Top Seeds Take Cinderella’s Glass Slipper: Georgia Wins Gold Ahead of Kazakhstan

Top Seeds Take Cinderella’s Glass Slipper: Georgia Wins Gold Ahead of Kazakhstan


In the end, the top-ranked Georgian team, led by GM Bella Khotenashvili, won gold at the World Women’s Team Championship in Bydgoszcz, Poland. 

For much of the tournament, one of the lowest-ranked and youngest teams, Kazakhstan―with IM Bibisara Assaubayeva on first board―played out a Cinderella story, greatly outperforming expectations to win Pool A and reach the final to ultimately finish second.

In the battle for bronze, France, led by IM Deimante Daulyte-Cornette, defeated USA, winner of Pool B. USA’s board one, rising prodigy IM Alice Lee, won individual gold. 

See what happened

You can click here to find all the details of what happened during the event, including games, results, standings, and more, as part of our live events platform.

The World Women’s Team Championship has two stages: a preliminary stage where the 12 teams are split into two pools and a knockout stage where the top eight teams battle until only one is left standing.

The first stage featured parallel Cinderella-like stories. In Pool A, Kazakhstan―ranked second to last team average ratings―swept their first four matches and finished in clear first. Their board one, Assaubayeva, led her team of nearly all fellow teenagers to their victory, scoring an undefeated 4/5. 

Assaubayeva won a tactical slugfest vs. Khotenashvili in round five, the first encounter between Kazakhstan and Georgia. 

A light-hearted pre-round moment between Kazakhstan’s top boards, Bibisara and WGM Meruert Kamalidenova. Photo: Michal Walusza/FIDE.

In Pool B, the rapidly improving 14-year-old Lee led USA to the top from board one, scoring 3.5/5. In all three of her victories, she reached equal endings against strong opposition and then simply outplayed them and won. Her fourth-round victory vs. WIM Yuxin Song was critical to her team defeating China. 

Lee’s stellar performance earned her individual gold for first board.

Alice Lee, USA’s youngest team member, was the board one gold medalist. Photo: Michal Walusza/FIDE.

When the smoke from the first stage cleared, eight teams advanced to the knockout, increasing the pressure with each team’s participation hanging on the line every match.

Kazakhstan continued their incredible run, defeating Germany in the quarterfinals and France in the semifinals. WIM Alua Nurmanova on board three became a lead scorer for her team, scoring several stunning attacking wins. In the quarterfinals, she discovered a shocking tactical idea vs. WGM Josefine Heinemann. Can you find it? 

White to move.

Nurmanova was unstoppable in the knockout. Photo: David Llada/FIDE.

In the pool stage, Nurmanova created on of her most dazzling victories vs. WIM Anastasiya Rakhmangulova by catapulting each of her rooks into the enemy kingside, hunting down the enemy monarch. GM Rafael Leitao‘s annotations of this wild duel are coming soon.

In the final, Kazakhstan faced the top seed of the entire event, Georgia. Though Kazakhstan finished ahead of Georgia in the pool stage, with the stakes heightened in the knockout, the Georgian team became enlivened. 

In fact, they proved to be nearly invincible. In the 28 games of the elimination stage where they defeated China in the quarterfinals, beat USA in a blitz playoff in the semifinals, and faced Kazakhstan in the final, the entire Georgia team only yielded two individual losses. 

Their two top scorers, IM Meri Arabidze and IM Lela Javakhishvili, on boards two and four were on fire, each scoring an undefeated five out of seven. In the final, Arabidze played in perceptive and versatile style to defeat Kamalidenova by seamlessly switching gears from positional play to tactical blows.

It was Javakhishvili’s fighting spirit that gained her victories. In her game vs. Kazakhstan’s WIM Amina Kairbekova, she held off her opponent’s tactical strike and countered dynamically to gain the upper hand as the players traded into an ending.  

Khotenashvili and GM Nino Batsiahvili turned in solid supporting performances, each scoring 4/7, while IM Salome Melia assisted the team in the pool stage, allowing the other members to stay fresh as the tournament progressed. This is a repeat victory for this same five-player team, who also won the 2015 edition of this event. 

The triumphant Georgian team at the closing ceremony. Photo: Michal Walusza/FIDE.

The young Kazakhstan team earned silver for their marvelous run, starting near the bottom of the rankings, winning their pool, and finishing second overall. 

Kazakhstan celebrating their astonishing performance. Photo: Michal Walusza/FIDE.

In the fight for bronze, France edged out USA. Their top scorer, IM Sophie Milliet, achieved one of the deciding victories vs. IM Annie Wang.

A cheerful French team receiving bronze. Photo: Michal Walusza/FIDE.

Knockout Bracket 

Pool A Standings

Pool B Standings

World Women’s Team Championship – All Games

The Women’s World Team Championship takes place September 6-11, 2023 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. It starts off with two pools with six teams each where the top four teams qualify for the knockout stage. Players receive 45 minutes for the entire game, plus a 10-second increment starting from move one. Official website.


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