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Women’s World Chess Championship 2017

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Women’s World Chess Championship 2017

The FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship is currently taking place in Tehran, Iran.  The event commenced on 10th February and is due to end on 5th March 2017.

The press conference from left sitting FIDE CEO Geoffrey Borg, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Iranian Chess Federation Secretary General Shohreh Bayat and finally President of Iranian Chess Federation Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh. The Iranian ladies who are participating in the event standing from left Mitra Hejazipour , Sara Khademalsharieh and Atousa Pourkashiyan (Photo credit Reza Mahdipour).

The  Espinas Palace Hotel, in the northwest of Tehran is the venue for the event.

View of the playing hall. (Photo credit Reza Mahdipour)

Top players

Logo for Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran.

64 players are taking part with many of the top names including former Women’s World Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia), Anna Ushenina (Ukraine), Zhu Chen (Qatar), and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria), the current Women’s World Rapid and Blitz Champion Anna Muzychuk, the winner of the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2015-2016 Ju Wenjun (China), the three-time Russian champion and two-time European Champion Valentina Gunina and other leading grandmasters.

 

Sponsors

Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran, commonly abbreviated as MCI, Saipa Automakers and Shahr Bank of Iran are the event sponsors.

Local heroine Mitra Hejazipour of Iran. (Photo credit Niusha Afshar)

Hijab controversy

Controversy erupted when Tehran won the bid due to the requirements that all the ladies will have to wear the ‘hijab’ which is compulsory in Iran.   The cyber-world was on fire with fierce condemnation being heaped upon FIDE for allowing Iran to dictate what women should wear.

Mona Khalid of Egypt who caused a major upset by winning her first game against number one Georgian player, GM Nana Dzagnidze, with black. She lost her 2nd game in the Rapids and was unfortunately knocked out of the event. Photo credit Niusha Afshar.

Boycott by certain players

A few players in the end decided that they wanted to make a statement by refusing to take part in this event.  These included former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk, USA Ladies Champion Nazi Paikidze-Barnes and Carolina Lujan from Argentina.

Know your Georgian chess players so that you can recognise them in 2018 Batumi Olympiad – The charming Sopiko Guramishvili. Photo credit Reza Mahdipour.

All these kind of arguments are completely absurd in the current global world that we live in.  Are chess player supposed to become the “pawns” for every political and human rights issue?  Politics, human rights, religion and chess should not be mixed up.  Even Russia played Ukraine in the 2016 Baku Olympiad despite their massive differences over Crimea.

Know your Georgian chess players so that you can recognise them in 2018 Batumi Olympiad – Bela Khotenashvili. Photo credit Niusha Afshar

No other country came forward to bid for this event which had already been postponed earlier due to lack of bids.  It is a point many critics forgot.

Know your Georgian chess players so that you can recognise them in 2018 Batumi Olympiad – Nino Batsiashvili. Photo credit Reza Mahdipour.

As Avery Brundage the former President of the IOC said during the 1972 Munich Olympic crises ‘The games must go on’.  Well that is what happened in Tehran.

Know your Georgian chess players so that you can recognise them in 2018 Batumi Olympiad – Nino Khurtsidze. Photo credit Reza Mahdipour.

The same controversy broke when Tehran hosted the 2016 Grand Prix event.

The charming Sopiko Guramishvili from Georgia who is the wife of GM Anish Giri. Photo credit Niusha Afshar

Players from Africa

Africa had 3 players and included Mona, Khaled (EGY), Mezioud, Amina (ALG) & Latreche, Sabrina (ALG) who were all unfortunately knocked out in round 1.

Natalia Zhukova of Ukraine. Photo credit Niusha Afshar.

The first five rounds consist of mini-matches of two games with 90 minutes 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.

Hot favorite to win the title is Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia with her husband GM Pavel Tregubov. Unfortunately Alexandra lost her match in dramatic fashion in the semi-finals to Ukrainian Anna Muzychuk. Photo credit Reza Mahdipour.

Tiebreak

Logo for the event.

If the match score is tied, the winner is determined by an accelerating tiebreak system: two rapid games of 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move. Should 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.

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.

The total prize fund of the Championship is US $450,000. Every player gets 3750$.  Those who make it to round two get 5500$.  For round three it is 8000$, round four 12,000$.  If you get to round five (semifinals) 20,000$, the silver medalist 30,000$, and the winner 60,000$.

Here you can find the official website for this event. ;2017 WCCC Tehran.

For more photos of this event please visit David Llada WCCC 2017 photo album.