time, it consisted of a 64-player knock-out tournament which took place from November 27 to December 16, 2000 in New Delhi, India. Despite the change in format, the tournament was still won by defending champion Xie Jun of China, who beat her compatriot Qin Kanying in the final by 2½ to 1½.

While the World Chess Championship title, contested officially since 1886 and unofficially long before that, is in theory open to all players, it was for many years contested solely by men. In 1927, FIDE therefore established a Women's World Chess Championship exclusively for female players. Like the "open" title, the format for the women's championship has undergone several changes since then, the most important of which are described here.

This article is about the participation of women in chess and its culture.

References

  1. See for instance the discussion in the Dutee Chand decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding the International Association of Athletics Federations:
  2. Handbook - FIDE Statutes. FIDE.
  3. Regulations for the Women’s World Chess Championship Cycle. FIDE.
  4. "Regulations and Bidding Procedure for the Women's Grand-Prix 2009-2010". FIDE. 30 July 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2019
  5. FIDE General Assembly Agenda (5.20.8)
  6. FIDE Calendar 2018. FIDE.
  7. "A. Dvorkovich: Format of the Women's World Championship Cycle will be changed – Women's World Championship 2018". ugra2018.fide.com. 2018-10-13. Retrieved 2019-10-10.