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The Candidates

by

John Bain

Only one lady–Aleksandra Goryachkina (2610), Humpy Koneru (2586), Kateryna Lagno (2550), Mariya Muzychuk (2539), Lei Tingjie (2535), Anna Muzychuk (2531), Tan Zhongyi (2525) or Alexandra Kosteniuk (2516)–will challenge Ju Wenjun (2560) for the 2022 Women’s World Chess Champion title.

Ratings are from the International Chess Federation (FIDE) January 2022 rankings.

Ju Wenjun Rapid Chess Champ in orange sweater

Ju Wenjun

Women’s World Chess Champion
Born: January 31, 1991
Shanghai, China
FIDE Rating 2560


The Candidates Tournament!

The Women’s Candidates Tournament will take place sometime in the last quarter of 2022 at a place and date to be determined. The deadline for countries to submit bids to host the Women’s Candidates Tournament is February 15, 2022.

The 2022 Women’s Candidates Tournament will be a Round Robin, where players will play each other player two times–once with the White pieces and once with the Black pieces–14 games in all for each player.

The player with the best score will be the 2022 Challenger, and play Ju Wenjun for the Women’s World Chess Championship in a 12-game match sometime in the second half of 2022 at at a place and date to be determined.


Aleksandra Goryachkina

Aleksandra won the Candidates Tournament two years ago, then challenged Ju Wenjun for the title in a 12-game Classical Chess match in 2020.

In the title match, each player won 3 games and drew 6 games and the match was tied at the end of regulation play. In Rapid Chess tiebreaks, Ju Wenjun retained her title scoring 2.5 points to Alexandra’s 1.5 points.

Aleksandra Goryachkina in blue top sitting in blue chair looking at camera

Aleksandra Goryachkina

2020 Women’s World Chess Challenger
Born: September 28, 1998
Orsk, Russia
FIDE Rating 2610


Humpy Koneru

Humpy is the youngest woman to earn the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years, 1 month, 27 days old, beating Judit Polgár’s previous record by three months.

In 2019, she won the FIDE Women’s Rapid Chess Championship.

Humpy Koneru with hand to chin sitting behind the black chess pieces

Humpy Koneru

#3 Rated Woman in the World
Born: March 31, 1987
Gudivada, India
FIDE Rating 2586


Ekaterina Lagno

Ekaterina is a chess prodigy, earning the title of Woman Grandmaster (WGM) at the young age of 12 years, 4 months and 2 days old. Then, in 2007, she was earned the Grandmaster (GM) title.

In August 2010, Lagno became the Women’s World Blitz Chess Champion. In April 2014, Lagno won the Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship by tie-break over Alexandra Kosteniuk.

Today, although born in Ukraine, she is a Russian chess Grandmaster (GM).

Kateryna Lagno in blue blouse looking at camera

Ekaterina Lagno

#5 Rated Woman in the World
Born: December 27, 1989
Lviv, Ukraine
FIDE Rating 2550


Mariya Muzychuk

Mariya Muzychuk is a Ukrainian chess Grandmaster and the Women’s World Chess Champion from April 2015 to March 2016.

Mariya Muzychuk in white sweater looking at the camera 2022

Mariya Muzychuk

#6 Rated Woman in the World
Born: September 21, 1992
Lviv, Ukraine
FIDE Rating 2539


Lei Tingjie

Lei Tingjie is a Chinese chess Grandmaster (GM), who won the 2017 Women’s Chinese Chess Championship.

Lei Tingjie in red blouse sitting behind the black pieces at the chessboard

Lei Tingjie

#7 Rated Woman in the World
Born: March 13, 1997
Fuling District, Chongqing, China
FIDE Rating 2535


Anna Muzychuk

Anna Muzychuk is a Ukrainian chess Grandmaster (GM). She is the fourth woman in chess history to attain a FIDE rating of at least 2600.

Anna is a three-time World Champion in speed chess. She won the Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship once in 2014 and the Women’s World Blitz Chess Championship twice–in 2014 and 2016.

Anna-Muzychuk seated blue blazer hands folded in prayer to chin 202129

Anna Muzychuk

#9 Rated Woman in the World
Born: February 28, 1990
Lviv, Ukraine
FIDE Rating 2531


Tan Zhongyi

Tan Zhongyi is a Chinese chess Grandmaster (GM) and the 2017 Women’s World Chess Champion.

Alexandra Botez and sister Andrea

Tan Zhongyi

#10 Rated Woman in the World
Born: May 29, 1991
Chongqing, China
FIDE Rating 2525


Alexandra Kosteniuk

The one time 2008-2010 Women’s World Chess Champion rose to the top again in 2021–see The “Chess Queen” returns! 37-year-old Alexandra Kosteniuk wins the 2021 FIDE Women’s Chess World Cup!

Alexandra Kosteniuk with makeup sitting reaching for white chess piece

Alexandra Kosteniuk

#12 Rated Woman in the World
Born: April 23, 1984
Perm, Russia
FIDE Rating 2516


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Ju Wenjun sitting behind the white pieces in a nice blazer

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