2023 Women’s World Championship (Shanghai/ Chongqing, China)

2023 World Chess Championship

Shanghai/Chongquing, China (July 4th-24th)

Ju Wenjun (China) vs. Lei Tingjie (China) - 2023 Women's World Chess Championship
Ju Wenjun
Lei Tingjie
Official Site: https://womenworldchampionship.fide.com/

China is hosting the world women’s championship for the next month between defending champion Ju Wenjun and challenger Lei Tingjie. The championship is the first of two competitors from the same country since 2018 when Ju played then-champion Tan Zhongyi and won her first title (on tiebreaks). There is no questioning the dominance of China in women’s chess and we have witnessed its evolution since Xie Jun won the title in 1991 against Georgia’s Maia Chiburdanidze 8½–6½.

Both players are very friendly toward one another with Ju serving as the elder by six years. Lei mentioned how much Ju served as a role model and it is apparent that the respect is mutual. China has had six out of the 17 women chess champions. This is even more amazing when considering that China produced its first Grandmaster in 1990 (Ye Rongguang). Ye Jiangchuan followed in 1993 and it was he who became an important coach in producing the new generation of champions. The very personable Lei Tingjie is attempting to become the next in line.

First time I met Lei, she was a kid. She is an excellent chess player, especially taking into account her young age.

~Ju Wenjun

Lineage of Champions

Hou Yifan was one of the finest talents in history to come along earning her GM title at 14 years, 6 months. She also won her first championship in 2010 at the age of 16. Tan Zhongyi won the championship in Tehran, Iran during the “hijabgate” controversy and Ju won in 2018. Ju has defended her title twice winning a knockout in the same year and then defending in a match against Russia’s Aleksandra Goryachkina in 2020. Lei Tingjie, a Grandmaster at age 20, won the Women’s Candidates by defeating Tan Zhongyi in the final to earn the right to challenge for the world crown.

Lei Tingjie and Ju Wenjun will face off in the Women’s World Championship.
Photo by Stev Bonhage

I learnt a lot about chess from Ju. She is one of the top players in the world, and I have been following her games closely.

~Lei Tingjie

There was an opening press conference and a drawing of lots with Lei playing white the first game. Following are the details from FIDE website:

Key facts about the match

The match will take place in two Chinese cities, where each of the contestants comes from. The first half of the match will be held in Shanghai, while the second half takes place in Chongqing.

The match will consist of 12 games of classical chess. The players will have 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 will be 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 event 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 will take €275,000, while the runner-up will receive €225,000.

Promotional Video

Video by FIDE

Official Website


  1. Ju Wenjun looks a bit disinterested in the press conferences with the habit of looking down and picking her nails. I notice this habit in the match versus Goryachkina. It may just be a habit, but Lei seems to have more energy.

  2. FIDE Report


    Lei Tingjie takes early lead with convincing win over Ju Wenjun

    In a complicated game in round five of the Women’s World Championship match, challenger Lei Tingjie defeated the reigning Champion Ju Wenjun

    The 26-year-old challenger seized the initiative early on and gradually tightened her grip on Ju Wenjun’s subdued defences. This was the first game in the match where one side had a clear advantage.

    Once again, Lei surprised her opponent by choosing the Italian game instead of the Ruy Lopez she had played as White in the previous two rounds.

    In a dynamic game, Lei managed to achieve more space across the board and exerted greater control in the centre and the light squares. The defending Champion Ju made a mistake on move 21, allowing White to create a strong push on the queenside – an advantage which impacted the course of the game.

    Although some exchanges of pieces provided Black with breathing space, the defending Women’s World Champion ended up in a passive position, desperately trying to withstand White’s squeezing. With no pressure on her back and with enough time on the clock, Lei proceeded to align her pieces and then eventually broke through in the centre with a devastating pawn push (45.e5), shattering Black’s defences.

    Ju spent over 22 minutes thinking about how to react. Visibly nervous, she made a bad move and found herself in a hopeless position as Lei quickly got two passers. Although Ju fought on for a little longer (having to even give up a bishop), the endgame was ultimately beyond salvation.

    This victory is a significant boost for Lei, marking her first triumph in the World Championship match. With seven more games scheduled for the classical part of the event, the defending Women’s World Champion, Ju, will undoubtedly strive to make her presence felt and mount a strong comeback.

    In the post-game interview Lei was asked if she feels any pressure: “If you feel it, you have it; if you don’t feel it, you don’t have it. I’m just happy to be here”, Lei responded.

    Lei, who had a concerned look on her face during the press conference, was asked why she seems not as happy as in the past four games which ended in a draw. Her response: “You can’t show your happy in front of people. I won a lot of “first win” [games] in my life… maybe I will be happy later”.

    Ju acknowledged that this was a tough game for her as she was weaker, but tried not to show any emotion and was mostly reserved. “This match puts more pressure on me than other tournaments, but this is something I have to endure”.

    The match continues on Tuesday, 12th July, with game six taking place at 3 PM Local Time in Shanghai (GMT +8).

    A detailed analysis of game five of the Women’s World Championship match will be available on the official website of the championship shortly.

    Analysis: https://womenworldchampionship.fide.com/tpost/910mf9fos1-game-5-lei-tingjie-takes-the-lead-with-c

    Text: Milan Dinic
    Photo: Stev Bonhage

  3. Game 6

    Video by GM Daniel King/Power Play Chess

    Ju seemed to be under a bit of pressure here, but ultimately held.
    In Game 7, Ju seemed to be under a bit of pressure here, but ultimately held!

    Game 7

    Video by IM Robert Ris/Power Play Chess

    Game 8

    Video by FIDE

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