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🏆 Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2008)

  PARTICIPANTS (sorted by highest achieved rating; click on name to see player's games)
Yifan Hou, Humpy Koneru, Anna Muzychuk, Ju Wenjun, Tatiana Kosintseva, Xue Zhao, Nadezhda Kosintseva, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Antoaneta Stefanova, Pia Cramling, Viktorija Cmilyte, Dronavalli Harika, Anna Zatonskih, Zhongyi Tan, Yuhua Xu, Thanh Trang Hoang, Monika Socko, Lilit Mkrtchian, Lufei Ruan, Anna Ushenina, Natalia Zhukova, Elisabeth Paehtz, Shen Yang, Inna Gaponenko, Eva Moser, Iweta Radziewicz Rajlich, Batkhuyag Munguntuul, Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska, Svetlana Matveeva, Natasa Bojkovic, Claudia Noemi Amura, Tania Sachdev, Elena Sedina, Nisha Mohota, Sabina-Francesca Foisor, Vera Nebolsina, Atousa Pourkashiyan, Ilaha Kadimova, Katerina Rohonyan, Nafisa Muminova, Thi Thanh An Nguyen, Maritza Arribas Robaina, Thanh Tu Le, Sarai Carolina Sanchez Castillo, Irina Zakurdjaeva, Maria Velcheva, Valentina Golubenko, Marisa Zuriel, Jilin Zhang, Anna Jakubowska, Khaled Mona, Yosra Alaa El Din, Anzel Solomons Chess Event Description
Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2008)

The 2008 FIDE Women's World Championship, held 29 August - 17 September in Nalchik, Russia (with rest day September 13) featured 53 players in a series of knockout matches. The early rounds had two games each, plus tiebreak games on the third day if necessary. The final was a match of four games plus eventual tiebreak games, with the winner declared Women's World Champion. Players received 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1. The tiebreaks consisted of two 25 min + 10-sec increment Rapid games, then if needed two additional 5 min + 10-sec increment Rapid games, and finally an Armageddon game, where White had 6 minutes to Black's 5, but a draw counted as a win for Black. The tiebreaks of the final were four 25 + 10 games, plus (if necessary) two 5 + 10 games and an Armageddon game. Eleven players did not turn up for the first round (so 53 players). Chief arbiter: Zsuzsa Veroci Petronic.

The reigning champion Yuhua Xu was knocked out in Round 2 (by Svetlana Matveeva). On her way to the final, Alexandra Kosteniuk eliminated Atousa Pourkashiyan in Round 1, none in Round 2 (w/o), Tatiana Kosintseva in Round 3, Anna Ushenina in the quarterfinal, and Pia Cramling in the semifinal. The 14-year-old Yifan Hou from China knocked out Khaled Mona in Round 1, Batkhuyag Munguntuul in Round 2, Elena Sedina in Round 3, Lilit Mkrtchian in the quarterfinal, and Humpy Koneru in the semifinal. The final match started 14 September. Kosteniuk won the first game and then played three draws to become the 12th Women's World Champion.

Elo 1 2 3 4 Alexandra Kosteniuk 2510 1 ½ ½ ½ 2½ Yifan Hou 2557 0 ½ ½ ½ 1½

Official site:
Mark Weeks:
New York Times:
Wikipedia article: Women's World Chess Championship 2008

Previous: Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2006) (Yuhua Xu became the 11th women's world champion). Next: Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2010) (Kosteniuk knocked out in Round 3, Yifan Hou became the 13th women's world champion)

 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 144  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Y Xu vs A Solomons  1-0482008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC50 Giuoco Piano
2. Y Alaa El Din vs Koneru 0-1352008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA02 Bird's Opening
3. Y Hou vs K Mona 1-0252008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC60 Ruy Lopez
4. P Cramling vs S Sanchez Castillo  1-0402008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
5. X Zhao vs M Zuriel  1-0382008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE92 King's Indian
6. N Muminova vs T Kosintseva  0-1652008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
7. Kosteniuk vs A Pourkashiyan 1-0302008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
8. V Golubenko vs Cmilyte  0-1362008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB30 Sicilian
9. A Muzychuk vs M Velcheva  1-0692008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
10. I Zakurdjaeva vs L Ruan  0-1372008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC53 Giuoco Piano
11. N Zhukova vs K Rohonyan  0-1502008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA43 Old Benoni
12. T T Hoang vs M Arribas  1-0592008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
13. I Kadimova vs E Paehtz 1-0272008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA41 Queen's Pawn Game (with ...d6)
14. A Ushenina vs Thanh Tu Le  1-0372008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
15. S Foisor vs M Socko  ½-½512008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
16. J Zhang vs I Gaponenko ½-½442008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB63 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
17. V Nebolsina vs D Harika  0-1342008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE10 Queen's Pawn Game
18. N Kosintseva vs N Mohota 1-0422008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB03 Alekhine's Defense
19. K Kachiani-Gersinska vs Shen Yang  ½-½582008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
20. L Mkrtchian vs E Moser  ½-½232008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA09 Reti Opening
21. Z Tan vs T Sachdev  ½-½692008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
22. N Bojkovic vs Ju Wenjun  ½-½712008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
23. B Munguntuul vs I Rajlich 1-0442008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentC18 French, Winawer
24. A Solomons vs Y Xu  ½-½322008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentE14 Queen's Indian
25. Koneru vs Y Alaa El Din 1-0192008Women's World Championship Knockout TournamentA04 Reti Opening
 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 144  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 40 OF 40 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-17-08  Billy Vaughan: <But, look , when was last time when we were looking so friendly to world champion :-)>

Especially after beating a popular young star.

Sep-17-08  socnegoti: <xky: Judit Polgar would beat all the 64 contestants of this tournament blindfolded in a simultaneous match.>

you forgot to say in her sleep too :D

Sep-17-08  Kaspablanca: Another fact about Kosteniuk;She is also the only person to have simultaneously the titles of World Champion in Classical Chess and in Chess960.
Sep-17-08  dx9293: <DCP23> Kosteniuk had NO seconds??? That's very strange, considering she had to be one of the five or so best players coming in and had a legitimate shot to win it.

Hou having three doesn't surprise me. I know it's for an important occasion, but it does make me wonder how much she studies chess daily (quite a lot, I would say!) and it explains her meteoric rise.

Kosteniuk is a positive example of a strong player (no, not a great player) who has achieved much in chess and yet maintains a balanced, normal life.

Sep-17-08  DCP23: <dx9293: <DCP23> Kosteniuk had NO seconds???>

None. The only two people who came with her to Nalchik were her husband Diego and her father, neither of whom are chessplayers. The only support they could offer was of the moral kind. It's also very important of course.

<That's very strange, considering she had to be one of the five or so best players coming in and had a legitimate shot to win it.>

There's a question of money, you see. Alexandra Kosteniuk receives no support from the Russian chess federation and has to pay for a second from her own pocket, which being a young mother, is quite shallow as it is.

<Hou having three doesn't surprise me.>

Hou on the other hand DOES have support from her federation, and the GMs that travel with her do not cost her anything.

Sep-17-08  dx9293: <DCP23: There's a question of money, you see. Alexandra Kosteniuk receives no support from the Russian chess federation and has to pay for a second from her own pocket, which being a young mother, is quite shallow as it is.>

I thought her husband was a businessman...?

Sep-17-08  xky:

the linke says that she has a GM coach and she hasn't seen her kid for a month and a half. that's really amazing dedication!

Premium Chessgames Member
  sisyphus: Sascha's husband is a strong expert-level player, if I recall correctly. And he is well-heeled, without a doubt.

Does she get a crown or a trophy or something? Perhaps it's time for another photo shoot.

Premium Chessgames Member
  sisyphus: The coach Chessdom refers to is Yuri Razuvaev
Sep-17-08  doremi: When is the next women worldchampionship event?
Sep-17-08  dx9293: <sisyphus: And he is well-heeled, without a doubt> Of course. Name a strong (say 2200+) and well-known female chessplayer who DOES NOT have a boyfriend/husband who is either:

(1) Higher rated and/or higher titled than she, or,

(2) A celebrity in their own right in some other field, or,

(3) Rich.

I bet you can't. I only know of one example, and I personally know A LOT of chessplaying females who fit my criteria above.

This is my 500th Kibitz on not a controversial one? :-)

Sep-17-08  socnegoti: <doremi> Sometime during 2010 I would have thought. It's every two years.

This Women's Championship had a ridiculous amount of difficulty in being organized.

It was supposed to have been held in March in Prague, Czech Republic. Then it was announced that it would be held in San Luis, Argentina from June to July. But that was retracted, after FIDE extended the deadline a number of times.

Iran then stepped in. However problems arose during initial meetings between FIDE and Iranian representatives, when Iran set conditions like wearing headscarves and preventing men from entering the championship arena. Furthermore it said Israeli players would not be allowed into the country.

After that Turkey was proposed as a possibility, until Kirsan "It Only Takes Two Weeks to Have a Man Killed" Ilyumzhinov pulled a few strings and decided it was going to be held in a nowhere place called Nalchik.

Sep-17-08  socnegoti: Some notable ansentees, who werent Judit Polgar nor those who boycotted, that had a good shot for the title include

Kateryna Lahno
Zhu Chen
Harriet Hunt
Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (i know now she's playing in Liverpool)

Anybody know why they didn't compete?

Premium Chessgames Member
  sisyphus: <dx9293:> I can imagine a fair number of them don't have husbands, and perhaps not boyfriends. But even if you're not talking about those, what's the likelihood we'd hear about their other half if he wasn't one of the three? It reminds me of a gal at work who said she never brought her boyfriend to social events because he wasn't "streetable".
Sep-18-08  firebyrd: <dx9293:> I don't think it holds for any of the top 10 - at least their CG com profiles don't mention any highly rated chess playing spouses (closest is Cramling's husband, but she is still the higher rated of the two), and none of them have any that are rich enough or famous enough for me to have heard of them. Also most of the top 10 are just too young to be permanently teamed up with anyone rich and famous.

Cmilyte on 11th is married to Shirov, so there you have one, though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <socnegoti> Lahno played in a different tournament (and did quite badly there... grrr.......). I don't know if that is the reason why she didn't play in the WWCC though.
Sep-18-08  mckmck: Womens World Championship a great tournament, best games etc., - 40 pages kitbitz.

How many pages kitbitz for mens World Championship?

Sep-18-08  ingberg: <How many pages kitbitz for mens World Championship?>

Probably 4,000.

Sep-18-08  kspiteri: <mckmck: How many pages kitbitz for mens World Championship?> Kramnik-Topalov World Championship Match (2006) has 1159, not counting the pages for the individual games.
Sep-18-08  PhilFeeley: Irina Krush, 2470, 19th on the original list (she didn't come) is married to Canadian champion Pascal Charbonneau, 2510.
Sep-20-08  hellopolgar: what would have happened if humpy vs sasha was the semifinal?

the final champion would have been Hou then!

but again, a wise man once said that in chess tournies, the best player will end up being second but it's the luckiest player that will be crowned:)

Sep-21-08  laserlight: <dx9293: Name a strong (say 2200+) and well-known female chessplayer who DOES NOT have a boyfriend/husband who is either>

Former women's world champion Xie Jun is higher rated than her husband Wu Shaobin. They are both grandmasters, so criterion #1 does not hold. Even if Wu Shaobin is considered a celebrity (which could be argued in grandmaster scarce Singapore), criterion #2 requires "some other field", so it does not hold. Oh, and as far as I can tell he is not rich either, and that means that Xie Jun fits the bill, so I win the bet :D

That said, I have never confirmed with Wu Shaobin that he is indeed married to Xie Jun, but this Chess Base article states as much:

Sep-22-08  BipolarFanatic: <what would have happened if humpy vs sasha was the semifinal?

the final champion would have been Hou then!>

This conclusion is a bit shaky if based on the cg Koneru-Kosteniuk database of only four games with almost even score (+1-0=3). Considering the way Sasha played during this tournament, I think she might have beat Humpy Koneru.

Sep-22-08  ingberg: What Susan Polgar said in 2004

<All three of you won your titles under the classical time controls?>

As I have often said, the classical World Championship should never be mixed with the Knock-Out World Championship. They are very different, like the sun and the moon. Anything can happen in a 2-game knock-out while you must be the best player to win the classical World Championship. Just look at the results of the last three ever classical World Champions Maia Chiburdanidze, Xie Jun and me here in Calvia. We have three of the highest board one performances in this Olympiad and all of us are no longer playing chess seriously.

<So you are not happy with the FIDE cycle as it stands?>

By combining the titles, FIDE has cheapened the title of World Champion and it is a big mistake. As good of a player as Ponomariov or Kasimdzhanov, do you think any chess fan can put them in the same category as Garry Kasparov or Kramnik? This is why there is so much confusion in the World Championship cycle.

<And what do we do about it?>

It is not too late for FIDE to fix this terrible error and separate the World Championships. I consider Kramnik to be the last classical World Champion. But Kramnik needs to play Garry Kasparov. The world wants to see the Kasparov – Kramnik rematch. This is in the best interest of chess.

There is nothing wrong with having separate World Championships. In tennis, players play on grass, clay, hard court and some times even carpet. Some tournaments are indoor and some are outdoor. Why not have separate World Championships? Why do we have to destroy the legitimacy of the World Championships in the past 100 years or so?

Dec-30-08  percyblakeney: <Hou Yifan had 3 (THREE) seconds in this World Championship, two GMs and one IM.

Alexandra Kosteniuk, on the other hand, came without any seconds.>

I just read Pia Cramling's description of the event in Swedish Tidskrift för Schack, and she claims that Hou had no less than five seconds, apparently one or two more were flown in towards the end of the event.

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