Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine) is the new World Women Chess Champion. She won the FIDE knockout championship in Sochi, Russia, after defeating Natalia Pogonina (Russia) 2,5-1,5 in the final match.
Mariya Muzychuk started with a loss, but eliminated Canadian Yuanling Yuan in round 1 of the knockout competition after a rapid tiebreak with total score 2,5-1,5. Another tiebreak was needed in round 2, where Muzychuk defeated the top Polish player Monika Socko 3,0-1,0. The only clean victory, although not the easiest one, came in round 3, where Muzychuk eliminated the ex-World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova.
From that point on started the Indian adventure – in the quarterfinals Muzychuk defeated the top seeded of the event Humpy Koneru 2,5-1,5, while in the semifinals four tiebreaks were needed against Harika Dronavalli.
The final match against Natalia Pogonina in a mini match that pinned in from of the live broadcast across ChessArena.com embeds more than 100 000 unique viewers (35 000 simultaneous viewers was the peak in the culmination moment). Natalia Pogonina started with white and did not manage to find advantage in game 1. The next game was probably one of the most tense games of the event, with minor inaccuracies swinging the full point towards Muzychuk. Pognina started strongly again her game 3 with white, but after long thinks and precise moves Muzychuk managed to equalize and even look for advantage. The game eventually finished in a draw. Game 4 was full of nerves, but Muzychuk never lost control and won the title.
The new World Champion will defend her title in a match against Yifan Hou later this year.