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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koko48 koko48 2/4/2017 08:34
@strategos78 I would respond to your more recent comments if they were not completely nonsensical (and unintelligible)
JanneKejo JanneKejo 2/4/2017 08:33
A comment on probabilities. Imagine we have 250 cards in a bowl and we are to draw 10 cards. The cards are numbered from 1 to 250. In addition to a number, each card has a letter, either an "M" or an "F". Let's assume there are 200 M's and 50 F's.

Any sequence of numbers is as probable as any other and each of them is very improbable. On the other hand, not any sequence of the letters is as probable as any other. For example F-F-F-F-M-F-F-M-F-M is much less probable than for example M-M-M-M-F-M-M-F-M-F.

Naturally any sequence of letters is possible. I don't see anyone denying this. It's just that some sequences are very improbable and if they happen, one may start to wonder if it was a random thing or not, specifically if the sequence has some economic significance for someone in some way.

(Edit: corrected the letter sequences given as examples)
strategos78 strategos78 2/4/2017 08:09
Let us also relativize:
Hou Hifan ranking:
Std. : 2651
Rapid: 2611
Blitz: 2659

The conspiracy and conspiracy theories, very well ...

World Rank: World (all players): 112.
strategos78 strategos78 2/4/2017 07:59
Koko48, you say: "And anybody who has ever played in swiss tournaments knows pairings have been manipulated before".

You who denounce the shortcuts a little fast, I find it rather fun :)

You also say: "Because FIDE rigged the format against her, by making her defend her title in a mini-match knockout tournament".

Adepts of conspiracy theories, the time is serious! :)

Frankly...

Take the measure of the event ... A caprice of teenager in bad communication and who is completely passed by his tournament ...

Why do not the other players defend themselves? Conspiracy? ... :)
koko48 koko48 2/4/2017 07:59
@ kyi Jesus, really? Did you say that?

@strategos78 "Maybe she sees herself in Bobby Fischer but, in my opinion, is missing an important element in this comedy ... Respect and talent."

Hou Yifan has more respect and talent than the two of you, and hundreds of others like you, collectively

She is the World Champion and she is using her status to draw attention to a matter in the chess world that needs to be addressed

Enough with the inane sexist comments, it's obvious that most of you would have taken this protest much more seriously if it was done by a man....Instead you call her a "spoiled brat", "hormonal", "needs to mate", etc.

Argue probability theory all you want, in my eyes Probability indicates that the pairings were more likely than not, manipulated...And anybody who has ever played in swiss tournaments knows pairings have been manipulated before

In this case the director needs to prove they were not...Given the low probability the burden of proof is on him to prove the pairings were fair, not on Hou to prove they were manipulated....Her argument has logical ground, his does not

And if I were Hou I might think these mass female pairings were done on purpose, to retaliate against her dropping out of the Women's WC title....Because FIDE rigged the format against her, by making her defend her title in a mini-match knockout tournament
charlesthegreat charlesthegreat 2/4/2017 06:41
What a spoiled brat!!!
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 2/4/2017 04:43
To portici. The reasons for which the greater proportion of female intra-pairing raised questions do not relate to mathematics. There were wonders of whether this was made voluntarily for marketing reasons. Or because women were considered differently than other chess players. One clue for trying to know whether the very great proportion of female intra-pairing was intentional is going into probability... if necessary. In the absence of any other evidence, there is nothing else.

JackPot showed that going into probabilities was not even necessary - as in applying strictly the Swiss rules to the circumstances of this tournament, we have similar pairings as the ones which were made - with maybe one little discrepancy, not related to Hou's pairings and explainable by the unexpected forfeiture of one or two players in one round.
kyi kyi 2/4/2017 04:38
Hou has grown up to be a mature woman and her female hormones are kicking in. She needs mating with guys. She have had enough mates given to elite woman chess players and so she dropped out of woman only world chess championship cycle. What is the use of playing with more women chess players after she was crowned several times as woman chess champion. Her goal is to beat the best man chess players and become the combined world chess champions of both males and females. Give her a chance. Let Hou show her pussy power. She has the right to protest similar to Pussy Riots in Russia.
tafit tafit 2/4/2017 02:16
@Raymond Labelle
Logic tells me that it is very unlikely thatthe pairings where rigged for a number of reasons, here a few:
1) there are no abvious benefits for the organizers to manipulate the pairings
2) the pairings are not random but follow strict criteria and can be redone at any time. Given that fact, wouldn't it be very silly to apply some sort of cheat?
3) There where several people (incl. international arbiters) that have redone the pairings, they all got the same pairings for Hou as it was in Gibraltar. NOBODY got different results, not even Hou's team, don't you think they have checked it by now?
4) You are innocent until proven the contrary (luckily...)

Should I continue?
It's just funny how people almost linger after conspiracies...
strategos78 strategos78 2/4/2017 02:16
To protest: write a letter, an article, declare his withdrawal from the competition, press conferences, ... the game is sacred. What this player actually shows a total disrespect for what we all get together: chess. It's pathetic and your quibbles on the Swiss system will not change anything ...
portici portici 2/4/2017 12:43
I want to praise TheJackpot for the series of explanations which clarify the pairing. I am very surprised by the series of silly arguments by several users on probability theory. I am a math professor with a math PhD from MIT, but let me discuss without involving my identity. The biggest flaw of those arguments which question the low probability of playing 7 women players is: Any single pairing has extremely low probability, but one of them has to happen. The probability argument does not work by specifying an outcome only AFTER it has happened, because by then the probability is 1. It would indeed be very surprising if someone can predict BEFORE the tournament that Hou will play 7 women. For example if we look at Caruana's pairing, where he played Rakesh in round 1. The probability of Caruana playing Rakesh (before round 1) is very low, but you just cannot cry foul! After all, the probability of Caruana playing any single specified player is very low, but one of them just have to happen. It is simply a case that Hou feels upset by her own performance and acts immaturely, without any reliable basis to attack the organizer's pairing.
tafit tafit 2/4/2017 12:20
I guess letting people think that there might be a conspiracy against Hou generates more interest and clicks
LearnZ LearnZ 2/4/2017 12:09
@ TheJackpot
""" I can provide you with the rating report export, which is just a text file. If that helps, no problem."""

I know it is a text file, what I was wondering is in the swiss-manager site, there is no such thing as a trf that can be downloaded, perhaps I just missed it. What I found there is a *.tunx file. I view this file using their software of course.
The swiss-manager site has a lot of report files, but I cannot find an exact format similar to
http://www.rrweb.org/javafo/aum/TRFXSample2.txt
which I am trying to reconstract from the tournament info in tunx file in this tour.

The javafo seems to be aware of the fide trn format from here.
https://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/C04Annex2_TRF16.pdf


""" By the way: I am an international arbiter, I have experience with tournament organization and pairing, and I have other credentials at the pairing field. But I would prefer if you would stick to the arguments and refute them if possible. They don't change based on who is making the comments. """

It is good to know that.
I am not aware of argument or interested in it, what I will do is just to check the actual pairing against the program javafo.jar.
TheJackpot TheJackpot 2/4/2017 11:06
I can provide you with the rating report export, which is just a text file. If that helps, no problem.

By the way: I am an international arbiter, I have experience with tournament organization and pairing, and I have other credentials at the pairing field. But I would prefer if you would stick to the arguments and refute them if possible. They don't change based on who is making the comments.

Furthermore I actually see it as a sign of weakness from the chess journalists that they don't investigate this themselves and just publish the story. I find it bad journalism.
LearnZ LearnZ 2/4/2017 10:34
@strategos78

They were there, they know exactly what had happened, they talk about this but still why she had acted that way.
It takes a lot of courage to do this. This is what I like with the chess players, they stand on what they believe in no matter what the consequences would it bring.

It is better for me to check the pairing software than to get involve in those drama where i don't have much information LOL.

Right now the swiss-manager software has a different tournament file output format with extension tunx.
I am creating from scratch the so called trf file format so I can run the javafo.jar which will check the pairing of the actual tournament.

So user TheJackpot has not yet replied where he gets the trf file, this is why I am starting the process of creating it.
strategos78 strategos78 2/4/2017 09:40
90% of conversations revolve around stats, probabilities, ...

Am I the only one to find that this way of protesting is completely imature and childish?

To come before his opponent, to totally lack him respect to make the buzz and to divert the attention of a tournament completely missed ...

So much so not to come that to present and to play five blows before a adversary completely disoriented ...

This is unfortunately very common in our time ...

Maybe she sees herself in Bobby Fischer but, in my opinion, is missing an important element in this comedy ... Respect and talent.
sotram sotram 2/4/2017 08:35
Please consider Yifan not probabilities.
Yifan has stopped playing women's tournaments, wishing to play mostly higher rated men.
I don't believe she was there to compete for the women's prize, she wanted a chance to play the top men.
The unusual pairings made it very difficult not to be a major factor in the women's category. In her game with
Wenjun the move Re5 stands out. I hope one day she can explain to everyone's satisfaction.
qstone qstone 2/4/2017 06:08
@TheJackpot

Just curious, when you were redoing the pairing, did you specify gender, country info to the players? I am wondering if that could make a difference. in another words, if the program has built-in gender, country bias.

Thanks
fons fons 2/4/2017 03:13
@ TheJackpot:

So after all this brouhaha and after all these articles and comments from three different chess news websites and a chess forum, we finally have ONE person with arbiter and organizer credentials who says he's checked the pairings. One.

Well actually... somebody else said it. Jack Rudd said that Alex Holowczak said that... the pairings were correct.

Now can somebody come forward and speak in his own name?

(Shaun Press refers to a 'No more cheating in chess' group on facebook. I can't find that with a search engine and I don't do facebook either, so this looks like it's just more irrelevant hearsay.)

---

PS: I went to chess-results.com to download SwissManager (SwissManagerUniCodeSetup.exe) and also the helpfile (SwissManagerHelpENGSetup.exe) Btw: Why is the helpfile an exe-file?

I checked the file on virustotal.com and it contained a trojan. The helpfile was even worse.
No offence but I'm not taking my chances. I will leave it up to the people who already have this up and running on their computer and have actual experience using this stuff. As I already said: there should be plenty of people who do Swiss pairings on a regular basis.
TheJackpot TheJackpot 2/4/2017 01:52
And to give you another entry:

http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=8904&start=210#p195034

I quote:

Alex Holowczak has done all the draws on his own copy of Swiss Manager, and came up with all the same pairings for Hou that the tournament did here, which I think is good evidence that the pairings were not fiddled.

Furthermore Shaun Press is also referring to facebook in his blog on Gibraltar. I don't do facebook, but perhaps it helps you find another reference.

http://chessexpress.blogspot.nl/2017/02/2017-gibraltar-masters-day-10.html

And now he is really gone :)

'night all
TheJackpot TheJackpot 2/4/2017 01:38
What do we see here?

In round 1 the pairing is hard to reproduce. Most likely the result of the regular round 1 mess at a tournament.

In round 5 we see (in the lower regions) differences. Based on the pairings (we have a game with 1.5 playing 0.5, to name an example), this is most likely the result of 1 or 2 corrected results from earlier rounds.

In round 9 we see the ISR-IRI pairing being changed

All other rounds are equal to what SwissManager did in Gibraltar.

Bed time now, I'll check for reasonable questions tomorrow.
fons fons 2/4/2017 01:37
@ tafit:

>> "Alone the fact that i can be reproduced makes a manipulation highly unlikely."

But the pairings HAVE NOT been reproduced (except allegedly by one person). That is my whole point.

>> "If you think it was not fair why don't you redo it?"

1) I have no experience with this.
2) There should be plenty of people who DO have experience with this and who do Swiss pairings on a regular basis.

Btw: why don't YOU try to redo the pairings? ;)
TheJackpot TheJackpot 2/4/2017 01:34
fons: feel free to do it. I think the procedure is described.

And yes, I've read a few people doing it on news sites. And I know of one very knowledgeable person who verified it, but is not interested in acknowledging that outside the specific group.

And yes, I appreciate your concern about wanting more independant checking. I second that motion :)

To give you an example of how to work (which is not what I initialy did, but I've done it to give this work flow):
look for javapairing, it's on sourceforge, and it's fide endorsed.
Download it, unpack the zip, look for javapairing.jar in the build or dist directory

Put that somewhere. From the chessresults machine, you can download swissmanager and the tournament data file. You can produce the FIDE rating report from that. Name it something like gib.trf

Now run the automated validation:

java -ea -jar javapairing.jar gib.trf

It will give you an edited list of changes (to avoid it being too long). Feel free to do it for yourself, but to spoil the fun and let you know what to expect:

JavaPairing checker rev. 2.9 september 2015.
..\gib.trf. round: 10 OK
..\gib.trf. round: 9
original: 71-124 calculated: 71-118
original: 73-118 calculated: 73-124
..\gib.trf. round: 8 OK
..\gib.trf. round: 7 OK
..\gib.trf. round: 6 OK
..\gib.trf. round: 5
original: 216-144 calculated: 202-144
original: 221-153 calculated: 216-153
[...partlyremoved...]
original: 226-245 calculated: 248-227
original: 248-228 calculated: 251-228
..\gib.trf. round: 4 OK
..\gib.trf. round: 3 OK
..\gib.trf. round: 2 OK
..\gib.trf. round: 1
original: 1-132 calculated: 1-127
original: 3-130 calculated: 3-129
original: 126-4 calculated: 130-4
[....longlistremoved...]
original: 183-249 calculated: 124-253
original: 251-186 calculated: 254-125
original: 235-254 calculated: 126-255
tafit tafit 2/4/2017 12:52
@ fons
I see it the other way around: the pairings are correct until it is proven the contrary, thats how justice usually works.
Alone the fact that i can be reproduced makes a manipulation highly unlikely.

If you think it was not fair why don't you redo it? Shouldn't be rocket science, pretty sure that Hou's team will check it, maybe they already did.
fons fons 2/4/2017 12:28
@ TheJackpot: "Well, people did just that: redo the pairing"

Actually NO, people did NOT do that. So far in this comment section there has only been one person who claims he has redone de pairings with the pairing program: you.

Elsewhere, in the comment section at chess.com there is also one person who claims he has redone the pairings: cluepon. Strangely he also repeatedly states multiple people have checked the pairings, but also in that case there is only one: himself.

In the article there it is stated by Mike Klein: "Several people have attested that they've downloaded the Swiss-Manager pairing program and affirmed the pairings were correct for the final rounds of the tournament." But they give no sources and presumably are referring to their comment section. But in their comment section there is only one person. So this appears to be a lie as well. They go on to say "Chess.com has not independently verified this." (Keep in mind that chess.com staff did the livestream for Tradewise Gibraltar.)

On chess24 Colin McGourty wrote a highly negative report, calling it a "barely comprehensible protest" and "unfair accusation levelled at the organisers". Hard to understand all the negativity, maybe because Colin McGourty is from the UK and Tradewise Gibraltar is a UK tournament? Also chess24 has it's (legal) headquarters in Gibraltar, so maybe there are other connections as well.

They say that the pairings "can be replicated to show no manual interference", but again they give no sources for this information and in their comment section there is nobody. I am therefore left to assume they are referring to the tournament organizer, who obviously is not an objective source, is likely implicated if not the ultimate responsible.

Is there really nobody else around with experience using a Swiss pairings program who can check the pairings?

The pairings have NOT been proven to be correct if more people do not step up to check this. It should be easy because it is fully automated. There must be many people who do Swiss pairings on a regular basis.
tafit tafit 2/3/2017 10:08
It's very simple, the pairings are proven to be correct an Hou just acted unprofessionally and childishly probably because of her bad results.
Ridiculous.
strategos78 strategos78 2/3/2017 09:02
She wanted to make the buzz, she succeeded her blow ... And we all who comment on this act of adolescent ...

Many players would be dear to participate in such a tournament, she has this chance but she should rather appear in a TV reality game
amarpan amarpan 2/3/2017 08:50
the "protest" would have been more fitting if it was done against a female opponent. Now this seems to have been a decision that was rash and perhaps a direct result for her loss to Ju Wenjun. BTW how long did the previous record of Anand last. I would imagine this was a genuine loss rather than a protest as Anand would not indulge in such actions.
NimzoCapa NimzoCapa 2/3/2017 08:01
I'd like to thank TheJackPot for taking the time to demonstrate that the pairings are reproducible and that everything was strictly according to the books on Hou Yifan's pairings. That settles the argument.

That being said, the fact that Hou is provably incorrect in her accusation does not necessarily condemn her. I have no doubt that her protest was made in good faith, and it is easy to understand why she would feel confident that she and other women were not being treated fairly. Everybody who has been following her can attest that she has shown high class throughout her entire career. Nobody should think badly of her for one mistake.
Burstow Burstow 2/3/2017 07:57
I cannot find anything from the organiser regarding the pairing system. Surely that's a central issue. Was gender given weight in pairing? Was that announced in advance? There could be a rationale for it, since Women's prizes were being offered. One could argue they were using the pairing system to compensate for not having a separate women's event. But where's a statement about that. "Hou Yifan was naughty, but we forgive her," is a tad weak.
TheJackpot TheJackpot 2/3/2017 07:23
shutrunja:

Exactly what are the arbiters and the organizer to blame for?
Or do you just blindly yell something without wondering what the real situation is?
shutrunja shutrunja 2/3/2017 07:20
Shame on the arbiters and organizers of this tournament! Shame on all the male chauvinists who booing YiFan! There is nothing unprofessional about what she did. She gave her opponent a game and did not forfeit by no show!You go Hou YiFan! We stand behind you! #WeAreWithHouYiFan
TheJackpot TheJackpot 2/3/2017 06:45
Zookid: true. I don't think I agree with most of the mathematical theories either :)

Some assume that every opponent is equally likely to meet. That is assuming that every result in a game is equally likely. I tend to disagree.

Furthermore some groups are more likely to meet each other, I think, and I've seen others suggest the same.

Assuming a certain class of rated players will be in the same relative score (e.g. the middle 40 players will be much more likely to be at 50% after every 2 rounds). Given that the splitting point of "upper half" and "lower half" (or in Swiss pairing rules lingo: S1 and S2) will be near the same rating, you might possibly be more likely to meet each other.

The same will probably hold for the group of female players fighting for the women prizes. So between some limits (2400-2600 perhaps?) you will see a higher than average amount of female players. Given the fact that ratings coincide with chess strength, you will see this group sticking together in the rankings, with a higher risk of meeting each other.

I would say this is not specific for a female player. Every player in the 2400-2600 group would then be more likely to meet female players than e.g. a 1800 player.

I don't see an easy way of downloading the list of participating women. If someone has that, you can check this hypothesis
Racochejl Racochejl 2/3/2017 06:29
Stupid. Anton David played 10 times against man. Why 10x M-M pairings? No one W-M. Weird? Is he going to protest? Totally agreed with abdekker :-)
wittgenstein wittgenstein 2/3/2017 06:23
I thougt she was intelligent but now I see that she behaved childshilly. What a pity. Ridiculous.
zookid zookid 2/3/2017 05:27
Jackpot, thank you for the input and insight as to normal operations. Now assuming everything is on the up and up, and your analysis is correct, that makes the mathematical side very fascinating, regardless of the normal swiss calculations. Thanks.
portici portici 2/3/2017 05:13
I hope Ju Wenjun becomes the new women's champion.
TheJackpot TheJackpot 2/3/2017 05:10
Zookid: no, changing pairings in Swiss tournaments is not normal business, especially when (big) money prizes or title norms are involved. The Israel/Iran situation is up for discussion. I think the situation is too complex for me to have an opinion on that.

Correcting results that were administrated wrong, that's regular business. A mess in the first 1, 2 or 3 rounds with late entries, rating corrections (or even name mixups) can be expected. For the rest for decent tournaments you will not see pairing changes on a regular basis.

It's not done The only way to keep a pairing free from hard discussions is by specifying the pairing and following that specification. That's what FIDE does, that's what organizers do.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 2/3/2017 04:29
@kevin bonham __" But if you do the same experiment thousands of times with different coins then sooner or later a coin that is actually far"

You beg the question. ..by assuming you a fair coin exists.

But, let us assume a fair coin exists, just for argument sake, as you have done. If you have to go through many coins to find the one that is fair, well you then have to consider what is the probability the coin you have is fair.

The probability questions are interesting, but irrelevant, once you actually have the pairing program that was used to make the pairing. The Jackpot made the relevant observations in his earlier post.
zookid zookid 2/3/2017 04:19
Jackpot: I'm not saying the organizers suck and she is right. In a Swiss tourney this large it may be normal to "adjust" some of the pairings round to round for various reasons. Are the players aware of this, and is it standard practice up front to state that some of the pairings may be adjusted? I'm just asking.

I'm looking at it purely from the probability stand point, human intervention versus machine. reading between the rounds as to what may have happened. Drawing women 7 out of 10 rounds is a side note but an interesting one. If anything, as some here have noted, it should have been an advantage. However, in rounds 3 thru 6 she could only manage 1 win, drawing Pia Cramling with white.

It's almost like someone was helping her in her quest to win, and yet she complains. Players at this level have huge egos, that often get in the way. Others here have also noted the meltdown after round 8. In my opinion,
this pairing may have been set on purpose (and I don't blame anyone), with Wenjun Ju being the only female out of 10 players playing black with 5 pts, and only 1 pt out of first place, this was Hou's chance to shine, but didn't.
Had she won this game we probably would have never had this discussion.