Secret Championship in Ukraine

by André Schulz
12/4/2015 – In March 2016 Women's World Champion Mariya Muzychuk will defend her title against Hou Yifan from China. Currently Muzychuk plays in the Ukranian Championship in Lviv, but the organisers do not want to give Hou Yifan any information about Muzychuk's play and therefore do not publish or relay the games. Many people think this serious secrecy is a joke.

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Lviv

The Ukrainian Chess Federation revitalized an old tradition that goes back to Mikhail Botvinnik. Before his World Championship matches the notoriously mistrustful "Patriarch of Soviet Chess" liked to play training matches against strong players but the games played in these matches were, of course, kept secret.

In March 2016 the current Women's World Champion Mariya Muzychuk will defend her title against Hou Yifan in Lviv in Ukraine. Because Muzychuk takes part in the Ukranian Championship (not in the Women's championship but in the open Championship) the Ukrainian Federation decided to keep the games of this championship hidden from the public.

Therefore the games are neither transmitted on the internet, nor published on the website of the tournament or other news pages. However, the organizer failed to explain in how far the other participants of the championship are affected by Muzychuk's preparation for the World Championship match, and whether their games also have to be kept secret. Apparently, the idea is to keep the whole of Ukranian top chess inscrutable.

Group Portrait with Lady

The starting position

What did she play? It remains a mystery...

This unique decision led to quite a number of jokes on Russian and Ukranian news- and facebook pages:

"Spectators with Chinese faces are not permitted to watch the games."

"Attention, a Chinese drone with a camera was seen close to the window."

"One should also refrain from publishing photos of Muzychuk because her expression might give clues about her position."

The participants

Yuriy Kryvoruchko, Alexander Areschenko, Andrey Volokitin, Zahar Efimernko, Sergey  Fedorchuk, Yuriy Kozubov,

Valery  Neverov, Vitaly Sivuk, Alexander  Zubarev, Alexander  Kovchan, Martin Kravtsiv, Mariya Muzychuk

Standings after the first round:

Tournament page...

The site of the Federation...

Chess-results.com...



André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.

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