After losing game 6 against Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan, Nigel Short created a public scandal and insisted that the game should not be rated to save a few rating points.

Ultimate Shameful Unsportsmanlike Conduct In Chess (part II)

More facts from the past:

On April 25, 2016, Nigel Short tweeted about his 6-game match against GM Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson in Reykjavik, Iceland. The match took place on May 21-22, 2016.

Nigel drew the 1st game, lost the 2nd game, then won 3 straight. The score after 5 games was 3.5 – 1.5, identical to the match against Hou Yifan. It means that he won the match after 5 games.


But there was no protest. There was no boycott. There was no complaint. He sat down and played game 6, won, and game 6 was rated by FIDE as I showed above. There was no demand for the game not to be rated.

So what is the difference? The different is he lost to Hou Yifan and defeated Gretarsson. This is CLEARLY a double standard.


In an interview with, Hou Yifan said:

“I was surprised, because I didn’t get any information before the game. Even after [Nigel] told me, the arbiter didn’t say anything.

“I didn’t face this situation before; either the match will not continue, or if we play a standard game, normally it’s rated because it’s a normal time control. Everything is normal, so I didn’t expect such an issue.”

Statement by Tournament Director GM Loek Van Wely on

The Hoogeveen chess tournament would like to clarify a few things regarding the 6th match game between Nigel Short and Yifan Hou.

On the eve of game 6, it was brought to my attention the existence of rule 6.5 and Nigel insisted that this rule would be enforced.

“Rules are rules” is a common saying,  however we don’t agree. Enforcing this rule would mean violating the spirit of the game, something which is much more important than blindly following the rules.

First of all , it had always been the idea to have 6 rated games, because rated these days means a guarantee to have a serious game.

Secondly, it would be wrong to think the match is over when the winner is known. This match is an exhibition match, and like a training match, will last the full amount of games.

Thirdly, conditions in a match are supposed to be equal, or at least as close as it could be. Enforcing this rule would seriously harm Yifan’s interests.

And last but not least, I would like to point out that Nigel is very keen in using rules when they are favoring him, but when they are stupid, bad and especially working against him, he believes common sense should prevail. A while ago, when his first round opponent didn’t show up in the open of Isle of Man, he got re-paired. Obviously the organizers wanted to see him play for his money, but unfortunately this was against the rules, Nigel held his ground and left (with his fee). On a more recent occasion, in the Baku chess olympiad, Nigel was subject of a search, was not too pleased with.

It, did not consent, should have been forfeited if rules were rules, but instead made a scandal out of it (and got away with it).

On another note, we were surprised to see a player with such a reputation, desperately trying to avoid playing a rated game with black against Yifan Hou, in a match which he was dominating, just trying to save a few elo points?

In the future I would like  to suggest Nigel to try harder in his last round games, just in case, or only to play unrated events if this is too hard for him to handle.

We (the arbiters and I) think the last game should be rated to do just.

Loek van Wely, tournament director Hoogeveen

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