Ju Wenjun defended the title of FIDE Women’s World Chess Champion after defeating Lagno Kateryna in the tiebreak match which ended with result 3-1 in favour of Chinese player.
The final 4 games match for the title started very sharply with the first game where both of the players had opportunities to win. Ju Wenjun had the white pieces and small positional advantage through the game, but Lagno had a good defense and the game ended in a draw.
After the first game, Lagno took the white pieces, and after fast exchange of Queens in the opening, got more pleasant position in the endgame. She pressured Ju Wenjun, who eventually blundered and Russian player got the leadership.
The third game went very intense, with Ju Wenjun reaching the great advantage with the white pieces in the middle game. Kateryna Lagno defended well and they ended in an endgame with opposite color bishops, where Ju Wenjun had two pawns up, but it wasn’t enough to tie the result in the match, and the game ended as draw.
It was clear that the Chinese needed a victory in the last round to proceed to the tiebreaks. She had black pieces and started aggressive attack on the white’s king. Although, the position was defensible, Kateryna Lagno missed the tactics, and resigned in the 32nd move.
After the regular match of four games ended in a tie with result 2-2, the finalists of FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship entered the tiebreaks. First two rapid games ended in a tie, with two draws after the great fights and intense games. In the third game, Lagno had the white pieces and the position was equal through the game. In an endgame, Ju Wenjun managed to win the pawn, and made the masterpiece of realization to take the leadership in the match, and to be the step away of defending the title.
Lagno needed a victory to prolong the fight, and sharped the things out with black pieces in the 4th game. After the rally, the finalists got in an endgame with two Knights and a Queen on the both sides, when Lagno blundered a Queen and immediately resigned.
With a final result of 5-3, Ju Wenjun became the only one who managed to defend her title winning the knockout FIDE Women’s World Championship.
The semifinalists of the Championship: Alexandra Kosteniuk, Mariya Muzychuk, Kateryna Lagno, qualified for the 2019 Women’s Candidates Tournament.
The tiebreak match was attended by Sergey Kosilov, Deputy Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation, Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President, Andrey Filatov, RCF President, Sergey Artamonov, Director of Physical Culture and Sport Department of Ugra, and other officials.
FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship 2018 took place from 1st-23rd November in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, in the venue of Ugra Chess Academy.
Photos: Official Website of the Championship