Tan Zhongyi sacrificed two pawns and looked in grave danger in Game 1 of the FIDE Women’s Candidates Final in Chongqing, China, but Lei Tingjie blundered with seconds on her clock and fell to defeat. That was a huge step towards Tan Zhongyi forcing a World Championship rematch against Ju Wenjun, but Lei Tingjie still has five games in which to hit back.
The 2023 Women’s World Championship is an all-Chinese affair, with Tan Zhongyi and Lei Tingjie competing over six classical games for the right to challenge Ju Wenjun to a World Championship match in July.
On paper Lie Tingjie went into the match as the favourite, rated 2545 and world no. 6 compared to Tan Zhongyi’s 2526 and no. 8, but neither player has been prolific recently, and Tan has experience playing for the World Championship title.
That rollercoaster game was Lei Tingjie’s first classical loss in over three years, since the 2020 Gibraltar Masters, with neither player having lost a game in the Candidates before the final. It made Tan Zhongyi the clear favourite, but there are five games, and possible playoffs, to go, so that absolutely nothing is decided yet.
The games start at 15:00 in China, which is 3am ET, 09:00 CEST and 12:30pm IST. Watch all the FIDE Women’s Candidates games on chess24