Arrabal translates Hou Yifan interview

by ChessBase
5/23/2016 – Fernando Arrabal Terán is a playwright, screenwriter, film director, novelist and poet, last survivor among the “three avatars of modernism” (New York Times theatre critic Mel Gussow). Arrabal has a strong interest in chess and writes a column on it for the French weekly L’Express. He has reproduced our interview depicting Yifan as Joan of Arc and himself as Pan, the mythological Greek shepherd god of the nymphs.

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Before we come to Arrabal here is a brief reaction to the Hou Yifan interview by India's second highest ranked player (and number ten in the world women's rankings), Harkika Dronavalli:

India's second highest ranked female player (and World women’s online blitz champion) GM Harika Dronavalli, said she could empathise with Yifan, whom she has met across the chessboard on several occasions. “It would be nice for us women to have a World championship cycle like that of the men, but I think it would be difficult for FIDE to find sponsors for that,” the World No. 10 told The Hindu over phone from Hyderabad on Saturday.

“But I am a bit disappointed by her decision. Women’s chess will be less competitive without her. I would like to win the World championship in which Yifan is a contender.”

For that to happen, FIDE would have to agree to Yifan’s proposal.

In La Règle du Jeau Fernando Arrabal, playwright, screenwriter, film director, novelist and poet, has published a translation of our interview with Hou Yifan in French. For the interview he has made a collage depicting the Women's World Champion as Jeanne d'Arc – and himself as Pan – in Greek mythology the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, companion of the nymphs.

Read the full Arrabal translation in French here

Fernando Arrabal

Fernando Arrabal Terán is a playwright, screenwriter, film director, novelist and poet, born in Melilla, Spain, but settled in France since 1955; he describes himself as “desterrado”, or “half-expatriate, half-exiled”.

Arrabal has directed seven full-length feature films; he has published more than 100 plays, 14 novels, 800 poetry collections, chapbooks, and artist’s books. His complete plays have been published in a number of languages – the New York Times theatre critic Mel Gussow has called Arrabal the last survivor among the “three avatars of modernism”. A friend of Andy Warhol and Tristan Tzara, Arrabal spent three years as a member of André Breton’s surrealist group.

Arrabal has a strong interest in chess and has attended many chess tournaments. For over thirty years he has written a column on chess for the French weekly L’Express.


And here is a Chinese translation of our interveiw – and here a Google retranslation back into English.


  • Why Hou Yifan has dropped out of the cycle
    5/20/2016 – At fourteen she was the youngest female player ever to gain the title of grandmaster, and at sixteen she became the youngest Women's World Champion in history. She has won the title four times and is the reigning champion. Now Hou Yifan, 100 points stronger than any of her colleagues, has abandoned the Women's Championship cycle. She tells us why and calls for a reform of the system. Her proposal is amazingly simple.

  • Interview with Hou Yifan
    4/2/2016 – In March Hou Yifan, number one on the women's ranking list, regained the world title, which she had lost when she did not take part in the knock-out World Championship the year before. In an interview with Dagobert Kohlmeyer the World Champion criticises the mode of the Women's World Championship and reveals that her proposals for a different system were made in vain.

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