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The Women's World Chess Championship is officially underway
Press conference

The press-conference of the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, RCF President Andrey Filatov, the 12th World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), and the top seed player of the championship Humpy Koneru (India) took place on March 16 at the press-center of the World Championship (Achipsinskaya street 12, CS Galactica, village Estosadok, Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi).

According to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, “Sochi becomes not only the sports capital, but also the intellectual capital of the world: last November this city hosted the World Chess Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand, and now it welcomes the Women's World Championship. Unfortunately, the reigning champion Hou Yifan was unable to come due to personal reasons, but other world's strongest players are present. Also Hou Yifan will have an opportunity to challenge the new champion in a match, as she is a winner of the FIDE Grand Prix”.

Andrey Filatov thanked the organizers of the championship, primarily Vladimir Dvorkovich, the Head of the Organizing Committee, whose efforts secured wonderful conditions for all the players. Mr. Filatov also mentioned an innovative idea of the organizers: “This year the chess fans will also become visitors of a virtual art gallery. An exhibition of Russian art dedicated to the 70th anniversary of winning in the Second World War is provided by the ART RUSSE fund, which supports and promotes Russian art of the XX century. Practically all authors fought in the war or were born during it”.

Alexandra Kosteniuk: “This is my 7th World Championship. I managed to win in 2008. Naturally I wish to regain the title, but one should be careful predicting the outcome of a knock-out tournament. I will live from one game to another, trying to show the best chess I can”.

Humpy Koneru: “This is my first visit to Sochi. I very much liked the playing hall, and I am looking forward to the first game. I am not completely satisfied with my play in the latest FIDE Grand Prix, and will try to do my best in Sochi”.

The press-conference was followed by the opening ceremony of the championship, which took place in the Hunter Hall of the Grand Hotel Polyana. Igor Levitin, the advisor of the Russian President, read Vladimir Putin's greetings to participants and guests of the championship. The message reads, in part:

“Our country is justifiably proud of its chess traditions and has great experience in organising prestigious competitions of this kind. We will of course do everything possible to make sure that this championship is of the very highest level.

Sochi extends a hospitable welcome today to the world’s best women chess players, who will engage in intense and strong competition to demonstrate their skill, determination and creative ability and show in practice that they have everything it takes to fight for the chess world’s crown.

I am sure that this championship will be a memorable and vivid event that will draw us in with its skilful duels. It will help to make chess more popular here in Russia and around the world.”

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It was followed by welcome speeches of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, RCF President Andrey Filatov, Russian Deputy Minister of Sports Pavel Kolobkov, Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov. Then the Chief Arbiter of the championship Zsuzsa Veroci drew the lots. In the first game of the first round the players with odd numbers will be playing White.

Photo galleries here

The games start on Tuesday, March 17 at 3 pm msk.

Online broadcasting of the event in English and Russian is available at the official site of the championship ( and the RCF website (

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The Women's World Chess Championship takes place on March 17 – April 7 in Sochi (Krasnaya Polyana, Estosadok, CS Galactica, Achipsinskaya street, 12). The knock-out tournament is attended by 64 players, including the former World Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Anna Ushenina (Ukraine), and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), the three-time Russian champion Valentina Gunina, the World Vice-Champion Humpy Koneru (India), and many leading grandmasters from China, India, USA, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and other countries.

The first five rounds consist of two games with 90 moves per 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with bonus 30 seconds per each move. The final match consists of four games.

If the match score is tied, its winner is determined on the tie-break: two rapid games of 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move. If the score remains equal, the players proceed to another two games with a slightly faster time control – 10 minutes + 10 seconds per move. If these games do not determine the winner as well, then there are two blitz games: 5 minutes + 3 seconds per move. Finally, if the score is still even, there is an Armageddon game: White has 5 minutes, Black has 4 minutes, 3 seconds per move are added after the move 61, and a draw counts as a win for Black. The tie-break for the final match consists of four rapid games.

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Schedule: Round 1 – March 17-19, Round 2 – March 20-22, Round 3 – March 23-25, Quarterfinals – March 26-28, Semifinals – March 29-31, Finals – April 2-5.

April 1 is a day off. All games start at 15.00 msk.

For press credentials please contact the RCF Press Officer Eteri Kublashvili: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For more information contact Kirillos Zangalis, RCF PR Director +7 (968) 732 0080; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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