02 October 2019

Status of the Women's World Championship

For this post I intended to add a new page for the 2019-20 Women's Grand Prix, because the first event, held in Skolkovo (Russia), finished a few weeks ago. When I reviewed the previous post on the Women's Championship, Future of the Women's World Championship (June 2019), I found a question: 'Where is the follow-through describing the next cycle?' Since I still can't answer that question, I decided to abandon the new page for now. On top of FIDE's obsolete documentation, the recent design change of FIDE's web site has rendered many (all?) bookmarks unusable ('404 Page Not Found; The page you were looking for doesn't exist'), making any research problematic.

It's been a little more than 20 years since I started documenting the Women's World Championship. The first occurrence of the page in my archive is dated September 1999, and the first occurrence on Archive.org is dated March 2000. That first page looked like the following screen capture, with only title matches having crosstables.


As far as I could tell, that overview had never been done before and, like a jigsaw puzzle, it took some time to piece the record together from different clues. I determined the events under the columns for 'Interzonal' and 'Candidates' by starting with relevant PGN files, looking for games by Women's World Champions. Sometimes the only clue was 'IZ' or 'CT' in the PGN '[Event]' tag. When I found a game, I used the name of the other player to look for more games. Eventually I developed the overall picture. It was partly a hit-or-miss effort, and that March 2000 snapshot is missing a second Interzonal for both the 1976-78 and 1979-81 cycles.

After producing that first draft shown above, I spent the next year or so documenting the various events. It took me over a year to discover that I had overlooked the 1976 Roosendaal Interzonal. After once spending so much time guessing about historical events, I don't want to start guessing about future events. I'll wait until FIDE has published the necessary documents before I tackle the new cycle.

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