After five rounds of furious knockout play, the 2012 Women's World Championship tournament has come down to a final match between former Women's World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova and Ukrainian IM Anna Ushenina. Stefanova defeated India's GM Harika Dronavalli in her semifinal by a clear 1.5-0.5 score, while Ushenina needed rapid tiebreaks to get past Chinese WGM Ju Wenjun.
The knockout format always had the chance to provide surprising results, but most still expected at least one of the favorites to make a deep run. But the two names that had dominated women's chess in recent years -- Hou Yifan and Humpy Koneru -- were both eliminated in the second round. That left the door open for some new faces to take center stage -- or, in the case of Stefanova, an older face, as she had already won the Women's World Championship in 2004.
The final, as in the FIDE World Cup, will consist of a four game match. If that match should end in a 2-2 tie, they'll head into rapid tiebreaks, then (if necessary) blitz or even an Armageddon game if nothing else can separate the players. The final starts on Tuesday, meaning we should have a winner by next weekend.