Women's Speed Chess Championship Takes Off Today With Lagno-Danielian

Women's Speed Chess Championship Takes Off Today With Lagno-Danielian

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The inaugural Women' Speed Chess Championship starts today, with the first quarterfinals matchup between GM Kateryna Lagno (Russia) and GM Elina Danielian (Armenia). 

We've had two matches in the Junior Speed Chess Championship so far, and our main Speed Chess Championship will take off in the summer, but now it's time for the ladies. In our first, special women-only championship the first match is going to be played today: Kateryna Lagno vs. Elina Danielian on Wednesday, May 22 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST).

You can watch the match with chess-master commentary on and

Women's Speed Chess Championship bracket

The 29-year-old Lagno (@KaterynaLagno) is Russia's highest rated player in classical chess, and one of three Russian participants in the championship. Only half a year ago, she was playing for the highest title, but lost in the final of the FIDE knockout world championship to Ju Wenjun.

The title of vice world champion is part of a long list of achievements from the Ukrainian-born Russian player, whose CV also includes two European Women's Championship titles, two Olympic team gold medals, one World Team Championship gold medal and two European Team Championship gold medals.

As it comes to speed chess, Lagno isn't bad either: she is the reigning world blitz champion, a title she also won back in 2010, and in 2014 she won the world rapid championship. 

Lagno defeated Danielian in her most recent tournament, the World Team Championship in March of this year in Astana, Kazahstan:

Kateryna Lagno Women's Speed Chess Championship 2019

The 40-year-old Danielian (@ClassyEl) has been Armenia's top female player for many years. She won the Armenian women's championship six times, and represented Armenia 13 times at Women's Olympiads. (1992-2014 and 2018). In 2003 she won gold at the Women's European Team Chess Championship in Plovdiv.

Danielian entered the championship by winning the open qualifier on May 8. One of her wins was the following, against WGM Hoang Thi Bao Tram (@meoluoi91) of Vietnam:

Lagno and Danielian have played each other 15 times. Somehow, in their careers they never played anything but classical chess against each other. Lagno leads 9.5-5.5 scoring +6, =7 -2 between 2005 and 2019.

As the top seed against the lowest seed, Lagno is obviously the favorite here. She herself didn't want to put that too strongly, though: "I don’t want to think who is the favorite; usually it doesn’t help you to play better."

Danielian should probably put her hopes on the internet factor: "I always consider Katya as a favorite at any kind of chess either behind the board or online, but I have never played with her online and have no idea how it's going to be."

Also, whereas Lagno doesn't play online very much, Danielian does it every now and then: "From time to time I play online and I like it, its kind of relaxing for me and of course there is a difference from real chess. I never saw Katya playing online, still it's a bit different from real chess and let's see what will happen in our match."

Elina Danielian Women's Speed Chess Championship 2019

It's quite possible that both players will come to the match not fully prepared, but they can hardly be blamed. "It would be useful to play some blitz games and to get my children asleep before the match," said Lagno.

Danielian: "There is nothing special in my preparation. Only if I can I'll try to play more online games in order to put my 'mouse hand' at working condition, but at home it's not so easy to do, always not enough time."

The match will start with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, continue with 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz, and end with 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet. (Find all regulations here.)

About the three different time controls, the Armenian player said: "Honestly, I've never played 5|1 and don't know how it is, but I think there shouldn't be a big difference between 3|1, which is my favorite time control for online chess. I don't consider bullet as chess; it's a parody on chess with a lot of fun. The faster player is the winner! "

The prize fund for the first-round matches is $2,000 each. The winner earns $1,000 and advances to round two, while the other $1,000 is split by win percentage.

The Women' Speed Chess Championship takes place May 22 - June 27 on the live server. All WSCC matches will be broadcast live with chess-master commentary on and

Here's the full schedule:

  • Lagno vs. Elina Danielian (Round 2, Match 1): May 22, 2019 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Kosteniuk vs. Zatonskih (Round 2, Match 2): May 26, 2019 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Gunina vs. Krush (Round 2, Match 3): May 27, 2019 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Dronavalli vs. Sebag (Round 2, Match 4): May 30, 2019 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Semifinal 1: (Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 4): June 20, 2019 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Semifinal 2: (Winner Match 2 vs. Winner Match 3): June 25, 2019 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • WSCC Championship: June 27, 2019 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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