FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship – Opening Ceremony – Photos

After uncertainty and concerns on the fate of the event last year, the FIDE Women’s World Championship was announced and organized in a flurry, and is held in Sochi, Russia. All the brightest stars will be playing with the exception of Hou Yifan, who reserves the right to challenge the winner as a result of her Grand Prix victory. Complete info, pairings, and pictures.

Tournament conditions

The Women’s World Chess Championship takes place from March 17 – April 7 in Sochi, Russia . 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 other leading grandmasters. Unfortunately, the reigning champion Hou Yifan was unable to come due to personal reasons, but she will still have an opportunity to challenge the new champion in a match, as the winner of the FIDE Grand Prix.

The first five rounds consist of mini-matches 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 tiebreak: 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 five minutes, Black has four minutes, and a three-second increment per move after the move 61.

Opening Ceremony


Andrey Filatov thanked the organizers of the championship, primarily Vladimir Dvorkovich, the Head of the Organizing Committee, whose efforts secured wonderful conditions for the players


Humpy Koneru, who recently wed, said, “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, advisor of the Russian President, read Vladimir Putin’s greetings to participants and guests of the championship.


There were several musical performances


After the protocols and speeches had been made the entertainment started


Viktorija Cmylite and Monika Socko


Grandmasters Evgeny Miroshnichenko and Dorian Rogozenco will provide live games commentary for the 1st round



Elina, Lilit and Elisabeth


Marie Sebag from France


The live commentary section


NastiaKarlovich testing the pieces