Ju Wenjun and Lei Tingjie Draw in First Round of FIDE Women’s World Championship
Shanghai, July 5th – The highly anticipated first round of the 2023 FIDE Women’s World Championship Tournament kicked off in Shanghai on July 5th, with defending champion Ju Wenjun facing off against challenger Lei Tingjie. After a thrilling 4-hour battle that went through 50 rounds, the match ended in a draw.
As the most prestigious women’s individual event in FIDE, this tournament will determine the new women’s individual chess world champion. Ju Wenjun has already claimed the title three times in the past three years, and a successful defense this time would make her the third Chinese female player to win the World Chess title four times, following in the footsteps of Xie Jun and Hou Yifan. Lei Tingjie, who defeated Tan Zhongyi in the previous candidate competition, earned the right to challenge Ju Wenjun. This marks the fourth occasion where two Chinese players have competed for the queen title.
In the first game of the tournament, Lei Tingjie played with the white pieces and started with the Wang Bing opening, while Ju Wenjun defended with the Berlin Defense. In the opening stage, Lei Tingjie showed preparedness and quick moves, placing pressure on Ju Wenjun’s clock time. However, Ju Wenjun managed to create a repeated position to ease the pressure. Lei Tingjie, filled with fighting spirit, launched an aggressive attack, causing Ju Wenjun to respond hastily. Despite the intense gameplay, neither player found a promising opportunity. Eventually, the match reached an endgame with rooks and pawns, and the players decided to shake hands and call it a draw.
After the match, both players acknowledged the stability and ups and downs of the game. Lei Tingjie expressed satisfaction with the draw due to her slower progress, and she anticipates more intense battles in the upcoming games.
Just two months ago, Ding Liren made history as the first Chinese world chess champion. When asked about Ding Liren’s achievement at the post-match press conference, Lei Tingjie mentioned that she drew inspiration from Ding Liren’s games, observing how he copes with and resists pressure. She hopes to apply these lessons to reach her own goals.
Ju Wenjun praised Ding Liren’s epic victory, stating, “I am very excited. He is tenacious in the game, fights to the end, and never gives up. He is very worthy of my study.”
The competition will include 12 slow chess games, and the first player to reach 6.5 points will become the new queen of world chess. The schedule consists of the first half of the competition taking place in Shanghai from the 5th to the 12th, while the second half will be held in Chongqing from the 15th to the 22nd. The second round of the confrontation between Ju Wenjun and Lei Tingjie will be held on the 6th.