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Anna Ushenina, Ukraine's First Women's World Chess Champion

4. December 2012 by Masha 0 Comments

Born in Kharkiv where she still lives today, 27-year-old Anna Ushenina was introduced to chess at age seven and became the Ukrainian Girls’ Champion at just 15.


She’s been perfecting her skills ever since but as the No. 32 seed out of 64 players in the Women’s World Chess Championship, her victory was a huge upset and a first for Ukraine.


In the final, four-game match last week in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, Anna beat Antoaneta Stefanova, a Bulgarian grandmaster, in a tiebreaker to become Ukraine’s first women’s world chess champion.


"The match was very interesting, and at the same time we were both very tired and we made some mistakes," Anna said at a news conference. In the last game, she said, "I had some advantage, but Antoaneta was in some time trouble, and this contributed to my success."


Anna earned $60,000 for her victory and will play against Chinese chess prodigy Hou Yifan next year. Hou became the youngest women’s world chess champion in 2010 at age 16. It was that year that the championship began alternating formats. In even years a 64-player knockout system is used, while in odd years a classical match featuring only two players is held.


Previous champions have hailed from the Soviet Union, China, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Russia. Anna is excited to share the honor with her country.


"This bright success was made possible thanks to Anna’s hard, daily work through the years, and her strong personal qualities," exclaimed Viktor Kapustin, president of the Ukrainian Chess Federation. "Ushenina... is the pride of Ukraine!"



Sources: Kyiv Post, The New York Times