Those of you impatient for a first win for either player in the World Championship match between Carlsen and Caruana in London may be interested in the other World Championship final currently taking place in Siberia.
This is the women’s World Championship which follows a slightly different pattern to the men’s. It’s a knockout competition, initially with 64 players and we are now down to the final two: GM Ju Wenjun of China, the current World Champion, and GM Kateryna Lagno of Russia. (The world number 1, Hou Yifan, a favourite of Broadstairs Chess Club, is currently taking time out of chess to pursue a course at Oxford University.) Those people looking for gender equality in prize money should look away now – while the winner in the men’s competition will walk away with one million euros, the entire prize fund for the women’s tournament is $450,000 with the winner getting a mere $60,000. It must be worth an invite to the 50th Thanet Congress next August. Incidentally, the topic of women (or lack of) in chess is discussed in a Guardian article (click here.)
One last difference between the finals is the length: while Carlsen and Caruana are battling it out for twelve games + the possibility of tie breaks (rapid plays, blitz games and eventually armageddon), the women will only have four classic games + tie breaks if necessary. In such a short final, there is little margin for error as Ju Wenjun found out in Game 2 played today. No rest days for the women – Game 3 is tomorrow and Game 4 if needed on Thursday.
White: Kateryna Lagno (2556) Black: Ju Wenjun (2568)
2018 FIDE Women’s World Championship Game 2