Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Protest

Losing a game because of a mistake or a blunder is painful. Nevertheless, in the chess history, some games ended in a defeat because one player voluntary decided to lose.

One of those cases happened in the open Gibraltar Masters 2017 where Chinese GM Hou Yifan, four times Women’s World Champion, lost in only 5 moves!!!

The incident occurred in the final round. Hou Yifan played White against Indian GM Lalith Babu. Hou arrived 25 minutes later and started to play quickly.

The reason for that ridiculous game was Hou Yifan’s protest against what she considered unfair pairings throughout the tournament, where she had to play against seven women players. Hou suspected that something went wrong with the pairings. However, tests conducted after the tournament showed that pairings were absolutely correct.

Hou Yifan is a chess prodigy. With 12, she was the youngest player ever to participate in the Women’s Chess Championship (Yekaterinburg, 2006). She is a very competitive chess player and the third woman ever rated among the world’s top 100 players after Maia Chiburdanidze and Judit Polgar.

Taking part in Gibraltar, she expected to face strong male players. But playing against seven women in nine rounds was disappointing and didn’t fulfil her expectations. She was upset and decided on this unconventional form of protest.

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