Gibraltar Flash: Hou Yifan resigns in 5 moves!

by ChessBase
2/2/2017 – In a curious case at Gibraltar Masters, women's world champion Hou Yifan resigned in a mere 5 moves, breaking the record previously held by Viswanathan Anand for the quickest loss by a grandmaster. The 'scandal' occurred during the final round of the Masters tournament, known to be the best Open in the world.

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A controversial form of protest

In a bizarre series of events, Hou Yifan has lodged a unique form of protest at the Gibraltar Masters by choosing to make uncharacteristic moves in the opening and resign soon after.

Hou Yifan moments after resigning | Photo: John Saunders

The incident occurred in the final round of the Gibraltar Masters. Hou Yifan was playing with the white pieces on the 17th board against Indian GM Lalith Babu. She arrived 25 minutes after the games began and started to play quickly.

[Event "Tradewise Gibraltar Masters 2017"] [Site "Caleta"] [Date "2017.02.02"] [Round "10"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Lalith Babu M R"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A00"] [WhiteElo "2651"] [BlackElo "2587"] [Annotator "ChessBase"] [PlyCount "10"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] 1. g4 {1515} d5 {288} 2. f3 {22} e5 {119} 3. d3 {21} Qh4+ {221} 4. Kd2 {67} h5 {103} 5. h3 {95} hxg4 {119} 0-1

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GM Lalith Babu M.R. | Photo: Sophie Triay

Speaking to ChessBase India soon after the game, Lalith said, "I was scared when she played 1.g4 and I suspected preparation! But when I saw 2.f3, I figured out that something was wrong."

The game naturally attracted interest from onlookers  | Photo: John Saunders

To make matters even more curious, spectators are reporting that Yifan sported a smile during the game. Fans in social media are speculating that she may have done this in protest against the pairings-system that has been employed in the tournament where in 10 games, she has played 7 female players.

Rd. Bo. SNo Title Name Rtg FED Pts. Res. w-we
1 22 143 WGM Pourkashiyan Atousa 2303 IRI 4.5 s 1 0.11
2 19 85 GM Zhukova Natalia 2447 UKR 5.5 w 1 0.24
3 11 47 GM Muzychuk Anna 2558 UKR 5.5 s ½ -0.13
4 16 51 GM Muzychuk Mariya 2546 UKR 6.0 w 1 0.36
5 4 5 GM Adams Michael 2751 ENG 7.0 s 0 -0.36
6 19 81 GM Cramling Pia 2454 SWE 5.0 w ½ -0.25
7 20 78 IM Ider Borya 2463 FRA 5.5 s 1 0.26
8 15 38 GM Ju Wenjun 2583 CHN 7.0 w 0 -0.59
9 23 66 IM Batsiashvili Nino 2492 GEO 5.0 s 1 0.29
10 17 37 GM Lalith Babu M R 2587 IND 6.0 w

Hou Yifan resigns

Yifan resigns on the live webcast

Speculations are also coming in from Gibraltar saying that some players suspect the pairings have been done manually while the arbiters denied such a scenario. While some are commenting that 'giving away the game' is unacceptable.

Official Update from Gibraltar Masters Officials:

Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan from China has apologized for giving away her game this morning against Lalith Babu M R from India in the last round of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival within five moves.

Hou Yifan and Tournament Organiser Brian Callaghan speak about the incident

In an exclusive interview with the Festival press team Hou Yifan tells Tania Sachdev she apologized to chess players, to her fans and those following the Gibraltar Masters. Hou Yifan said she had been dissatisfied and had been upset with the pairings throughout the tournament as she had drawn seven women players out of 10 rounds. Tournament organizer, Brian Callaghan, interviewed directly after the Women’s World Champion was disappointed at what had happened and felt she had let herself down. Being a World Champion he said brought with it a great responsibility. Although sympathetic about her reason for giving her game away, Mr. Callaghan was quite clear that he did not believe the pairings had been wrong or that the move by Hou Yifan had damaged the tournament. But he did refer to the world champion having had a “bad day at the office”. Mr. Callaghan insisted the festival had welcomed her several times to the Rock and the festival had always been a keen promoter of the women’s game in chess and that this would continue into the future.

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