Gibraltar Flash: Hou Yifan resigns in 5 moves!

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. News Flash.

Gibraltar Flash: Hou Yifan resigns in 5 moves!

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.

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

GM Lalith Babu M.R.

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."

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

Yifan resigns

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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manebivocu31 manebivocu31 2/2/2017 04:29
But I have to admit that I was also wondering about the high number of female-female parings. Weird...
PEB216 PEB216 2/2/2017 04:49
There are many ways to protest, but throwing a game to an opponent is not one of them. Hou Yifan has dishonored herself, her country, and her fans.
fixpont fixpont 2/2/2017 05:10
The best way to protest against playing too many females is to give up a game.....against a male. Logic at its best.
Nathanian Nathanian 2/2/2017 05:23
It is sexist! Why 7 W-W pairings? Gibraltar organizers made mistakes of pairing that way; Hou Yifan
should not throw a game. First, try to be as great as Bobby Fischer. Then you demand what you want. Your Queen Sac is great. Bravo!
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 2/2/2017 05:45
Kudos Huo. The Masters matter, the organizers do not... She could have forfeited a la Fischer, but she gave everybody a show. Well done.
Igor Freiberger Igor Freiberger 2/2/2017 05:59
Even considering the pairings were weird, Hou's behavior is childish and anti-professional.
tages erebus tages erebus 2/2/2017 06:09
Hou Yifan did what she considered to be the correct way to protest and I completely support her decision. I will not judge her story by this and no one should judge the chapter of her life they have walked in on.
garyroe garyroe 2/2/2017 06:10
1.g4 Ahh the unique Yifan-Protest Opening. Needs more trial and analysis but soon to be used by all leading Grandmasters.
abdekker abdekker 2/2/2017 06:29
Pathetic! Yifan, take a course in statistics. Flip a fair coin a million times and record heads (h) or tails (t). Pick any sequence you like and you'll almost certainly find it. For example, HHHHHH or HTHTHT or whatever. With all the millions of games and tournaments, unusual sequences of games is not unlikely...they are a certainty. Yihan has acted unprofessionally and dishonoured the title of World Champion.
PatrickP PatrickP 2/2/2017 06:35
Given the fact that she wanted to make a point, this was a very smart way to get the attention it deserves. The chance that this drawing is just pure "luck" is very, very small. Point made, I wonder what "they" do with this.
Green22 Green22 2/2/2017 06:46
wow she's a huge cry baby! have some pride and play the damn game...
Cajunmaster Cajunmaster 2/2/2017 06:56
Please, all you male chauvinist armchair supreme court judges: how is it that all the psycho male champions of history will end up being "understood" because of their "genius" and poor Yifan is being condemned, at best in paternalistic fashion?
She has always been quite the picture perfect chess ambassador and must have had strong reasons to get emotional about the situation. She apologized. Case closed.
lostapawn lostapawn 2/2/2017 07:12
@abdekker You should take a course in statistics yourself. It is not a certainty that you will get a certain exact sequence. Also, the coin is not fair.
David Sprenkle David Sprenkle 2/2/2017 07:14
If the organizers manipulated some pairings, like all the woman vs woman pairings, or the all-U.S. Naka vs Caruana pairing, then that's okay--if they made it clear what they were doing--and why. Perhaps they programmed the pairings algorithm that way. But to have Mr. Callaghan leave Yifan out to dry by saying "the machine spit them out, we can't change them" implying that there was no manipulation--well, that's just wrong, if true. That's a sever injustice. And the truth will come out, one way or the other.
abdekker abdekker 2/2/2017 07:25
@lostapawn: Explain to everyone how the coin is unfair, please? Over the million throws it came up 50% heads and 50% tails. Anybody defending Yifan on the basis that the draw is "obviously biased" should present evidence. Unusual things happen in life. Even this morning, I saw the car number plate YRG 145 J...spooky. Then two of my office colleagues wore green jumpers AND black shoes...unbelievable! Its like witchcraft! Yawn.
FabulousNight FabulousNight 2/2/2017 07:27
To the organizer: Pairings made by a machine? I belive you 0.001% ...and still have to say your machine is stupid
ConwyCastle ConwyCastle 2/2/2017 07:28
Chessbase: can you ask a statistician to comment on the probability of her string of female opponents?
AgainAgain AgainAgain 2/2/2017 07:34
Very dodgy pairing. No other way of protest would have gotten much attention. Organisers should be ashamed of themselves for the sham they call computer pairing.
portici portici 2/2/2017 07:38
Before we continue the debate of fair or unfair, can any experienced administrator or tournament director tell us the following: If player X faces several potential opponents with identical points and colors in previous rounds, does the pairing program randomly picks an opponent for X, or is there a specified algorithm which considers their seedings? If it is the latter, then the pairing algorithm can now be run again to check if there was any flaw.
AgainAgain AgainAgain 2/2/2017 07:44
Organisers should share what version of which pairing program they used and Chessbase should try to reproduce the pairing. That could prove who is right. If that does not happen we should assume this information is not shared to hide the dodgy pairing made by hand...
much faster much faster 2/2/2017 07:48
back room boys a bit to blatant with their fiddling. and with her moves she got what she wanted, a lot of attention. england developes more and more in the direction of the congo.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 2/2/2017 07:50
abdekker - talking about statistics. You start with the Swiss system pairing rules. You then evaluate if there is some latitude in making the choices in following these rules. You then evaluate the probability that there be intra-female pairings in that proportion in that latitude if it exists. Then you ask the organisers, if there was some latitude following the rules, on what basis they made their paring choices. Then you conclude.

Intuitively, the proportion of intra-female is so high and improbable at first sight that it looks fishy at first sight - the onus of proving otherwise is thus on the shoulders of the negationist - which we can still consider, only based on a rationale process as mentioned above.

You express yourself with a lot of authority even though I have strong doubts that you went through the process mentioned above. Which attains strongly the credibility of your thesis.
zookid zookid 2/2/2017 07:52
Here is one glaring example of bias and manipulation, IMHO, ...Rd 7 Hou Yifan defeats Borya Ider on table 20 and moves up to only table 15 for Rd 8 against Wenjun Ju. The other 8 players in Rd 7 who also had 4 pts and won their game, all playing on tables below her, moved up an average of over 10 table spots for Rd 8. Gopal actually moved up 15 spots, from table 24 to table 9, to play Caruana. Deac moved up from table 25 to table 10. Also, the opponents they defeated in Rd 7 were rated 100 pts less than Yifan's, and their rating is also 100 pts less than hers. She was also rated above them in the overall standings after Rd 7.

There are other examples as well, including Rd 5, dropping from table 4 to 19 to play Pia Cramling, where Fressinet only dropped from table 8 to 17 with the same points. Statistically impossible for any algorithm to pair W-W 70% of the time with this cross table. Human intervention with some of the pairings is obvious. The "why" is the unknown.

I commend her courage to forfeit the last game and raise awareness.
stierlitz stierlitz 2/2/2017 08:13
I totally support Hou. How else could she attract media attention to her protest if not this way?!?! Even chessbase wouldn't bother mentioning strange accidency of many female pairings if she would just win her game. She is in the position in which she can trigger media discussions by such behavior as today. It is not all about chess, especially for female players chess is means to prove that they are not second class human beings.
geraldsky geraldsky 2/2/2017 08:14
The question here..Are the pairings given to Hou Yifan correct or wrong? It will be investigated and checked by other pairing experts to find out the truth.
zookid zookid 2/2/2017 08:16
Statistically speaking...IF the field had been split even between men and women, an 11.7% chance of drawing a female opponent 7 out of 10 rounds.
With this playing field, less than a .000002% chance.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 2/2/2017 08:17
@abdekker -- ....quite happy to answer you.

First, you really should not use Feynman (the license plate example) without crediting least explain what he was attempting to say, if you can. The point is, which you failed to state, is that one should talk about the probability before the event occurs. After it has happened, it is 1. Einstein said something similar, but I will not post that anecdote.

Regarding your "fair coin" have assumed a fair coin. Nice. And you know it was fair how? If you take a Bayesian view, you don't know a priori, you perform the experiment, and look at the data, and alter your confidence in fairness depending on the data you get.

--- On a different topic, the claim is the pairings were not manually done. Well maybe that needs to be that if the situation of 7 woman pairings is going to happen, the pairings can be changed manually (consistent with the tournament format)
confusedepitaph confusedepitaph 2/2/2017 08:27
pairings are deterministic, and not random. saying that there is a 0.03% chance or whatever to play 7/10 games against women is irrelevant because that is not how tournament pairings work. please learn how tournaments are organized before you abuse probability online.
mark_stump mark_stump 2/2/2017 08:35
You protest your way; Yifan has the right to do it her way.
Denix Denix 2/2/2017 08:49
I realized this also from the very start until round 4, all of her opponents were women. No other participant in the event faced more women than she did. Hope they would be able to find a good conclusion and avoid the blaming part which is not beneficial to all involved.
Queeg Queeg 2/2/2017 08:50
There are detailed rules governing Swiss pairings in the FIDE handbook. One of these rules states (C.04.2.A4):

"The FIDE Swiss Rules pair the players in an objective and impartial way, and different arbiters or software programs following the pairing rules should arrive at identical pairings."

So it is possible to examine if the pairings were fixed or not. I suggest to await the result of such an investigation instead of indulging in speculations.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 2/2/2017 08:57
It would be nice to know what pairing program was used. I have read that, at one time, Swiss Perfect was known to produce unusual pairings.
flachspieler flachspieler 2/2/2017 09:02
Interesting case.

(i) Let the organizers make their pairing code public, and people (including me) will check.

(ii) 1.g4 is still playable. The decisive mistake (or protest) was 2.f3. It is a pitty that she gave her king some fresh air by 3.d3. 3.h3 instead would have been more in style.
ChiliBean ChiliBean 2/2/2017 09:08
I'm curious about this "machine". So the machine was right or was there something wrong while doing pairings or did Hou experience a statistical anomaly. I'm confused.
treetown treetown 2/2/2017 09:09
1. If the pairings are done using a computer program, then easy to resolve, publicize the program, version and in a short period of time, the pairing pattern could be replicated to see if that is what the program really will yield. 2. There must be some more to the whole situation. She had played a great game two rounds earlier with a deep queen sac, and lost a tough game last round. ? what else is going on ?
Zdrak Zdrak 2/2/2017 09:09
@ ConwyCastle:

I can give you a statistical analysis. Among the 83 players who had a score similar to Hou Yifan (ie. pool of potential opponents), 17 (20.4%) were female. However, this doesn't mean she has a 20.4% of being paired against a woman in any given round. That's only true initially. Once she's paired against a few women, these women are removed from the pool of potential opponents, and the proportion of women among potential opponents becomes even smaller. For example, after she was paired against women 6 times, the probability for it to happen a seventh time was only 14.3%.

With all that in mind - if the pairings are fair - the probability to be paired against a woman seven or more times out of ten is: <drumroll>

(17/83 x 16/82 x 15/81 x 14/80 x 13/79 x 12/78 x 11/77)*10!/(7!*3!)

Which is 0.056% (1-in-1,779)

Now, we go to Bayesian probabilities and ask ourselves, what is more likely: that this sequence of pairings was created as a part of honest pairings (which, as we know is 1-in-1779) or that the organizers deliberately skewed the pairings? Each can answer to himself.
blackdranzer 27 blackdranzer 27 2/2/2017 09:20

You really need to take statistics more seriously !...
I support how hou protested...It is the only way to make headlines, other wise the organizers can easily get away..
tafit tafit 2/2/2017 09:30
@ all the conspiracists: why should the organizers rig the draw? I don't see why it should be in their interest if Hou constantly plays females...
It's just a coincidence and it's strange for me that she overreacted that way.
libyantiger libyantiger 2/2/2017 10:11
better way to protest to crush the man-GM and continue protesting by claiming that she should play men because she is better than women in chess
David Sprenkle David Sprenkle 2/2/2017 10:16
It's pretty obvious that pairings were manipulated for a variety of reasons in this tournament. The problem is that, by not pairing according to a standard algorithm, you're handing some players easier pairings than others. Hou Yifan herself, for example, probably actually received easier pairings than she should have because she was playing a woman pretty much every round one was available for her to be paired with. Kudos to her for protesting anyway, even though it was against her own interest in that way--and kudos to the other competitors for not making a stink about it, even though they legitimately could have. There's no reason for the Gibraltar organizers to be manipulating so much--it just leads to hard feelings. And there's certainly no reason for Mr. Callaghan to be so disingenuous in a way designed to protect himself and the directors at Hou Yifan's expense.