20 April 2016

Hou Yifan Recaptures a Title She Never Lost

I added the crosstable and PGN to my page on the 2015 Hou Yifan - M.Muzychuk Title Match. Should I change that title? The match, originally scheduled for 2015, was delayed until 2016, perhaps because of FIDE's all-too-typical fumbling when it comes to arranging anything.

At the beginning of the month, Chessbase.com ran a piece titled Interview with Hou Yifan by Dagobert Kohlmeyer. The Women's World Champion confirmed,

Initially, the match was supposed to take place in October 2015, but then got rescheduled to March 2016.

Later she mentioned an issue that I touched on last year in A Pseudo World Championship ('When is a World Chess Championship not a *real* World Championship?').

The current Women's World Championship system seems to be unfair. And I believe I'm not the only one who thinks like this. It would be good if the current system changed to a more reasonable format. I am sure, a "real" World Championship Match would attract much more attention.

Last month I officially made a proposal to FIDE to change the format of the Women’s World Championship. I suggested three reasonable alternatives but the answer I received seems to indicate that my proposal was not accepted. The main reason why they want to stick to the current system is the fact that it is easier to find sponsors if you call the knock-out tournament "World Championship". If you called it "World Cup" it would be extremely difficult to find sponsors.

Trivia question: When was the last time FIDE ran a women's event outside of the former Soviet Union? In fact, you don't have to go too far back. The first leg of the 2015-2016 FIDE Women's Grand Prix was held in one of the swankiest places on earth, Monte Carlo (Monaco), and the second was held in one of the most controversial, Tehran. The previous title match, 2013 Hou Yifan - Ushenina, took place in Taizhou (China).

If the sponsors are there, perhaps the problem with the 'World Cup' (aka 'World Championship') is the size of the event. Or perhaps it's its checkered history for determining a winner. If we give it a grandiose title, does everyone overlook the obvious?

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