Reports Mar 3, 2017 | 9:57 PMby IM David Martínez

Tan Zhongyi is the new Women's World Chess Champion

Tan Zhongyi became the new Women's World Champion after defeating Anna Muzychuk in tiebreaks. The 25-year-old has kept the title in China, after showing good technique and an astounding competitive spirit. Tan Zhongyi played no less than 34 games, and overcame a number of highly tense encounters.

The new Women's World Chess Champion | photo: David Llada.

After a draw in Game 4, the Women's World Chess Championship final — just like the World Championship in New York — was decided in tiebreaks. A priori, Anna Muzychuk was the favorite given the fact that she obtained an impressive double gold in last year's Rapid and Blitz World Championships in Qatar. The Ukrainian had White in the first 25-minute game.

The Chinese used the Petroff Defense and, curiously, until move 14 followed a game played by Anna Muzychuk against her sister. That game ended in a peaceful draw in a little over 30 moves, but this one would be different!

Against her sister Mariya, Anna chose the quiet 14.Qc3, with the idea of exchanging queens after Qb3. In Tehran, however, she showed her great preparation and improved with 14.f3!, followed by an increase on Black's center with Qe2, Bd2-c3. White got a better position, and after centralizing her queen, we arrived to one of the key positions of the game.

The natural 19.g4, avoiding Bf5 and preparing h4-h5, would create a lot of problems on Black's kingside. Probably Tan Zhongyi would eventually find herself forced to play Qc6, exchanging queens but weakening her structure, although Muzychuk always had Qe2 to keep her strongest attacking piece. Black's position would be very hard to defend! However, Anna decided to take on b7, which made the Chinese's task much easier. Nonetheless, White kept some pressure and maintained her advantage, which takes us to the most relevant moment of the game.

It's clear who has managed to keep the upper hand — Black is in serious trouble on the queenside! Anna could have played 38.a5 followed by Ra7, and there's no way to save the pawn or find much counterplay with Black. With the clock ticking, though, Muzychuk chose the wrong plan (38.Be3) and gave some tempi to her opponent, who created counterplay on the kingside and managed to draw the game. As a curiosity, it's worth pointing out that 38.Bd4?? would run into a rather artistic mate after 38...Be1#.

Muzychuk missed some chances in the first game | source: official broadcast

In the second game, Anna Muzychuk had no trouble to equalize with Black and, despite the fact that White had the bishop pair, her position seemed preferable.

Black can play the precise 19...Bxc5! forcing White to take with the pawn and stopping her initiative on the queenside. After this, she could have created problems on the other side of the board with g5-h5, while keeping a strong center with the knights — eventually White could place the queen on e6 and a rook on the d-file. Instead, Anna allowed her opponent to take on e4 with the knight and to advance on the queenside with b5. The position became quite dangerous!

The White pieces are better positioned, so Anna rightfully felt she needed to abandon a passive defense and played 31...Qb4!, sacrificing the a7-pawn in exchange of activity. The Chinese reacted correctly to the threats, maneuvered, and — after exchanging the a2-pawn for the e4-pawn — they arrived at a position that Muzychuk will hardly forget...

After the natural 39...Kg8 the game would go on, as White´s extra pawn might not be so important if Tan Zhongyi doesn't find a way to stop the very dangerous passed b-pawn. Despite the fact that the cold-blooded computer evaluates the position as favorable for White, there was still a lot of action on the board, with all three results possible. Muzychuk might have thought that White's d-pawn could become a queen and, to avoid a hypothetical check with d8Q+, she made the biggest mistake of the event: 39...Kh6?? The king is too exposed and the Chinese took her chance immediately with 40.g4!, threatening g5 and winning the game. It was an unexpected ending, which gave Tan Zhongyi the World Championship crown!

So the Women's World Championship is over. The event was marked by a controversial start, when a lot of players decided not to participate due to political reasons — Hou Yifan did not participate for other reasons. These absences lowered the popularity of the event in comparison to previous editions. However, we cannot but congratulate Tan Zhongyi, who showed nerves of steel to become the new Women's World Champion!

Congratulations, Tan Zhongyi!

See also:

Sort by Date Descending Date Descending Date Ascending Most Liked Receive updates

Comments 31

Guest 4686998178
Join chess24
  • Free, Quick & Easy

  • Be the first to comment!


Create your free account now to get started!

I am aged 16 or older.

By clicking ‘Register’ you agree to our terms and conditions and confirm you have read our privacy policy, including the section on the use of cookies.

Lost your password? We'll send you a link to reset it!

After submitting this form you'll receive an email with the reset password link. If you still can't access your account please contact our customer service.

Data Consent Details

We respect your privacy and data protection guidelines.

Using chess24 requires the storage of some personal data, as set out below. You can find additional information in our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, Disclaimer and Terms of Website Use. Please note that your data settings can be changed at any time by clicking on the Data Settings link in the footer at the bottom of our website.

data details

Necessary Data

Some data is technically necessary to be able to visit the page at all. A so-called cookie stores identifiers that make it possible to respond to your individual requests. It contains a session ID - a unique, anonymous user ID combined with an authentication identifier (user_data). A security identifier (csrf) is also stored to prevent a particular type of online attack. All of these fields are alpha-numeric, with almost no relation to your real identity. The only exception is that we monitor some requests with the IP address that you are currently using, so that we are able to detect malicious use or system defects. Additionally, a technical field is stored (singletab) to ensure that some interactions are only processed in the browser tab that is currently active. For example, a new chess game will not be opened in all your current tabs. We use your local storage to save the difference between your local clock and our server time (serverUserTimeOffset), so that we are able to display the date and time of events correctly for you. You can also enable more data fields, as described in the other sections. Your personal decision on which data storage to enable is also stored as necessary information (consent).

Settings Data

We offer a range of personal settings for your convenience. Options include which opponents you prefer to be paired against, your preferred chessboard and pieces, the board size, the volume setting of the video player, your preferred language, whether to show chat or chess notation, and more. You can use our web page without storing this data, but if you would like to have your individual settings remembered we recommend enabling this feature. For logged-in registered users this setting is mandatory to store information about your privacy settings, users you have blocked and your friendship settings. As a registered user we also store your data consent in these settings.

Social Media Data

We embed a Twitter feed showing activity for the hashtag #c24live and also make it possible to share content in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. If you enable this option social networks are able to store data in your cookies or local storage for the purpose of these features.

Statistics Data

We would like to measure how our page is used with Google Analytics, so that we can decide which features to implement next and how to optimize our user experience. If you enable this feature Google will store your device identifiers and we will send tracking events (such as page requests) to Google Analytics. These have no direct relationship to your person except for the IP address currently being used.

Marketing Data

To help cover the cost of free services we would like to show you advertisements from our partner networks. Members of these networks store data on the banners shown to you and try to deliver ads that are relevant. If you choose not to allow this kind of data we have to show more anonymous advertisements and will be more limited in the free services we can offer.

Other Data

For registered users we store additional information such as profile data, chess games played, your chess analysis sessions, forum posts, chat and messages, your friends and blocked users, and items and subscriptions you have purchased. You can find this information in your personal profile. A free registration is not required to use this application. If you decide to contact the support team a ticket is created with information that includes your name and email address so that we can respond to your concern. This data is processed in the external service Zendesk. If you subscribe to a newsletter or are registered we would like to send you occasional updates via email. You can unsubscribe from newsletters and as a registered user you can apply several mail settings to control how your email address is used. For newsletters we transfer your email address and username to the external service MailChimp. If you buy content or subscriptions on chess24 we work with the payment service provider Adyen, which collects your payment data and processes information about the payment such as fraud protection data.