Hou Yifan wins the Women's World Championship Match against Mariya Muzychuk with 6 – 3 score.

The ninth game
 of the Women’s World Chess Championship Match finished with a victory of Hou Yifan and with the final score 6:3 she became the Women’s World Champion for the fourth time. It was the last and decisive game of the Match. Maria Muzychuk chose to play Sicilian Defence and managed to get playable position with chances for the both sides. Hou Yifan needed a draw to win the Match while Maria Muzychuk had to play for victory in order to continue the fight.

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Hou Yifan decided to exchange queens and after 15 moves transferred the game into the complex ending. White had pawn advantage on the Queen’s side, while Black arranged the conter play on the opposite side of the board. The position was about equal and the most logical outcome would have been a draw but Maria was not always doing the strongest moves but those which would give her some chances to continue the struggle. However, Hou Yifan played very precisely and after 46 moves the game was over.

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At the press conference both players thanked their teams, organizers and chess fans. According to Maria Muzychuk, she had the best team in the World as she was getting the positions after the opening one can only dream about. “I’m glad that this Match happened in Lviv and many chess fans could attend it”, added Maria.

“I would like to thank my team and fans. Despite the 6 hours of difference with China I know that many people were following my games,” said Hou Yifan.

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The eighth game of the Women’s World Championship Match was drawn after 44 moves and 4 hours of play. Maria Muzychuk, who had white pieces today, managed to get slight edge after the opening and even though Black had to play passively, it was not enough to put too much pressure on her opponent.

The score in the match is 5:3 and Hou Yifan needs only half a point to return the title of the Women’s World Champion, while Maria Muzychuk has to win 2 out of 2 games to equalize a score and get the right to play the tie-break.
The ninth game of the Women’s World Championship Match will start on 14th of March at 3 p.m. local time.

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The longest game ended in a draw

The seventh game of the Women’s World Championship Match finished in a draw after 81 moves and more than five hours of play.

It was the longest game of the Match so far, the evaluation of the position was changing few times due to many inaccuracies coming from both sides. However, neither of the players had the decisive advantage nor made crucial mistake.

For the third time in the Match the Central variation of Spanish was chosen by the players. The game was transferred into the complex ending after 15 moves. Hou Yifan had slightly better position due to the better pawn structure but Maria Muzychuk was playing accurately and managed to equalize the chances.

The score in the Match is 4,5:2,5 in favor of Hou Yifan and the Chinese player needs only 1 point to finish the Match. The eighth game of the Women’s World Championship Match starts on 12th of March at 3 p.m. local time and Women’s World Champion Maria Muzychuk will have white pieces this time.

Tournament website http://lviv2016.fide.com/

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Hou Yifan increases her lead

In the 6th round of the Women’s World Championship Match Maria Muzychuk lost a game with white pieces and let her opponent Hou Yifan to increase the lead in the Women’s World Championship Match. The score in the Match is 4:2 and Chinese player has 2 points lead.

Maria Muzychuk came back to Italian Game and the position became very complex right from the opening. Hou Yifan went for quite aggressive line g5-g4 and weaken the position of her King.

At the press conference Chinese player explained that the knight on h4 can be dangerous if it helps White to attack the king but it can also stay out of play as it happened in the game. White had a few chances to push f6 and secure the square f5 for her the knight with good play but Maria was attracted by another idea. According to her, she felt her position was better but she lost her track after 22 moves.

Tournament website http://lviv2016.fide.com/

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Another short draw in the fifth game

The fifth game of the Women’s World Championship Match has finished in a draw after 3 hours of play. The score in the Match is 2-3 in a favor of the Challenger.

Hou Yifan had white pieces for the second time. The measure of changing the colors after the fourth game had an aim to prevent the same player to have white pieces after each of the rest days throughout the match because it might give to one of the players an advantage in preparation.

For the first time in the Match Hou Yifan chose to play 1.c4 and one of the rare lines of the English Opening appeared at the board. According to Maria Muzychuk, Black got quite comfortable position with a slight edge after the opening.

The idea of Black was to double the rooks on e-file and try to use a weakness of e2 pawn. Chinese player decided to simplify the position and after numerous exchanges the game transferred into the equal endgame.

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The fourth game of the Women’s World Championship Match finished in a draw after 22 moves. Mariya Muzychuk didn’t avoid repeating the central variation of the Spanish Game, despite her lose in the second round. As Hou Yifan mentioned at the press conference, there were many different lines in this sharp variation and she had to know them quite well as the position of her king was weak after she played g4. Mariya Muzychuk spent 30 minutes in the opening remembering all complications and chose the right way to make a force draw.

Nice 19.Bc5! is a key move which leads to a force draw after repetition
Nice 19.Bc5! is a key move which leads to a forced draw after repetition

Mariya Muzychuk said she was very happy that such famous people like singer Sviatoslav Vakarchuk visits chess tournaments and she was glad to feel his support. It turns out she remebered few songs of “Okean Elza” but decided not to sing them at the press conference.

Answering the question what comes first to her mind when she hears the word “Ukraine”, Yifan said that being a chess player she recalled first the names of the famous chess players, who lived in the country. She have played against many Ukrainians at the past and also remembered that GM Vassiliy Ivanchuk is from Lviv. “I saw the chess club named after Ivanchuk which is not far from our hotel”, added Yifan.

Hou Yifan before the game
Photo by Anastatsiya Karlovich. Hou Yifan before the game

Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich
Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich

Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, the lead vokalist of ‘Okean Elzy’, the most successful rock band in Ukraine, and his father Ivan Vakarchuk, professor of physics at Lviv University and the former Minister of Education and Science in Ukraine. Sviatoslav Vakarchuk made a first symbolic move 1.e4 in the 4th round instead of Hou Yifan and Ivan Vakarchuk answered with 1…e5 instead of Mariya Muzychuk.

Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich

The board with the signatures of Maria Muzychuk and Hou Yifan was presented to Sviatoslav Vakarchuk. Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich
The board with the signatures of Maria Muzychuk and Hou Yifan was presented to Sviatoslav Vakarchuk. Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich


The third game of the Women's World Championship Match finished in a draw after 3 hours of play and Hou Yifan keeps on leading in the Match with 2:1 score.

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Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

Playing White Maria Muzychuk, switched from her main move 1.e4 to 1.d4, which is relatively rare guest in her games. She went for the Catalan which is considered to be one of the weapon of the champions – very solid opening and quite dangerous for Black. After five moves neither of the opponents have faced the position at the board in their previous games.

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Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

Both players agreed that after the opening White had pleasant edge due to the pair of bishops even though the position was closed. According to the Women's World Champion, her move 17.a4 led to the concrete position and more quiet 17.Rac1 could have been a better choice.

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Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

After both queens left the board, White could have tried to play a bit aggressive by pushing g4 on move 23 or 25 but Maria decided it was a bit risky decision in this type of the position. After numerous exchanges the game finished in a draw after move 36.

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Photo by Vitaliy Hrabar

The fourth game of the Women's World Championship Match will start at 3 p.m. local time on 6th of March.

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Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich

Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, the lead vocalist of "Okean Elzy", the most successful rock band in Ukraine, came to support Women's World Champion Maria Muzychuk after the third round of the Women's World Championship Match.  Vakarchuk is going to make the first symbolic move in the 4th game of the Match and will take part in a short press conference after the start of the game.

Chess fans can watch the games on-line at official web site lviv2016.fide.com.


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Hou Yifan draws first blood

Hou Yifan won the second game of the Women’s World Championship Match and after 2 games the score is 1,5:0,5 in her favor.

The first two moves of the second game were the same as in the first round but on the third move Hou Yifan moved her bishop one square forward and Ruy Lopez (or Spanish Game) appeared on the board. In the central variation Chinese player chose a line with 9.Be3 but Maria Muzychuk seemed well-prepared at the opening.

However, the position became so complicated that both players spent most of their time before the move 20 and had to play under the time pressure the rest of the game.

According to Hou Yifan, she started to evaluate her position as a better one after she pushed f5. In fact the crucial mistake of Black happened on 27th move. Instead of 27…Bc5 Maria could still play 27…Bg3 and after 28.Qg3 Re8 try to find some conter play. After the move in the game Hou Yifan played very precisely and after 32 moves Women’s World Champion had to resign.

“I can’t affirm where exactly theory ended. I rather remembered typical ideas, than variations”, stated the Chinese player.

“The most decisive was the time trouble, because of it we both allowed inaccuracies”, believes Hou Yifan.

Both players stated that after they gained the title of World Champion they felt rise of interest to chess in their homeland. For example, Hou Yifan claimed that in her home city chess is now the most popular kind of sport. Mariya Muzychuk mentioned that since September chess was introduced into school program in Lviv.

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Peaceful start of the Women’s World Championship Match

The first game of the Women’s World Championship Match between Maria Muzychuk and Hou Yifan finished in a draw after 31 moves and 3 hours of play. 

Hou Yifan had black pieces and decided to switch from Sicilian, which has been played in the last game between opponents in Monaco, and chose 1…e5. Soon Italian game (or Giuoco Piano) appeared on the board and the Women’s World Champion didn’t manage to get any edge out of the opening. After many exchanges the game was converted into the drawish ending. 

‘I am really pleased that so many people came to support me. I can’t say that I am satisfied, neither that I am dissappointed. Actually, it’s my first match, where we played with no visitors inside, before I had only training matches’, – noted Mariya Muzychuk the current Women’s World Champion. 

‘I believe that’s normal beginning of the match. There will be many more interesting games. Really, 1..e5 is a rare move in my practice, but anyway this move is quite popular’, – told Hou Yifan, the candidate for chess crown. 

‘Normally the first games in matches have such peculiarity that players tend to play with big amount of reliability. They are not always confident in their own preparation, that’s why they play really safely. It can be traced in previous games of Hou Yifan. The Chinese player is playing at the opponent’s territory, so she’s especially cautious. Mariya Muzychuk had two moments, where she could play g4, what corresponds to her style of play. This would make the game really sharp and one would expect resultative game. But Mariya didn’t take the risk,” commented GM Adrian Mikhalchishin after the end of the game. 

The next game of match will take place tomorrow March, 3 at 15.00 in Potocki Palace.

The Mayor of Lviv and one of the most promissing young players of Ukraine 6-year-old Kalyna Furmanova and media are waiting for the players to come

Hou Yifan takes her sit first

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Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovyi makes the first move e2-e4 to start the first game in the Women’s World Championship Match

The Italian game or the Giuoco Piano, which translates from Italian as ‘quiet game’ appeared today. It turned to be really untroubled and was over after 3 hours of play

An impressive number of local journalists attended the Match but one can also see the mother of Hou Yian in the middle of the crowd

Women’s World Champion Maria Muzychuk, as well as Hou Yifan didn’t reveal the names of her seconds at the press conference

The press-room of the Match. So far more than hundred journalists got the accreditation to the Match

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Women’s World Chess Championship Match is opened in Lviv

For the first time in the history of Ukraine Lviv hosts the most remarkable chess event – FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship Match. The world champion Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) on March 1-18, 2016 is ‘fighting’ for golden chess crown against the challenger, Hou Yifan (China).

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Lviv Opera House

For the first time in the history of our city we have a great honour to open FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship Match at the presense of all state officials. So let justice and fairness to win”, wished Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovyi. 

“I can say that finally I’m aware that the first game will start tomorrow. We have been preparing for this match for a long time, and everyone wants it to start soon”, said Mariya Muzychuk.

“I’m glad to see there are so many chess fans. I wish you a great evening and good impressions of this event”, said Chinese GM Hou Yifan.

Mariya Muzychuk chooses white pieces in the first game

The drawing of the color of the first game was the important moment of the ceremony. The Chief Arbiter of the Match Carol Jarecki offered the players to clarify the order of who can choose the color first. Hou Yifan choose the number one in envelop and that meant she was the first one to choose a color from two souvenir Easter eggs, which hided black and white pieces inside. Hou Yifan got a black piece – this means that the World Champion Maria Muzychuk will have white pieces in the first game.

‘I’d like to say thank you to Lviv for perfect organization. These both women have devoted all their lives to achieve so great results. Both of them are the World Champions,’ said the Chief Arbiter of the Match Carol Jarecki.

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Lviv Mayor: It’s a great honour for Lviv to become a world chess capital

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi addressed the audience with a welcoming speech and thanked to Mariya Muzychuk for the right to host this remarcable chess event in Lviv.

’It was a long, but extremely interesting way. I would like to say thank you to Mariya Muzychuk for the right to host World Championship Match in Lviv. I’d like also to thank Hou Yifan for the wonderful comments about the city of Lviv. It’s a great honour for the city to become a world chess capital and to choose chess queen’, said Andriy Sadovyi.

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In the program there was also the concert of famous Lviv artists interspersed with the greetings of the country's and city’s officials.

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Zhyttya Ballet

‘We have already came to the moment when the Match began. When Mariya won the Champion title we understood it would be great if Lviv hosted the Match. And the city has made a huge work to organize the event,’ said Olexandr Kapustin, President of Chess Federation of Ukraine.

Zhytta ballet, violin virtuoso Olexandr Bozhyk, quartet Tenors Bel’canto, and the participant of Holos Krainy Show (means ‘voice of the country’ show) Khrystyna Soloviy have performed at the main Lviv stage during the opening ceremony.

‘Tomorrow we are expecting an exciting fight. Chess is not only a sport but also an art. It has a high spiritual and cultural level. And I’m sure this Match will attract not only Lviv and Ukraine, but also the whole world’, added Olexandr Kapustin.

The opening ceremony of the Women’s World Chess Championship Match was finished with a street performance of Voskresinnya Theater – a fiery performance, which represented a mix of Ukrainian and Chinese cultures. The actors were playing chess on stilts and had black and white costumes.

Georgios Makropoulos: Chess prepares the right people to make the right decisions in the future

‘We (in FIDE) are convinced that Chess Federation of Ukraine with the support of Lviv city council could host other chess events and make Lviv a chess capital of the world’, said Georgios Makropoulos.

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FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos thanked Lviv City Council for the Match organization and greeted the participants.

“Both chess players represent the countries with extremely strong chess schools. Both, Ukrainian and Chinese women players won all existing chess titles… We believe that during these difficult times, difficult not only for Ukraine, but also for other countries, including my native Greece, chess are very important. And thanks to chess there will be the right people who will make the right decisions in the future”, added Georgios Makropoulos.

Before the opening ceremony the procedure of the postmarking of a postage stamp featuring the logo of the Match was held.

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The first move in first game will be made by Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovyi. The first game is scheduled to start at 3 pm local time on 2nd of March 2016 in the Potocki’s Palace (Lviv, Ukraine).

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