Fourth Consecutive Draw as Tensions Rise in Women's World Championship

Image Caption
courtesy Stev Bonhage/FIDE


Update: Please download our printable bulletin of this report, which is now available.



A well-played draw served as a fitting conclusion to the first third of the 2023 Women’s World Chess Championship. The match is tied 2-2 with eight games remaining.

Headed into the final rest day before the halftime break, neither player appeared interested in taking excessive risks, but neither player made any major mistakes. GM Ju Wenjun should be happy to have avoided any danger for the second straight game, and perhaps challenger GM Lei Tingjie is starting to regret a couple of her missed opportunities from the first two games.


Image Caption
courtesy Stev Bonhage/FIDE


At the same time, Lei should be happy to have neutralized Ju’s queen’s pawn yet again. Given that she has appeared full of interesting ideas with the white pieces, Ju might need to come up with something more ambitious against Lei’s Queen’s Gambit Declined in order to have sufficient fighting chances.

The players also appear to be following different approaches to match preparation. Ju seems content repeating ultra-solid opening choices with both colors, while Lei has been “hopping around” and trying out a few different ideas. Rather than repeat the Tarrasch Variation she played in round two, this time she equalized rather easily with the Three Knights’ Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, albeit not the feisty Vienna.



Round five was played earlier today, July 11, and our round five report is already available here. Round six begins Wednesday, July 12, at 2 a.m. CST.

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