Women's World Championship About To Take Off (But Hou Yifan Doesn't Play)

Women's World Championship About To Take Off (But Hou Yifan Doesn't Play)

| 49 | Chess Event Coverage

The Women's World Championship will be opened tomorrow in Sochi, Russia. In this 64-player knockout reigning world champion GM Hou Yifan is not defending her title.

The Women's World Championship will run 17 March-7 April. The reason for the Chinese's absence is that she had made other arrangements for this period: she will be playing in the Hawaii Chess Festival.

Originally the Championship was supposed to be held October last year, but it was canceled by FIDE just two-and-a-half weeks before it was supposed to start. When the new dates were announced, Hou Yifan had already accepted an invitation for Hawaii.

This means that in a few weeks from now, Hou Yifan won't be holding the title of women's world champion anymore. Ironically, this happens right after she took over the number one spot from GM Judit Polgar, and having a rating more than a hundred points highter than #3 GM Humpy Koneru.

However, if we maybe believe the FIDE Calendar she can win back her title in half a year from now. As the winner of the Grand Prix, Hou Yifan is allowed to challenge the 2015 world champion in a match which is supposed to take place 13-31 October 2015.

Although the tournament in Sochi is devalued before it even started, it will still be interesting to follow. Even GM Magnus Carlsen might keep an eye on it: yesterday in Reykjavik he said that many women games are theoretically relevant because they prepare well with strong coaches. 

The favorites in Sochi are the Vice-World Champion GM Humpy Koneru (India), ex-world champions GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), GM Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) and the three-time Russian champion GM Valentina Gunina.

The first five rounds consist of two games (one per day), The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and then 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment. The final match consists of four games.

If the match score is tied, a playoff will be played on the third day of the round. A playoff consists of two rapid games (25 minutes + 10 seconds per move), if necessary two more games (10 minutes + 10 seconds per move), if necessary two blitz games (5 minutes + 3 seconds per move) and if necessary one Armageddon game.

The total prize fund of the Championship is US $450,000. Every player gets $3750, those who make it to round two get $5500, for round three it is $8000, round four $12,000, round five (semifinals) $20,000, the silver medalist $30,000, and the winner $60,000.

The opening ceremony will be held Monday, 16 March an the Grand Hotel Polyana in Krasnaya Polyana Sochi.

2015 Women's World Championship | Participants

Rank Name Title Country Rating
1 Koneru, Humpy GM IND 2581
2 Ju, Wenjun GM CHN 2557
3 Muzychuk, Anna GM UKR 2552
4 Cmilyte, Viktorija GM LTU 2530
5 Kosteniuk, Alexandra GM RUS 2529
6 Gunina, Valentina GM RUS 2528
7 Zhao, Xue GM CHN 2527
8 Muzychuk, Mariya IM UKR 2526
9 Stefanova, Antoaneta GM BUL 2522
10 Khotenashvili, Bela GM GEO 2513
11 Cramling, Pia GM SWE 2495
12 Harika, Dronavalli GM IND 2492
13 Danielian, Elina GM ARM 2488
14 Tan, Zhongyi WGM CHN 2487
15 Ushenina, Anna GM UKR 2486
16 Galliamova, Alisa IM RUS 2484
17 Kosintseva, Tatiana GM RUS 2483
18 Sebag, Marie GM FRA 2482
19 Javakhishvili, Lela IM GEO 2481
20 Paehtz, Elisabeth IM GER 2479
21 Krush, Irina GM USA 2477
22 Hoang, Thanh Trang GM HUN 2475
23 Huang, Qian WGM CHN 2473
24 Zhukova, Natalia GM UKR 2471
25 Socko, Monika GM POL 2463
26 Melia, Salome IM GEO 2459
27 Girya, Olga WGM RUS 2459
28 Shen, Yang IM CHN 2459
29 Khurtsidze, Nino IM GEO 2457
30 Goryachkina, Aleksandra WGM RUS 2456
31 Pogonina, Natalija WGM RUS 2456
32 Lei, Tingjie WGM CHN 2444
33 Cori T., Deysi WGM PER 2444
34 Guo, Qi IM CHN 2443
35 Mkrtchian, Lilit IM ARM 2443
36 Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina IM RUS 2438
37 Kashlinskaya, Alina IM RUS 2436
38 Atalik, Ekaterina IM TUR 2419
39 Sukandar, Irine Kharisma IM INA 2415
40 Daulyte, Deimante IM LTU 2395
41 Gaponenko, Inna IM UKR 2384
42 Kovanova, Baira WGM RUS 2381
43 Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan GM SCO 2379
44 Milliet, Sophie IM FRA 2377
45 Arabidze, Meri IM GEO 2374
46 Guramishvili, Sopiko IM GEO 2367
47 Wang, Jue WGM CHN 2365
48 Gomes, Mary Ann WGM IND 2354
49 Lujan, Carolina IM ARG 2349
50 Zhang, Xiaowen WGM CHN 2349
51 Nakhbayeva, Guliskhan WGM KAZ 2329
52 Marrero Lopez, Yaniet WGM CUB 2322
53 Abrahamyan, Tatev WGM USA 2322
54 Hejazipour, Mitra WIM IRI 2302
55 Ozturk, Kubra WGM TUR 2284
56 Nguyen, Thi Than An WGM VIE 2261
57 Yuan, Yuanling WIM CAN 2257
58 Zuriel, Marisa WIM ARG 2219
59 Baginskaite, Camilla WGM USA 2192
60 Berezina, Irina IM AUS 2182
61 Shamima, Akter Liza WIM BAN 2130
62 Mezioud, Amina WIM ALG 2066
63 Wafa, Shrook WGM EGY 2058
64 Moaataz, Ayah WIM EGY 2022

The pairings for the first round are 1 vs 64, 2 vs 63, 3 vs 62 et cetera. You can find the full pairings tree here on the official website.

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