08 February 2017

1995-1999 Women's Cycle

The top part of my page on the Women's World Championship provides a bird's eye view of the last 30 years.

World Chess Championship for Women

Despite its apparent completeness, one important piece is missing: details about the two forfeits in the 1995-1999 cycle. These occurred between two major events:-

Why aren't the forfeits explained in more detail? I started that page in 1999, while the cycle was ongoing. The first version was released in September 1999, and I had so many events to document that I never went back to the 1995-1999 cycle. It's high time I corrected that oversight. [NB: As long as I'm filling gaps, I should also complete the missing months ('--') in pages like the Xie Jun - Galliamova match.]

What does Wikipedia say? Three pages are particularly relevant.

Women's World Chess Championship 1999

1997 Candidates Tournament • The seven qualifiers from the Interzonal Tournament were joined by the loser of the last championship match, Xie Jun, as well as the two runners-up from the previous tournament, Chiburdanidze and Cramling. These ten players contested a double round-robin tournament in Groningen in December 1997, from which the top two would advance to the final to determine the challenger. Galliamova and Xie Jun finished first and second. FIDE decided that the whole final match should be played in Shenyang, China, after Chinese sponsors made the best offer for the prize fund. However, Galliamova refused to play entirely on her opponent's home turf, so Xie Jun was declared the winner by default and given the right to challenge champion Polgar.

1999 Championship Match • The championship match was at first scheduled to take place in November 1998, but champion Susan Polgar requested a postponement because she was pregnant. FIDE had been unable to find a satisfactory sponsor, so the request was granted. By the time FIDE announced the new date and venue for the title match to be played China in 1999, Polgar had given birth to her son Tom - however, she still considered that the time to recover from childbirth and prepare for the new match was insufficient. In addition, like Galliamova, she didn't want to play entirely in the opponent's home country. She also wanted a significantly larger prize fund, so she requested that the match be postponed again. This time FIDE refused and negotiations broke down. Instead FIDE ruled that Polgar had forfeited the title and arranged a new title match between the two Candidates finalists, Xie Jun and Galliamova.

Xie Jun

At the age of 20 Xie won the right to challenge for the women's world title, and in 1991 she defeated Maya Chiburdanidze of Georgia, who had held the title since 1978, by a score of 8.5 - 6.5. In 1993 she successfully defended her title against Nana Ioseliani (winning the match 8.5 - 2.5). In the summer of 1994 she was awarded the full Grandmaster title. She lost the 1996 Women's World Chess Championship to Susan Polgar of Hungary (8.5 - 4.5) but regained the title in 1999 by defeating another championship finalist, Alisa Galliamova (8.5 - 6.5), after Polgar refused to accept match conditions and forfeited her title.

Alisa Galliamova

In December 1997, she won the Candidates Tournament for the Women's World Chess Championship held in Groningen, Netherlands. She was scheduled to play a match with Xie Jun, who finished second, in August, 1998 and the winner of that match was supposed to play a match in November 1998 with Zsuzsa Polgar for the Women's World Chess Championship.

However, after the match with Xie Jun had already been scheduled, Galliamova objected because the entire match was scheduled to be played in China, the home of her rival. The reason for this was because only China had bid for the match. Galliamova wanted half of the match to be played in Kazan, Russia. However, the Russians did not have the money required. Finally, when Galliamova failed to show up to play the match, the match was declared forfeited to Xie Jun.

FIDE then scheduled a match between Xie Jun and Zsuzsa Polgar for November 1998. However, Polgar said that she could not play at that time because she was pregnant. After Polgar had given birth to her son, Tom, in March, 1999, FIDE again tried to schedule a match. This time Polgar said that she could not play the match because she was nursing.

Finally, after repeated efforts to organize a match which was supposed to have taken place in 1998, FIDE declared that Polgar had forfeited her title and that the title was vacant. FIDE decided to let Galliamova back into the cycle and held a match between Xie Jun and Galliamova for the Women's World Chess Championship 1999. This time, Galliamova was willing to play because her original demand had been met in that Russia had come up with the money to sponsor half of the match. The match was held in Kazan, Russia and Shenyang, China in August, 1999 and Xie Jun won by 8.5 - 6.5.

While that is certainly 1000% better than what I have, there is even more to the story. I'll come back to it in my next post.

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