News / Monaco

Women's Candidates Tournament (Pool B) kicks off in ancient Khiva

A long-awaited second pool of the FIDE Women's Candidates has started in Uzbekistan, in the beautiful oasis city of Khiva. In the next two weeks the chess world will have a chance to follow exciting chess battles of leading female players of the globe and find out who will join the winner of pool A, Lei Tingjie, in the big final.

The opening ceremony was filled with traditional details, like tea and music, which allowed everyone - players and guests - to feel the amazing Uzbek hospitality.

Alisher Sadullaev, the President of Uzbekistan chess federation, gave a welcoming speech. "I'm very happy to see those strong grandmasters here in Uzbekistan, probably for the very first time." To further thank FIDE for a great cooperation and hope that it is just the beginning of it.

Deputy governor of Xorazm region, of which Khiva is capital, Sanatbek Salayev, was another guest at the opening ceremony. Great warmth was radiating from him, while he expressed a very big happiness that such a prestigious tournament is being held in his region.

After the speeches, it was time for drawing of colours for each match. Traditionally dressed Uzbek ladies presented the players with beautiful chests with chess queens hidden inside of them - one with the black and other with the white one. Player with the higher rating in each match up had a right to choose first.

Goryachkina, the highest rated player in the event, was the one who picked chest with the black queen inside, thus giving Kosteniuk white pieces in the first round.

In the second match it was Lagno to choose before Tan. Again, the right to choose did not prove very lucky as Lagno chose the box with the black queen.

The first games are starting already on Tuesday, 29th November at 3pm local time.

Press officer: Anna Kantane
Photo: Eteri Kublashvili