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FIDE Announces New Knockout Format for Women's Candidates

FIDE Announces New Knockout Format for Women's Candidates

NM_Vanessa
| 67 | Chess Event Coverage

On Wednesday, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) announced a change in the format for the Women's Candidates Tournament. Instead of mirroring the format of the general world championship cycle with a double round robin, the eight qualified players will play a series of knockout matches. 

The eight players competing for the honor to challenge reigning Women's World Champion GM Ju Wenjun are:

The first stage of the event, which includes the quarterfinals and semifinals, will be held in October-November. Each match will consist of four games, plus possible tiebreaks. The players have been divided into two pools for this stage, and the quarterfinal pairings have been set:

Pool A

  • Koneru vs. A. Muzychuk
  • Lei vs. M. Muzychuk

Pool B

  • Goryachkina vs. Kosteniuk
  • Lagno vs. Tan

The final match will be played between the winner of each pool and will consist of six games, plus possible tiebreaks. It will take place in the first quarter of 2023. 

One of the competitors, Kosteniuk, tweeted about her thoughts on the change, as the new format―with the Ukrainian and Russian players designated to different pools―seems intended to prevent a Russia vs. Ukraine matchup before the final:

Full regulations for the event are available here in PDF.


The Women's Candidates Tournament is a part of the women's world championship cycle. Eight of the world's top female players, qualifying by ranking or top international events throughout the last two years, will compete for the chance to become the challenger against Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun in the summer of 2023.

NM_Vanessa
NM Vanessa West

Vanessa West is a National Master, a chess teacher, and a writer for Chess.com. In 2017, they won the Chess Journalist of the Year award.

You can follow them on X: Vanessa__West

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