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Misha Friedman
Maria Muzychuk and Hou Yifan in the playing hall.
YOUR MOVE

Photos: A 22-year-old grandmaster wins the Women’s World Chess Championship

By Loubna Mrie

Chinese grandmaster Hou Yifan has been crowned the Women’s World Chess Champion.

On March 14, in the elegant Potocki Palace of Lviv, Ukraine, 22-year-old Hou beat Mariya Muzychuk for the top title in a 46-move game. Muzychuk, a 23-year-old Ukrainian grandmaster, won the championship last year.

Female chess players may be overlooked on the global stage, but locals fans and media flocked to the event for a glimpse of the players. ”The Chinese delegation team imposed security measures, afraid that locals would find a way to help the Ukrainian player,” says photographer Misha Friedman, who dedicated nearly a week to photographing the nine-game contest. “I used to be a chess player. That’s how I got the access.”

Misha Friedman
Champion Hou Yifan was named a grandmaster at the age of 14.
Misha Friedman
Local artist makes a drawing of Hou Yifan’s father.
Misha Friedman
A medical team was on site at all times.
Misha Friedman
Hou Yifan and Muzychuk before the game.
Misha Friedman
Games often take over four hours.
Misha Friedman
To prevent possible outside help, the game is broadcast with a 30 minute delay.
Misha Friedman
Spectators watch the broadcast while the playing hall is closed to the public.
Misha Friedman
Julianna, 9, waiting for an autograph.
Misha Friedman
A member of the Chinese delegation photographs Hou Yifan meeting fans.
Misha Friedman
Children play chess in Lviv’s central square.
Misha Friedman
Members of the Chinese delegation watch the game broadcast.
Misha Friedman
Local fans and grandmasters analyze the game.
Misha Friedman
Hou Yifan signs autographs for local fans.
Misha Friedman
Games are played behind closed doors.