Women's World Chess Championship

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.

Current Women's World Chess Champion Ju Wenjun from China

History edit

Era of Menchik edit

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 open 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) edit

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) edit

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. Just as Bobby Fischer ended Soviet domination in the open section in 1972 after 24 years, Xie Jun ended Soviet domination in the women's section in 1991 after 41 years.

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) edit

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.[1] 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.[2]

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 edit

Due to various hosting and timing issues, the championships had varied from their intended annual calendar in recent years.[3] FIDE held a second world championship in 2018 in order to get back on schedule.

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.[4] 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 edit

# Name Years Country
1 Vera Menchik 1927–1944   Russia (in exile) /
  Czechoslovakia /
  United Kingdom
none 1944–1950 N/A (World War II)
2 Lyudmila Rudenko 1950–1953   Soviet Union
3 Elisaveta Bykova 1953–1956   Soviet Union
4 Olga Rubtsova 1956–1958   Soviet Union
(3) Elisaveta Bykova 1958–1962   Soviet Union
5 Nona Gaprindashvili 1962–1978   Soviet Union
6 Maia Chiburdanidze 1978–1991   Soviet Union
7 Xie Jun 1991–1996   China
8 Susan Polgar 1996–1999   Hungary
(7) Xie Jun 1999–2001   China
9 Zhu Chen 2001–2004   China
10 Antoaneta Stefanova 2004–2006   Bulgaria
11 Xu Yuhua 2006–2008   China
12 Alexandra Kosteniuk 2008–2010   Russia
13 Hou Yifan 2010–2012   China
14 Anna Ushenina 2012–2013   Ukraine
(13) Hou Yifan 2013–2015   China
15 Mariya Muzychuk 2015–2016   Ukraine
(13) Hou Yifan 2016–2017   China
16 Tan Zhongyi 2017–2018   China
17 Ju Wenjun 2018–   China

List of Women's World Chess Championships edit

Year Host country Host city World champion Runner-up(s) Won (+) Lost (−) Draw (=) Format
Women's World Chess Championship (1927–1944)
1927   United Kingdom London   Vera Menchik   Katarina Beskow 10 0 1 12-player round-robin tournament
1930   Germany Hamburg   Vera Menchik   Paula Wolf-Kalmar 6 1 1 5-player double round-robin tournament
1931   Czechoslovakia Prague   Vera Menchik   Paula Wolf-Kalmar 8 0 0 5-player double round-robin tournament
1933   United Kingdom Folkestone   Vera Menchik   Edith Charlotte Price 14 0 0 8-player double round-robin tournament
1935   Poland Warsaw   Vera Menchik   Regina Gerlecka 9 0 0 10-player round-robin tournament
1937 Jul   Austria Semmering   Vera Menchik   Sonja Graf 9 2 5 16-game match
1937 Aug   Sweden Stockholm   Vera Menchik   Clarice Benini 14 0 0 26-player Swiss-system tournament
1939   Argentina Buenos Aires   Vera Menchik   Sonja Graf 17 0 2 20-player round-robin tournament
Menchik died in 1944 as reigning world champion.
Women's World Chess Championship (1944–1950)
Women's World Chess Championship (1950–1999)
1950   Soviet Union Moscow   Lyudmila Rudenko   Olga Rubtsova 11½ points out of 15 16-player round-robin tournament
1953   Soviet Union Moscow   Elisaveta Bykova   Lyudmila Rudenko 7 5 2 14-game match
1956   Soviet Union Moscow   Olga Rubtsova   Elisaveta Bykova 10 points out of 16 3-player (Rubtsova, Bykova, Rudenko) octuple round-robin
1958   Soviet Union Moscow   Elisaveta Bykova   Olga Rubtsova 7 4 3 16-game match; won early
1959   Soviet Union Moscow   Elisaveta Bykova   Kira Zvorykina 6 2 5 16-game match; won early
1962   Soviet Union Moscow   Nona Gaprindashvili   Elisaveta Bykova 7 0 4 16-game match; won early
1965   Soviet Union Riga   Nona Gaprindashvili   Alla Kushnir 7 3 3 16-game match; won early
1969   Soviet Union Tbilisi
  Nona Gaprindashvili   Alla Kushnir 6 2 5 16-game match; won early
1972   Soviet Union Riga   Nona Gaprindashvili   Alla Kushnir 5 4 7 16-game match
1975   Soviet Union Pitsunda
  Nona Gaprindashvili   Nana Alexandria 8 3 1 16-game match; won early
1978   Soviet Union Tbilisi   Maia Chiburdanidze   Nona Gaprindashvili 4 2 9 16-game match; won early
1981   Soviet Union Borjomi
  Maia Chiburdanidze   Nana Alexandria 4 4 8 16-game match (draw)
1984   Soviet Union Volgograd   Maia Chiburdanidze   Irina Levitina 5 2 7 16-game match; won early
1986   Bulgaria Sofia   Maia Chiburdanidze   Elena Akhmilovskaya 4 1 9 16-game match; won early
1988   Soviet Union Telavi   Maia Chiburdanidze   Nana Ioseliani 3 2 11 16-game match
1991   Philippines Manila   Xie Jun   Maia Chiburdanidze 4 2 9 16-game match; won early
1993   Monaco Monaco   Xie Jun   Nana Ioseliani 7 1 3 16-game match; won early
1996   Spain Jaén   Susan Polgar   Xie Jun 6 2 5 16-game match; won early
Polgar forfeited title in 1999.
Women's World Chess Championship (1999–2018)
1999   Russia
  Xie Jun   Alisa Galliamova 5 3 7 16-game match; won early
2000   India New Delhi   Xie Jun   Qin Kanying 1 0 3 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match)
2001   Russia Moscow   Zhu Chen   Alexandra Kosteniuk 2+3 2+1 0 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
2004   Russia Elista   Antoaneta Stefanova   Ekaterina Kovalevskaya 2 0 1 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match; won early)
2006   Russia Yekaterinburg   Xu Yuhua   Alisa Galliamova 2 0 1 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match; won early)
2008   Russia Nalchik   Alexandra Kosteniuk   Hou Yifan 1 0 3 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match)
2010   Turkey Hatay   Hou Yifan   Ruan Lufei 1+2 1 2+2 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
2011   Albania Tirana   Hou Yifan   Koneru Humpy 3 0 5 10-game match; won early
2012   Russia Khanty-Mansiysk   Anna Ushenina   Antoaneta Stefanova 1+1 1 2+1 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
2013   China Taizhou   Hou Yifan   Anna Ushenina 4 0 3 10-game match; won early
2015   Russia Sochi   Mariya Muzychuk   Natalia Pogonina 1 0 3 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match)
2016   Ukraine Lviv   Hou Yifan   Mariya Muzychuk 3 0 6 10-game match; won early
2017   Iran Tehran   Tan Zhongyi   Anna Muzychuk 1+1 1 2+1 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
2018 May   China Shanghai
  Ju Wenjun   Tan Zhongyi 3 2 5 10-game match
2018 Nov   Russia Khanty-Mansiysk   Ju Wenjun   Kateryna Lagno 1+2 1 2+2 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
Women's World Chess Championship (2019–present)
2020   China
  Ju Wenjun   Aleksandra Goryachkina 3+1 3 6+3 12-game match (plus tie-breaks)
2023   China Shanghai
  Ju Wenjun   Lei Tingjie 2 1 9 12-game match

Most wins edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Regulations for the Women’s World Chess Championship Cycle. FIDE.
  2. ^ "Regulations and Bidding Procedure for the Women's Grand-Prix 2009-2010". FIDE. 30 July 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2019
  3. ^ FIDE General Assembly Agenda (5.20.8)
  4. ^ "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.

External links edit