GM Anna Ushenina

Full name
Anna Yuriyivna Ushenina
Born
Aug 30, 1985 (age 34)‎
Place of birth
Kharkiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Federation
Ukraine
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Bio

Anna Ushenina is a Ukrainian grandmaster who won the Women’s World Championship in 2012. She is also the 2020 winner of the Women’s Speed Chess Championship, which was held on Chess.com. Ushenina nearly always opens games with 1.d4 and plays the Sicilian as Black against 1.e4. She goes by Enki007 on Chess.com.

Early Years And Career

Ushenina was born in northeastern Ukraine in 1985 in its second largest city, Kharkiv. She started playing chess when she was seven and credits her parents—especially her mother—for getting her interested in it.

By the time Ushenina was 15, she was Ukraine’s under-20 female champion. Around that time she began studying at Kharkiv’s chess school under IM Artiom Tsepotan. 

WGM by 2003, Ushenina began competing in the Women’s Chess Championship in 2006, where she advanced to the second round. In 2008, now an IM, she made it to the quarterfinals before falling to the eventual tournament victor, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk

Anna Ushenina, 2007
Ushenina in 2007. Photo: Wikipedia/Andreas Kontokanis, CC BY 2.0

In 2010, Ushenina lost in the first round of the championship tournament, but her next attempt would go much better: all the way to the title.

World Champion

After defeating WGM Deysi Cori in the first round, Ushenina faced third-seeded GM Anna Muzychuk in the second. They drew the two standard time control games, but Ushenina won the first rapid game with the Najdorf Sicilian and then advanced to round three after winning their second rapid game as well.

Ushenina followed up with 1.5-0.5 wins at standard time controls against 19th-seeded WGM Natalia Pogonina and sixth-seeded Nadezhda Kosintseva, the second GM she defeated. Ushenina was now in the semifinals, where she defeated GM Ju Wenjun (then a WGM) to set up a final against GM Antoaneta Stefanova, the 16th seed.

In the four-game standard set, Ushenina jumped out to a lead in a complex game three (below), but Stefanova forced a rapid match in game four. After a draw in the first rapid game, Ushenina won a rook ending in 94 moves to win the championship and earn her GM title as well.

Ushenina held the title until the match the next year against GM Hou Yifan, who was upset in the second round of the knockout championship that Ushenina had won. Their ten-game match was over in seven with Hou victorious.

Perhaps the most notable single-game victory of Ushenina’s career came in 2013 as well at the FIDE World Cup. Seeded 116th, she drew super GM Peter Svidler in the first round. Despite being at a 250-point rating disadvantage, Ushenina defeated him in their first contest. (See “Best Game” below.) However, Svidler regrouped to win their second game and both rapid contests to advance. 

Olympiads and Team Play

The Ukrainian women’s team is always a strong challenger for gold medals in team play, and Ushenina has been on the team since 2006, usually on the third board. Ukraine won gold at the women’s Olympiad in 2006, silver in 2008 and 2018, and bronze in 2012, 2014, and 2016.

Anna Ushenina, 2017

Ushenina in 2017 at the World Rapid Championship in Riyadh. Photo: Maria Emilianova/Chess.com.

Ushenina also had the best third-board individual performance at the 2007 European Team Chess Championships.

Recent Years

In addition to being a regular presence at the Olympiad every two years, Ushenina has remained extremely active overall. In 2019 alone she played in the Women’s World Team Chess Championship, European Championship, Russian Team Championship, IMSA World Masters Rapid and Blitz, European Club Cup, and World Rapid and Blitz Championship. She also played in the 2019 Isle of Man Grand Swiss, a qualifying event for the open World Championship.

In July 2020, Ushenina claimed victory at the Women’s Speed Chess Championship, online at Chess.com. After winning the first leg and making the finals in the second leg of the four-leg Grand Prix, she qualified for the final against her 2008 rival, Kosteniuk. A narrow 14.5-13.5 victory gave Ushenina the championship.

Best Game


Most Played Openings

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