The competition for the World Cup for women has officially opened in Shanghai. Chinese defending champion Ju Wenjun and her challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina from Russia will play a twelve-game match against each other at locations Shanghai and Vladivostok over the next three weeks. There was a press conference Saturday. The first game, played Sunday, ended in a draw.
The first game of the Women’s World Chess Championship 2020, held in Shanghai, China, ended with a hard-fought draw.
Ye Jiangchuan, President of the Chinese Chess Federation, and Alexandr Shmanevskiy, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Shanghai, made the first symbolic move in the game.
The opening was as cautious as it gets: Alexandra Gorychkina (Russia), playing White, chose 1.d4 as her first move. Instead of her usual Ragozin defense, defending champion Ju Wenjun (China) surprised with 4.♗e7. The challenger decided to go then for a solid Catalan with 5.g3.
The impression is that Goryachkina tried to take the game out of the book as soon as she could, and despite the symmetrical and equal position, she managed to put some pressure on the champion. In fact, an inaccuracy by Ju Wenjun gave the Russian the opportunity to gain an advantage, and for a while, the challenger seemed to be playing cat and mouse with the Champion, only to squander it with an untimely rook exchange on move 44. After this scuffle, Ju stoically defended for the next 50-plus moves, before the draw was agreed right before they reached the sixth hour of play.
In the press conference held after the game, Ju complimented Goryachkina’s fighting style, looking to exploit even the minuscule of chances. On her part, Goryachkina was content with opening the match by putting the world champion on the ropes for 97 moves and close to 6 hours.
Game Two will be today, Monday January 6, and Ju Wenjun will have White. The prize fund is EUR 500,000 and will be divided 60:40 between the winner and loser after the end of the competition. If the there is a playoff, the ratio is 55:45.
All games begin at 15:30 local time in Shanghai and then Vladivostok. Therefore, games 1-6 start at 7:30 UTC (8:30 CET, 2:30 AM EST) and games 7-12 will begin at 5:30 UTC (6:30 CET, 12:30 AM EST).