The FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship opened yesterday, Friday 10th February, in Tehran, Iran. The tournament, which runs until March 4th, is a knockout format, played over six rounds. Round one will be played on Saturday 11th February (15:00 local time, 11:30 GMT — check your time here.) .
Top seed is Ju Wenjun (2583) but Anna Muzychuk (2558), Alexandra Kosteniuk (2549) and Harika Dronavalli (2539) are hot on her heels. Other top names include Nana Dzagnidze, Antoaneta Stefanova and Natalia Pogonina.
Notable absentees are the current Women’s World Champion, Yifan Hou, who opposes FIDE’s World Championship format when it includes knockouts. US Champion, Nazi Paikidze, and former Women’s World Champion, Mariya Muzychuk, have chosen not to attend, due to the event’s location and the dress requirement of women to wear a ‘hijab’, (headscarf).
Round one sees some rather out-weighted pairings — for example, top seed Ju Wenjun plays bottom seed, Nancy Lane (1902). There will be updates here on Hot Off The Chess as the rounds are completed.