Kosteniuk Excels in Chaotic Time Scrambles, Blitzes Fellow Women's World Champion

Kosteniuk Excels in Chaotic Time Scrambles, Blitzes Fellow Women's World Champion

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In the battle of Women's World Champions, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk prevailed over GM Antoaneta Stefanova in the second round of 16 match of the FIDE 2022 Women's Speed Chess Championship on Monday. While both competitors impressed on the board, Kosteniuk came through in a majority of the time scrambles, ending the match with a five-point lead. 

The third round of 16 match, GM Kateryna Lagno vs. WGM Vantika Agrawal, begins on Friday, June 24, at 5 a.m. Pacific / 14:00 Central European.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 FIDE Women's Speed Chess Championship on You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on The games can also be followed from our Events Page.

Live broadcast of the tournament, hosted by IM Irina Krush and WGM Jennifer Shahade.

Blitz 5|1: Kosteniuk 5-3 Stefanova

Kosteniuk claimed the first victory, making a comeback despite being down a pawn in the ending. 

Stefanova immediately struck back in the second game, unexpectedly trapping Kosteniuk's light-squared bishop in the early middlegame.

Stefanova followed it up with another victory, taking over the lead.

In the next game, Stefanova looked to be carrying away the lead when Kosteniuk fought back. Down three pawns in a rook ending, Kosteniuk played actively to hold a surprising draw and begin a comeback streak. 

In game five, Kosteniuk evened the match score with a Greek Gift sacrifice victory.

With the momentum in her favor, Kosteniuk won a third game in a row, gaining the lead and soon increasing it. 

In the last game of the segment, Stefanova was close to narrowing Kosteniuk's lead back to one point in a winning endgame but overlooked the finishing idea. Can you convert her advantage into victory?

The players went on to draw, leaving Kosteniuk with a two-point lead entering the next segment.

Blitz 3|1: Kosteniuk 6.5-2.5 Stefanova

 Kosteniuk kicked off the three-minute blitz portion of the match with a compelling attacking setup but hesitated on the checkmating sequence. Can you follow the attack through to the finish?

Kosteniuk went on to win in the time scramble anyway, despite being down a pawn in the rook ending. This became a trend of the match. As commentator WGM Jennifer Shahade summed up: "When things get chaotic, they tend to work out for Kosteniuk." 

When things get chaotic, they tend to work out for Kosteniuk.


In the next game, Kosteniuk did successfully capitalize on her attacking play, hunting down Stefanova's king through the center and kingside. 

In game four, Stefanova won a quick game with a tactic in the opening.

Game six showed what Stefanova's capable of at her best in speed chess, gaining over a two-minute lead on the clock, pressing a better position, and finding a clever winning tactic when low on time.

Despite Stefanova's well-played victories, most of the time scramble games went to Kosteniuk. This included the last game of the segment where Stefanova made a comeback on the board but ran out of time.

Kosteniuk closed out the blitz increasing her lead to six points. 

Bullet 1|1: Kosteniuk 4-5 Stefanova

The bullet segment began with the same trend as the earlier segments. Stefanova obtained great winning chances in terms of position but ended up losing on the clock.

In game two, Stefanova seemed to suddenly adapt to the time control, gaining both a time and material advantage and playing virtually instantly each move to convert them into a victory. 

Despite being down several points, Stefanova showed resilience and speed in the bullet segment, scoring better in the shortest time control. 

Kosteniuk sealed the overall match with a tactical victory, regaining her four-point lead with time left on the match clock for just three games.

Throughout the match, Kosteniuk displayed incredible fighting spirit and clarity in time scrambles, winning when she had advantages and gaining a number of victories from worse positions. 

In her interview, Kosteniuk shared her thoughts on bullet vs. blitz: "Well, in bullet, you just make moves. You don't have time to calculate almost at all... I just don't consider bullet to be chess. It's just purely intuitive skills that you are demonstrating."

All Games - Round of 16

Women's Speed Chess Championship Bracket

The FIDE 2022 Women's Speed Chess Championship is an online event where titled women players will play a series of blitz and bullet matches for a share of the $70,000 prize fund. The qualifiers for the event took place on May 24-27, with the main event starting on June 13 and ending on July 21.

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