Reports | November 30, 2012 14:20

Rapid tie-break on Saturday to decide Women's World Championship

Stefanova levels the score in the 4th game

Just like the match between their male colleagues Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand, the final of the Women's World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk between Anna Ushenina and Antoaneta Stefanova will be decided in a rapid tie-break. After four classical games the score is 2-2 with two draws, a win for Ushenina (game 3) and a win for Stefanova (game 4 today).

Stefanova levels the score in the 4th game | Photos courtesy of FIDE

Event Women's World Championship | PGN via TWIC
Dates November 11th-December 2nd, 2012
Location Khanthy-Mansiysk, Russia
System 64-player knockout
Players The top 10 on rating is Hou Yifan, Humpy Koneru, Anna Muzychuk, Zhao Xue, Kateryna Lahno, Nadezhda Kosintseva, Viktorija Cmilyte, Marie Sebag, Valentina Gunina, Pia Cramling
Rate of play

90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an
increment of 30 seconds per move from move one

Tie-breaks 2 rapid games (25 minutes + 10 seconds increment), 2 blitz games (10 minutes + 10 seconds increment), 2 blitz games (5 minutes + 3 seconds increment), 1 sudden-death (5 vs 4 + 3 seconds, increment frome move 61).


The final of the Women's World Championship, between Anna Ushenina of Ukraine and Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria, started on Tuesday, November 27th. Ushenina knocked out Cori Deysi, Anna Muzychuk, Natalija Pogonina, Nadezhda Kosintseva and Ju Wenjun. Stefanova won against Marina Romanko, Zhu Chen, Monika Socko, Marie Sebag and Harika Dronavalli.

The first game was a relatively quiet Bogo-Indian. The position quickly resembled a QGD Exchange, but without dark-squared bishops. White went for a minority attack, but Black's counterplay proved more dangerous. It was only timetrouble that prevented Stefanova from taking the lead in the match.

PGN string

And the final takes off!

The second game was a short draw as the players suddenly called it a day on move 17 – actually the kind of thing we're not used to see in women's tournaments, except perhaps when the Kosintseva sisters play each other.  Well, it was quite sharp, even though Ushenina did not go into the wild territory of the Marshall Gambit.

PGN string

Game 2: a quick draw

With -26 degrees outside in Khanty-Mansiysk, the playing hall heated up on Thursday with Ushenina scoring the first full point. While the Ukrainian lady is on her own in Siberia, Stefanova is supported by Nikolay Velchev, coach Vladimir Georgiev and also Silvio Danailov. They saw a very well prepared Ushenina countering Stefanova's Chebanenko.

PGN string

Ushenina takes the lead: 2-1

In the final game Ushenina only needed a draw, but she didn't manage. According to former World Champion Susan Polgar,

Ushenina self destructed by playing safe for draw instead of normal logical chess. Same mistake by Sebag against Stefanova.

PGN string

Stefanova levels the score in the last game

Tomorrow's all-decisive tie-break starts at 10:00 CET. Here are the regulations, taken from FIDE's PDF:

3. 8. 2. 1 If the scores are level after the regular games, after a new drawing of colours, two (2) tie break games shall be played. The games shall be played using the electronic clock starting with 25 minutes on the clock for each player with an addition of 10 seconds after each move.

3. 8. 2. 2 If the scores are level after the games in paragraph 3. 8. 2. 1, then, after a new drawing of colours, two (2) ten-minute games shall be played with the addition of 10 seconds after each move.

3. 8. 2. 3 If the scores are level after the games in paragraph 3. 8. 2. 2, then, after a new drawing of colours, two (2) five-minute games shall be played with the addition of 10 seconds after each move.

3. 8. 2. 4 If the score is still level after the games in paragraph, the players shall play one sudden death game. The player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the color. The player with the white pieces shall receive 5 minutes, the player with the black pieces shall receive 4 minutes whereupon, after the 60th move, both players shall receive an increment of 3 seconds from move 61. The winner shall be declared Women’s World Champion. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces shall be declared Women’s World Champion.

Saturday's winner will be crowned World Champion. She will play the Chinese Hou Yifan (who lost her title in Khanty-Mansiysk but won the Women's Grand Prix) in a longer match, which is scheduled to take in place in September 2013.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Manu's picture

Go Stefanova¡¡¡¡ Its your time to get back the tittle of world champion

RealityCheck's picture

Is Rapid Chess here to stay? With the competition skin tight, so close nowadays we'll most certainly witness more Rapid Tie-Breaks deciding the winner; unless the organisers are willing to require more Clasical games be played.

Is this an huge improvement over "Draw Odds"? We'll have to wait and see what type of Wch's are born out of this format. So far so good.....i

So, three cheers to Kramnik (vs Topalov) and Anand (vs Gelfand) and Stefanova vs Ushenina.

Thomas's picture

Close matches (also longer ones) with the possible or actual need for tiebreaks or draw odds are nothing new - in my chessic lifetime roughly half of all WCh matches were pretty close. Let's go:
1978 Karpov-Korchnoi 16.5-15.5 (or 6-5 wins only)
1985 Kasparov-Karpov 13-11 (Karpov lost the final must-win game)
1986 Kasparov-Karpov 12.5-11.5
1987 Kasparov-Karpov 12-12 (draw odds for Kasparov who won on demand in the 24th game)
1990 Kasparov-Karpov 12.5-11.5
2004 Kramnik-Leko 7-7 (draw odds for Kramnik who won the last game on demand)
2006 Kramnik-Topalov decided in rapid tiebreaks
2010 Anand-Topalov 6.5-5.5 (Topalov self-destructed in the final game to avoid tiebreaks)
2012 Anand-Gelfand decided in rapid tiebreaks

Same story for tournaments: While two WCh tournaments had clear and dominant winners (Topalov and Anand), I guess roughly half of all supertournaments are closely contested or have two or even more players tie for first place.
A draw is a legitimate result, in single games and in matches ... .

RealityCheck's picture

Agree. Tie breaks are nothing new--certainly not Anand-Gelfand / Stefanova-Ushenine specific.

Rapid tie-breaks are better than draw odds.

As regards WCh Tournaments, we could also include Botvinnik's clear first at the 1948 WCh tournament.

choufleur's picture

The last move in the first game is surely wrong, it looses instantly.

RG13's picture

No, no - it is clearly a brilliant sacrifice that forces a draw by perpetual check (using only the Rook!) ; )

RG13's picture

If it comes down to blitz then it seems that they should play a lot more regular blitz games before going to the Armageddon game.

Anonymous's picture

What next? a match or tournament going to located on the far side of the moon? It might as well be, considering all the visibility this match is getting outside the chess fanatic community.

Anonymous's picture

I'm rooting for the blonde.

Anonymous's picture

Really Anna is not blonde, she dyed her hair. See her real pictures on facebook!!!!

Latest articles