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Two Chongqing chess players to compete in final of FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament


On March 28, the final match of the Women's Candidates Tournament 2022-2023 kicked off in Liangjiang New Area of Southwest China's Chongqing municipality, which includes two Chongqing chess players.


The ceremony of the final match of the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament 2022-2023. [Photo provided to]

The Women's Candidates Tournament is one of the highest-level competitions of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), which is held every two years. It is an eight-player chess tournament arranged in two pools. FIDE decides the participant quota based on the last international competition's results and ratings.

Two Chongqing candidates, Tan Zhongyi and Lei Tingjie, after winning their respective pools in Monaco and Khiva last year, will compete in the candidates final. After a six-game match from March 29 to April 5, the winner of the final will challenge the defending Women's World Chess Champion Ju Wenjun in July.

It is the first time for two candidates from the same country and city have competed for the final in more than a decade. According to FIDE, this means that a Chinese female chess player will keep the title of champion for least three years, as the next candidate match will not be held until 2024.


Tan Zhongyi (left) and Lei Tingjie, both from Chongqing, will compete in the candidate final. [Photo provided to]

As familiar teammates from the Chongqing Sports Lottery Chess Club, both Tan and Lei expressed their sense of pride in representing China, and they deemed the match as the highest-level competition of its kind. They said the most important thing right now was to focus on the upcoming match.

"It is not by chance that the match is being held here in Chongqing, it is the result of chess's development in China and the success of Chinese players" said Arkady Dvorkovich, the president of FIDE, at the opening ceremony of the final. He said the federation planned to hold more competitions in China since it is one of the great powers in chess along with India, Russia, and the United States.

Xiejun, the first Chinese female world champion and vice president of FIDE, has witnessed the development of chess in China. She expressed her pride at seeing both candidates from China, which proves the significance of teamwork in China and the strong development of chess in China. "In Chongqing, more and more people are becoming enthusiastic about chess, just like the spicy food here. I hope more talented teenagers will emerge," said Xie.

Early in the 1970s, Chongqing held the first international chess competition, and since 1995, the Chongqing international chess team has consistently competed in Chinese International Chess League One. Remarkably, the Chongqing team won the national championship in 2022, after being the runner-up four times.


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