China’s Tan Zhongyi is Women’s World Chess Champion

China’s Tan Zhongyi defeated Ukraine’s Anna Muzychuk in the final match of the Women’s World Chess Championship in Tehran on Friday to become the 16th women’s champion.

According to FIDE’s website, Zhongyi defeated Muzychuk on tie-break with 1.5 – 0.5.

Four previous games with classical time control finished with 2:2 score. The fourth and final game of the classical encounter between Zhongyi and Muzychuk in the 2017 FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship had ended in a draw on Thursday, sending the seriously-ranked match into a stalemate. Each grandmaster had one win and one draw.

New Women’s World Chess Champion Tan Zhongyi

In classical games, each player receives 90 minutes on the timer for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the remainder of the game. The result of the match would therefore be determined on tie-break with quicker time controls. FIDE regulations for the match specify that two tie-break games with the time control of 25 minutes plus 10-second increments would be played. Muzychuk would play the select white pieces at the start of proceedings. If the scores are still level after the tie-breaks, another match of two games would be contested with a blitz time control of five minutes in addition to a three-second increment.

Finally, if no result is reached, a sudden-death game will finish things. The player with the white pieces gets five minutes on the timer, and the one with black gets 4 minutes. In the event of a draw, black is declared the winner.

The fourth game represented a Slav defence of the queen’s gambit, and the contestants agreed to a draw on move 24, quick for a world championship game. Similar to last November’s world championship match, the title would rest on tie-breaks. Muzychuk did not play any tie-breaks during the championship, and it would be interesting to witness how she would handle the new situation. On the other hand, Zhongyi played three tie-breaks including two sudden death games against Anna Ushenina and Harika Dronavalli. Muzychuk, however, is the incumbent World Blitz and Rapid champion, so realistically, she should play the accelerated form of the game in a manner that is constant with her accumulated knowledge of openings, middles and endings.

In the meantime, China’s Ju Wenjun became the fifth woman chess player to crack the 2600 points barrier in chess. The others are: Judith Polgar, Humpey Koneru, Hou Yifan and Anna Muzychuk. In the male-dominated chess arena, it’s the first time that five players have surpassed the fabled 2800 mark, according to the March rating list which has been published by FIDE. US grandmaster Wesley So has moved to number two in the world succeeding his compatriot Fabiano Caruana. The top five chess players in the world today according to ratings are as follows:

  1. Magnus Carlsen, Norway, 2838.
  2. Wesley So, USA, 2822.
  3. Fabiano Caruana, USA, 2817.
  4. Vladimir Kramnik, Russia, 2811.
  5. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, France, 2803.

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