Ju Wenjun-Goryachkina Women's World Chess Championship Starts Sunday

Ju Wenjun-Goryachkina Women's World Chess Championship Starts Sunday

| 41 | Chess Event Coverage

The 2020 Women's World Championship match between reigning champion Ju Wenjun (China) and challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina (Russia) will start on Sunday in Shanghai. The second half of the match will be played in Vladivostok, Russia. Here's where you can find the basic information:


# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score
1 Ju Wenjun 2584 2578 ½ ½ . . . . . . . . . . 1
2 Aleksandra Goryachkina 2578 2584 ½ ½ . . . . . . . . . . 1

Live Games & Commentary

Commentary will be provided by WFM Anna Cramling and other special guest hosts on starting from round two. There will be coverage on the official website, and will relay the games here as part of our live portal. The games will start 3:30 p.m. local time, which is 8:30 a.m. CET, 2:30 a.m. Eastern and 11:30 p.m. (the day before) Pacific. 


The match will be opened on Jan. 4, with the first game taking place on Jan. 5. After each set of two games is a rest day. After game six, there will be two extra free days when the match moves from Shanghai to Vladivostok.

January 4 – Shanghai opening ceremony and technical meeting
January 5 – Shanghai game 1
January 6 – Shanghai game 2
January 7 – Shanghai day off
January 8 – Shanghai game 3
January 9 – Shanghai game 4
January 10 – Shanghai day off
January 11 – Shanghai game 5
January 12 – Shanghai game 6
January 13 – Shanghai departure
January 14 – Vladivostok arrival
January 15 – Vladivostok opening ceremony and technical meeting
January 16 – Vladivostok game 7
January 17 – Vladivostok game 8
January 18 – Vladivostok day off
January 19 – Vladivostok game 9
January 20 – Vladivostok game 10
January 21 – Vladivostok day off
January 22 – Vladivostok game 11
January 23 – Vladivostok game 12
January 24 – Vladivostok tiebreak (if needed) and closing ceremony
January 25 – Vladivostok departure

Location & Venue

The first half of the match will be held in Shanghai at the Shanghai Chess Center. In Vladivostok, the playing venue will be on the campus of the Far Eastern Federal University on Russian Island.


The reigning women's world champion is 28-year-old Ju from Shanghai. She won the title in May 2018 by beating the then-champion Tan Zhongyi of China. Only six months later, Ju defended her title by winning the last knockout world championship in November 2018 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Ju Wenjun
Ju Wenjun. Photo: FIDE.

The challenger is 21-year-old Goryachkina from Orsk, Russia. She qualified for this title match by winning the candidates' tournament in March 2019 in Kazan, Russia, with two rounds to spare.

Aleksandra Goryachkina
Aleksandra Goryachkina. Photo: FIDE.

Prize Fund

The prize fund for the match is 500,000 euros, net of any applicable local taxes. The winner will earn 60 percent of the prize fund, and 40 percent will go to the runner-up. If the match ends in a tie after 12 games and a tiebreak decides matters, the winner will receive 55 percent and the runner-up, 45 percent.


The official regulations can be found in PDF here. These are most important details to know:

  • The match will be played over 12 standard games. When a player reaches 6.5 points, she wins.
  • At the opening ceremony, a drawing of colors determines who will start with the white pieces. For subsequent rounds, the colors alternate automatically. The colors will be reversed after game six, meaning the player getting the white color in game one will play game seven with the black color.
  • The time control for each game is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 1.
  • If the scores are even after the 12 regular games, four tiebreak games will be played. These are rapid games with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move.
  • If it's still equal, two blitz games will be played (five minutes plus a three-second increment). If it's still equal, a second pair of two blitz games will be played. If there is still no winner after five such matches, one sudden-death game will be played. The player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the color. The player with the white pieces will receive five minutes, the player with the black pieces, four minutes; after the 60th move, both players will receive an increment of three seconds. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared the winner.
  • The players cannot draw a game by agreement before Black’s 40th move. A claim for a draw before Black’s 40th move is permitted only through an arbiter in case of a threefold repetition.


The women's world championship of chess has a long tradition. Unlike the "general" championship that started with matches (from Steinitz-Zukertort in 1886), the first women's events for the title were tournaments. Vera Menchik dominated these tournaments between 1927 and 1939.

After Menchik died during the Second World War, the next champion was determined in another tournament, won by Lyudmila Rudenko, in 1949-50. After that, a similar system as for the men's championship was established with qualifying tournaments, a candidates' tournament and a title match.

This period lasted until 1999 and saw the following champions: Elisaveta Bykova (1953-1956,1958-1962), Olga Rubtsova (1956-1958), Nona Gaprindashvili (1962-1978), Maia Chiburdanidze (1978-1991), Xie Jun (1991-1996) and Susan Polgar (1996-1999).

Starting in 2000, knockout tournaments were introduced to decide the women's world championships, and beginning in 2010 the championship was held annually, with matches and knockout events alternating. During this period, the champions were Xie (1999-2001), Zhu Chen (2001-2004), Antoaneta Stefanova (2004-2006), Xu Yuhua (2006-2008), Alexandra Kosteniuk (2008-2010), Hou Yifan (2010-2012, 2013-2015, 2016-2017), Anna Ushenina (2012-2013), Mariya Muzychuk (2015-2016), Tan Zhongyi (2017-2018) and Ju Wenjun (2018).

With the new FIDE administration, the old system of the candidates' tournament and a match every two years was re-established. The Ju-Goryachkina match is the first under the new system.

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