Home Chess News Women’s World Chess Championship underway in Lviv, Ukraine

Women’s World Chess Championship underway in Lviv, Ukraine


In the past couple of months Ukraine has been in the news for the wrong reasons.  On 23rd February 2014 President Putin of Russia decided that the Ukrainian territory of Crimea is actually part of Russian and went ahead to take control of the territory.

Map of Crimea.

On 18th March 2014 a referendum was held where “majority” of the inhabitants of the self proclaimed Republic of Crimea wanted to join Russia!  Simple as that.  President Putin just added 27,000 square km of land to Russia.

President Putin most vocal critic is our chess hero Garry Kasparov and who has written a book Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.  You can read a review of the book on Amazon review of Winter is Coming.

Enough of politics.  Time to get back to our first love which is chess.

The good news is that that Lviv which is the 7th largest city in Ukraine is host to the 2015 Women’s World Championship contest between title holder Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine and Hou Yifan of China.

Vitaliy Hrabar
World Champion Mariya Muzychuk looking for inspiration. Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar.

The match which runs from 1st to 18th March 2016 and has a prize fund Euro 200,000 (60% to the winner).

The venue is the charming Palace of Count Potockis which was built in 1890.

Palace of Count Potockis which is the venue for the match.

All major chess events have a grand opening and the City of Lviv did not disappoint with a spectacular show at the Lviv Opera House.

Lviv Opera House. Photo credit www.lviv2016.fide.com
Charming show. Photo credits www.lviv2016.fide.com
I have never seen this. Photo credits www.lviv2016.fide.com
The crowd at Lviv Opera Hall. Photo credits www.lviv2016.fide.com

24 year old Mariya Muzychuk became World Champion in 2015 when she defeated Natalia Pogonina.  She also has a chess playing sister Anna Muzychuk and both featured on a stamp issued by the Postage Service of Ukraine.

Stamp issued in honour of the Muzychuk sister

Hou Yifan who was born on 27th February 1997 has the honour of being the youngest World Champion when she won the title in 2010 at the age of 16.  She lost the title in 2012 but regained it in 2013.  Hou Yifan has incredible credentials and is clear favorite to win the match as she is rated 2667 which 104 Elo points above Mariya Muzychuk who is rated 2563.

2 time World Champion Hou Yifan. Will she make it the 3rd time as well? Photo credits www.lviv2016.fide.com

The first game ended in a draw and in the second one Hou Yifan defeated her opponent to take the lead.

The start of round 1. Photo credits www.lviv2016.fide.com

We bring you game number 2.


We hope this match will inspire a new generation of lady chess players in Kenya.  Ladies only make up less than 20% of the participants in Kenya.

Kenya Chess Masala will bring you live coverage of the match and we look forward to some exciting games over the next few days.