International Chess Federation
Monday, 24 Jul 2023 12:25
Ju Wenjun crowned with her fourth WC title: "There are many memorable moments, and this is one of them"

The great chess spectacle to determine the Women's World Chess Champion came to a poignant end in Chongqing with a lively pageant of Chinese culture

The closing ceremony of the Women's World Championship match was held at the grand hall of the Changshou District Office Service Centre – the same venue where just two days earlier, Ju Wenjun defeated challenger Lei Tingjie in the crucial 12th game of the match.

The ceremony began with a mesmerizing performance by the Chongqing Opera Troupe, showcasing the exquisite landscapes and kindness of the Changshou District, situated in central China along the historic Yangtze River. Following this, the local sports team demonstrated the art of Kung Fu, hailing from the esteemed Wushu Sports Centre, renowned for its deep-rooted history in traditional Chinese culture.

The last theatrical act featured a Tea Ceremony Performance dubbed Happy in Chess. Combining the tea ceremony, calligraphy, dance and chess, the show depicted the richness and splendour of the world's civilization in different art forms.

As the event moved into its official segment, Chief Arbiter Anastasia Sorokina appeared on stage to confirm the results of the match – a 6.5:5.5 victory for Ju Wenjun.

Dai Ming, deputy party Secretary of Changshou district and host of the ceremony addressed the crowd first.

"Shanghai and Chongqing witnessed the match where the New Queen was determined. We have witnessed not only top-notch chess by players but also the sportsmanship of China! Congratulations to both players who have won the hearts of fans with their dignity", Dai said, adding that the players helped "build an image of China as a sports country and a healthy country".

Zhu Guoping, director of the National Mind Sports Centre, highlighted the rise of chess's popularity in China and the prowess of Chinese players on the global stage. Zhu congratulated Ju Wenjun on her exceptional achievement, emphasizing how her victory required not only exceptional chess skills but also a strong character to overcome the challenges.

The appearance of FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich on stage marked the beginning of the key moment of the ceremony.

Dvorkovich lauded the event in China, saying it "was a huge success" and pointed out that "the young generation in China have great role models, not only the new champion but all the other great women chess players".

Of all the 17 women world champions so far, as many as six come from China, while the country now holds a crown in the absolute section, with Ding Liren winning the world match in April.

"Congratulations on harnessing and preserving the tradition of chess! The whole world was following, and you moved chess forward to a new level where the rest will have to follow", Dvorkovich concluded.

After the runner-up, Lei Tingjie came up to the podium, it was time for the Champion to appear.

With fanfare and roaring applause in the background, Ju Wenjun stepped onstage. Wearing a bright red dress – in the colour of the Chinese national flag – the four-time Women's World Championship winner had a crown placed on her head and was awarded a trophy and a golden medal.

In a brief humbling speech, Ju thanked "my country, all the officials and organizers, the team and family" for their support.

"There are many memorable moments, and this is one of them", said the World Champion.

By winning the World Championship match, Ju has equalled the score set by her compatriot Hou Yifan and is on a path to equalling the record of a 5-time victory set by the legendary Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze.

Text: Milan Dinic

Photos: Stev Bonhage

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About the Match

The match took place in two Chinese cities, where each of the contestants comes from. The first half of the match was in Shanghai, while the second half took place in Chongqing. 

The match consisted of 12 games of classical chess. The payers had 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 more minutes for the rest of the game, plus a 30-second increment per move starting on move one. 

Players cannot offer a draw before they reach the 41st move.  

In case of a tie, there were the following tiebreaks: 

Four games with a 25+10 time control. 

Two games with a 5+3 time control. 

Two more games with a 5+3 time control. 

One game with a 3+2 time control, until a winner is determined. 

The prize fund is €500,000, with €300,000 going to the winner and the remaining €200,000 to the runner-up. 

If the outcome of the match is decided upon tiebreaks, the winner took €275,000, while the runner-up received €225,000.