Tan Zhongyi convincingly wins Women’s Candidates in Toronto


Tan Zhongyi obtained the draw she needed to claim outright victory at the Women’s Candidates Tournament in Toronto, according to Chess News. The Chinese GM grabbed the sole lead from the get-go, as she obtained back-to-back wins in the first two rounds. At some point, Lei Tingjie managed to catch her atop the standings, but Tan turned out to be more consistent than her compatriot in the long run. With her triumph, Tan became Ju Wenjun’s challenger in the next match for the Women’s World Chess Championship.

Since 2011, after ten years of knockout tournaments, the Women’s World Championship has been decided in matches six times. All six matches have featured at least one Chinese player, with Hou Yifan (now retired from the cycle) winning in 2011, 2013 and 2016.

In 2017, Tan Zhongyi won a 64-player knockout tournament in Tehran to get the world crown. The next year, in 2018, Tan was defeated in a 10-game match by Ju Wenjun — who managed to defend her title three times, first in a 64-player knockout event and then in 12-game matches against Aleksandra Goryachkina and Lei Tingjie.

Now, six years after losing the match against Ju, Tan gained the right to face the current champion again by winning the Women’s Candidates Tournament in Toronto.

Tan collected 5 wins, 8 draws and 1 loss to win the event convincingly with 9/14 points, leaving three players in shared second place 1½ points behind. After grabbing back-to-back wins in the first two rounds, the eventual champion showed the strongest, most consistent chess throughout the event, though a setback in round 8 left her temporarily tied for first place with Lei Tingjie and Aleksandra Goryachkina.

17-year-old Dommaraju Gukesh became the youngest ever in the history of the game to win the elite FIDE Candidates Chess Championship and earn the right to challenge reigning World Champion Ding Liren of China for the World title.