Chess gender debate in the international press

by Frederic Friedel
4/21/2015 – The latest issue of the Dutch magazine New in Chess carried an article entitled "Vive la Différence!". In it the former World Championship challenger Nigel Short provocatively claims that there are genetic reasons why men are more successful in chess than women. This two-page article went viral, was picked up by the international news services and generated a world-wide media storm.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

Vive la Différence!

The original article by Nigel Short appeared in vol. 2/2015 of New in Chess Magazine that appeared last week. It starts with a quote by Jan Hein Donner: "The difference between the sexes is remarkable in chess, but not any more so, to my mind, than any other field of cultural activity. Women cannot play chess, but they cannot paint either, or write, or philosophise. In fact, women have never thought or made anything worth considering."

Nigel's piece is more tempered. He writes: "Indeed, could it be that the provocative, outrageously-sexist, bitingly-savage wit, Jan Hein Donner, had a point? The towering Dutch Grandmaster, not for the only time in his literary life, might have overstated his case. Indeed, I suspect his unbending life-long convictions and prejudices – such as undue reverence for the two bishops – retarded his development somewhat." The article is two pages long.

More on the New In Chess on their web site.

Stories in the international press

Addendum: The story broke on Monday. Actually (as we have subsequently learned) it was in The Telegraph and written by Leon Watson, who cleared up the chronology for us: Leon knows Amanda Ross who was very vociferous about Nigel Short's comment. So he wrote a story on Sunday, which appeared on page three on Monday, and then went online. Everyone else copied it, as you would expect – first the Daily Mail managed to get it in their last edition, then the Independent put it online, then everyone else in the UK followed. After that it went round the world. In summary: the initial exclusive story was this one, which we unfortunately quoted last in our collection below.

In The Guardian Stephen Moss writes:

Nigel Short, one of the UK’s greatest chess players, has incurred the wrath of the female chess community after claiming men are “hardwired” to be better at the game than women. Short, who won his first grandmaster title when he was 19, told New In Chess magazine that we should “gracefully accept it as a fact” that men possess different skills to women that make them better able to play chess at a high level. Asked about his thoughts on the lack of women competing in chess, Short, 49, said: “Why should they function in the same way? I don’t have the slightest problem in acknowledging that my wife possesses a much higher degree of emotional intelligence than I do.

Short also elaborated on his comments on Sky News, reiterating his belief that “it’s quite easy to demonstrate there is a fairly substantial gap between men and women. Women have all sorts of skills where they are superior to men” he said, adding that the fact Polgar had once beaten him was irrelevant to his general point. “The fact that I have one bad score against an individual doesn’t prove anything” he said. “I’m talking about averages here … statistically women don’t [compete] in the same numbers. The average gap is pretty large and that is down to sex differences … Those differences exist.” Here's video of the interview:

Short acknowledged the problem of sexism, but insisted his comments were not making it any worse. He told Sky News: “I think probably sexism is an issue in chess and I wouldn’t try and escape from that.”

British chess grandmaster Nigel Short has suggested that girls don't have the brains to play chess. He thinks that men and women should just accept they are “hard-wired very differently”. He told New in Chess magazine: "One is not better than the other, we just have different skills. It would be wonderful to see more girls playing chess, and at a higher level, but rather than fretting about inequality, perhaps we should just gracefully accept it as a fact.” His comments echo those of his great rival Garry Kasparov that “women, by their nature, are not exceptional chess players: they are not great fighters”.

But the problem isn’t that women are worse at chess than men – it’s that there are far, far fewer women chess players. IM Lorin D’Costa, 29, told The Telegraph that this is because girls tend to stop playing chess around the age of 12, while boys carry on. "Girls don’t continue playing because they drop out too early. They think it’s not worth all the hassle. A lot of girls think, 'why should I do this when I can hang out with my friends?'” But D’Costa is helping to change this attitude, at least in one London girls’ school. He is employed by North London Collegiate School to give compulsory chess lessons to the primary school pupils, aged six to eight. On top of that, he runs an after school chess club for both the primary and secondary school girls.

Lorin D'Costa has recorded a number of Fritztrainer available in the ChessBase Shop

Unsurprisingly, Short's words have been called sexist. He's succeeded in angering every woman in the chess world, including Judit Polgar - the world's best female player for 26 years and the only woman to qualify for a World Chess Championship tournament. She rebutted Short's comments, saying: "I believe that as I have proved it with my carreer that with the right amount of work, dedication, talent and love for the game it is possible to compete the best male players in the world of chess even though many of my colleagues were sceptical about my potentials. Men and women are different but there are different ways of thinking and fighting still achieving the same results." If her words don't prove Short wrong? The fact that she's beaten him eight games to three, with five draws, should.

The second follow-up article in The Telegraph says that Nigel Short's comments provoked an angry reaction from female players. Amanda Ross, who runs the Casual Chess cafe in London, said it was “incredibly damaging when someone so respected basically endorses sexism”. She added: “Judit Polgar, the former women’s world champion, beat Nigel Short eight classical games to three in total with five draws. She must have brought her man brain. Let’s just hope Nigel didn’t crash his car on those days, trying to park it. At least this resolves the age-old debate as to whether there’s a direct link between chess-playing ability and intelligence. Clearly not.”

In this TIME story Judit Polgar says: “I grew up in what was a male dominated sport, but my parents raised me and my sisters [to believe] that women are able to reach the same result as our male competitors if they get the right and the same possibilities.”

Europe's biggest and most influential news magazine carried the story on their online page (in German)

Not enough? Here are some more articles in the international press:

As Nigel wrote on his Facebook page:

We too are in awe of this chess news story of the year. We take this opportunity to remind you that Nigel has recorded two excellent DVDs on his chess career.

Nigel Short:
Greatest Hits Vol. 1 + 2

Languages: English
Delivery: Download, Post
Level: Any
Price per volumn: €32.90 or €27.65 without VAT (for customers outside the EU) $29.57 (without VAT)

Born in1965, is an English grandmaster who, at the early age of ten, defeated Viktor Korchnoi in a simultaneous. Celebrated by the British media as a "chess prodigy", Short participated in the British Championship for the first time at the age of twelve.

In the Youth WCh in Dortmund in 1980 Nigel came in second behind Garry Kasparov. Thirteen years later the pair would sit on opposite sides of the board for a real WCh match. Previously, Short had eliminated from the FIDE candidates cycle of 1991/92 Jonathan Speelman, Boris Gelfand and surprisingly Anatoly Karpov. In the candidates final Short also overcame Jan Timman and thus qualified for a WCh final against World Champion Kasparov. However, both of them refused to play under the aegis of the world chess federation FIDE and founded a so-called professional association, the Professional Chess Association (PCA). Finally Short was defeated by Kasparov in the PCA World Championship in London 1993 by 7½:12½. The result was surprisingly one-sided. Because Short had already indicated in his younger years what an excellent match player he was with a demoralising 7:1 victory over the naturalised American Lev Alburt. He also came in first in the very strong four-man tournament in Amsterdam in 1988, 1992 and 1993. A selection of his other tournament victories reads as follows: Wijk aan Zee 1986 and 1987 (equal on points with Viktor Korchnoi), Reykjavik 1987, Groningen 1996, Budapest 2003. Short has represented England in 14 chess Olympiads. He has two children and lives with his family in Greece.

Order Nigel Short's Greatest Hits DVDs in the ChessBase Shop



Editor-in-Chief of the ChessBase News Page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register

Sands Sands 6/27/2015 07:31
I can't believe those that deny his claim is based on pure logic, particularly GM like Judith should have known what he is talking about. Based on his comment, I am 100% confident that he is talking about "Elo ratings Ceiling / Brick Wall" above everyone's head. As a social group, every race, gender has a Brick Wall over which they CANNOT cross. For Women in Chess as a gender group, they hit the Elo rating's Brick wall sooner than Men. Same goes for Black Africans, or Hispanic Latinos in Americas etc. they have Men's Brick Wall lower than Northern Europeans. At the same time, even all GM in FIDE ratings have a Max Elo over which they CANNOT cross. For example: GM Nakamura cannot cross Elo of 2900 -or probably will NEVER surpass Carlsen Magnus in his LIFETIME. Black African Maurice Ashley Elo rating was 2440, max 2540. If we were to take entire African Blooded Men and Women in both Africa, Europe and Americas and coach them, still they will hit ceiling lower than 2540. Same goes for women vs men. It is about inferiority / superiority exclusively within the Chess world.
Philip Feeley Philip Feeley 4/24/2015 02:37
You should cite this excellent article on the topic as well:

http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.pt/2015/04/nigel-shorts-world-of-science.html
DPLeo DPLeo 4/23/2015 06:28
Except he addressed it by saying "... Polgar had once beaten him ..." when in fact the record in the link I posted shows she beat him more than once.

Selective memory?
Ryan Jayne Ryan Jayne 4/23/2015 03:48
I would say that "foot in mouth" applies better to people who smugly make an argument before realizing the argument was directly addressed by the person being attacked.
DPLeo DPLeo 4/22/2015 06:51
Maybe Nigel hasn't seen this...
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chess.pl?yearcomp=exactly&year=&playercomp=either&pid=12181&player=&pid2=12190&player2=&movescomp=exactly&moves=&opening=&eco=&result=

#FootInMouth
jefferson jefferson 4/22/2015 04:29
Beachbum, you have completely misframed the argument. You seem to think that females are incapable of brilliance. You are entitled to your opinion, though what you personally scored an IQ test doesn't matter, I'm just trying to bring facts into that debate. I ask again, if women are innately worse at chess due to being less intelligent or "talented", and if that is the main reason, then why are they still so horribly underrepresented among the top 100 compared to what their IQ distributions would predict? Few grandmasters are probably these high-IQ supergenius types, though we don't really know, but Kasparov's score suggests one not need be Stephen Hawking or Einstein.

In 2012, 20% of PhD's in Physics were women, and the number is rising, suggesting not as much hard neural differences, as much as other things. http://www.aip.org/statistics/data-graphics/percent-physics-phds-earned-women-1983-through-2012. The numbers are similar for Math and Computer Science, with about 25% of PhD's awarded being to women. Even if there are no cultural or social influences mitigating the number of women in top level chess, we might still expect 20-25% of women to be in the top 100, even if Nigel is correct.

One day we will figure it out! But the "we" will not be any armchair researchers at chessbase.com, but more likely research psychologists who take up the question.
juanviches juanviches 4/22/2015 10:58
It's true that men are better than women at chess. But that's not sexism, it's a fact. Why? There are many reasons: Chess is aggressive and violent, believe it or not, so in the end you have to be a fighter. Chess has been restrained to men for centuries and that's a good advantage for them. Women seem to be interested in other things, I have a chess class and just 1 girl out of 9 children.
Semyorka Semyorka 4/22/2015 10:53
Basketball players are tall, sumo wrestlers are huge, chess players are men. So what? The game of chess is designed by men and played by men. No doubt there are games in which women are better then men.
sco-ish sco-ish 4/22/2015 09:56
I agree with Nigel on the fact of aggression, men I believe are much more inherently aggressive and competitive than women generally speaking. This I believe fuels them much more to play chess since they get great satisfaction from beating other players, attaining dominance over them. This allows them to release their aggressive nature in a non-violent fashion, so that would explain why so few women play chess, it's a fact really no doubt about it, yes generally they are worse because they are different, but the fact is the reason why the women who do play chess professionally are significantly worse on average than the men who play chess professionally is because there is so much less of them playing, the talent pool is heavily narrowed, there are tons of men who are weaker than say the female top 20 in chess, we just don't hear about them because they are overshadowed by other far stronger men which is a result of a massive male talent pool for chess in comparison to the tiny female talent pool. They are not worse, they are different, but they are exceptions to every rule of course, this is an empirical fact, just look at any open tournament registration list. So I agree with Nigel wholeheartedly on this fact, it seems the media has skewed his opinion drastically from the original NIC article, that we men and women just have different skills.
digupagal digupagal 4/22/2015 05:24
I don't know what the fuss is all about. Look at the statistics as of date. Ofcourse history need not repeat in future always. ;-)

Judith was just an outlier, no doubt an absolutely outstanding one. The sd theory propounded below seem an absolutely brilliant one.

If girls take short's comments as a challenge and change the future of chess, I bet short would be the happiest one. This shoulder motivate girls out there to beat men.
BeachBum2 BeachBum2 4/22/2015 05:09
We are not talking about "whole population averages". I think almost every healthy, non stupid, motivated kid (boy or girl) can score A on all subjects in regular school, get some MS (or some "standard PhD") degree from some university and so on. This is like getting ~2100 (or 2200? not sure!) in chess. It is a matter of just "seriously playing chess", studying with a good coach and so on.

We are talking about top performers (most prominent scientists, 2600+ chess players etc). And here females (form some reasons) do not perform... So all those reports about average student grades, SAT tests (btw - I don't understand how people would not just score 100% on American math related tests... they are so simple!), some "lab workers with $80K salary" (there was some report on gender, but they did it comparison among some lab workers, where average salary is only $80K... Did they even think that outstanding people would even apply for only $80K job!?).

IQ is a very questionable thing... One year in university, I got sick and ended up in a hospital for a week. I had nothing else to do and got a book with IQ tests practice. At the end my IQ was off the charts :) as they did not expect somebody to solve all tasks within required 30 min... but I don't think it made me any smarter...

Similar discussions go on in software engineering - "why we don't have enough women". Well - there are some, but in my 20+ years in industry, I have seen several outstanding male software architects/tech directors. But alas not a single female in this category. I worked with very capable females engineers, who were excellent colleagues and nice people - but it is the same issue... they were like solid "2200" ELO, while being outstanding architect requires maybe 2500...

One day we will figure it out!
jefferson jefferson 4/22/2015 04:09
Please see http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-67-2-130.pdf and the section on "Causes of Sex Differences in Intelligence" for a basic summary of the research. There's little evidence for massive genetic differences between Men and Women concerning mathematic or spatial ability.

"Haier and colleagues (2005) concluded,
“Men and women apparently achieve similar IQ
results with different brain regions, suggesting that there is
no singular underlying neuroanatomical structure to general
intelligence and that different types of brain designs
may manifest equivalent intellectual performance” (p.
320)."

Also see http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/04/girls-grades.aspx

The "less women geniuses" argument may play some role, difficult to test for so it's not appropriate to propagate it. We can test for social/cultural theories, and these have some validity. Also, 2 Women in the top 100 is still far below what would be expected from IQ distributions at 130 score, where the men are roughly 3:1 outnumbering women. Kasparov had an IQ measured at ~130, so no super-geniuses required to become a World Champion. But remember this effect of more males in the high IQ tail might not be genetic either, but more culturally/socially influenced:

"The excess of males among the highest
scorers received considerable media attention three decades
ago when researchers found a 12:1 ratio of boys to girls
scoring above 700 on the mathematics portion of the SAT
for samples of highly gifted adolescents (Benbow & Stanley,
1983). However, more recent assessments now place
the ratio of boys to girls somewhere between 4:1 and 3:1,
a very significant reduction that can best be explained by
increases in the number and level of mathematics courses
that girls and women take (Wai, Cacchio, Putallaz, &
Makel, 2010)."

Nigel is kind of a fool sometimes. This type of pseudo-scientific rambling is not the way to promote chess.
BeachBum2 BeachBum2 4/21/2015 09:53
I was participating (and later helping to conduct) math/physics olympiads among high school kids (in one of the USSR cities), total area population of ~1 million people. There were basically no girls in "top 10", even though there were a lot of girls in math classes (close to 50/50 ratio).

In the best USSR physics/math/comp sci university, similar things happened (no girls among really top students). Of cause there were some girls getting PhDs - but more of "regular PhDs", not the once with ground breaking proofs and discoveries.

While difference in physical activities are indeed due to genetics and well researched, I don't think we have enough evidence to claim this is genetics when it comes to "thinking"... But I think there is enough evidence to remove "giving birth" etc arguments (not applicable at high school/most people in physics universities).

I personally think it is either genetics in "the way females think", or genetics in "life stimuli" (to achieve something, you normally need to be very aggressive, "self assured" in the subject area) - mentality mostly associated with males.

Anyway, I actually enjoy watching female chess tournaments more... The moves of 2200 ELO are much easier for me to understand compared to 2700 :) and thee games can go one way, then another way, there is more "drama", blunders and so on. Watching another "Carlsen - slowly kills somebody" might be bit like watching a computer play... boring!
hpaul hpaul 4/21/2015 09:40
What's the point of this discussion? Who's best, left-handers or right-handers? Blond hair, brown hair, black hair? Straights or gays? Men or women? These questions are silly and useless. Our game has objective results, just like a foot race or a boxing match. We don't need to discuss who's best. We play, and whoever wins is best. Chess is an individual game - we don't compete by groups. It's counterproductive to divide players in groups and argue about their merit as groups. Nigel was clumsy in doing that, and it doesn't contribute to anything.
As an aside - and as a biologist - let me say that those who argue that there are no differences in general between the sexes are just silly. Clearly males and females have differences, and it's wishful thinking to say that it isn't so. We're animals, related to other animals. In other higher animals we see very clear distinctions between the sexes - not just physically but in behavior and built-in proclivities and instincts. Does a bull behave like a cow, or a rooster like a hen, or a male chimp like a female? Absolutely not. For the first million years or so of the human species, these differences were also recognized in our kind. It's only in the last few decades that this has been questioned, and only for socio-political reasons. But the biological differences are still there.
But this really has nothing to do with chess. In my view, we should all play together - get rid of sex-restricted titles, tournaments and championships, which only serve to group us and separate us needlessly. I suspect it's the recent influence of the East in FIDE (countries where women's equality has not made much progress) that has emphasized women's separatism in our game. Let's drop the distinctions and return to all being just chess players, competing together. Gens Una Sumus.
Mel Griffin Mel Griffin 4/21/2015 09:03
This is not the first time Short's mouth has got him into hot water. In print commenting on sleeping with Tony Miles' girlfriend and the infamous quote about Kasparov being a "hairy ape". Short may be a world class chess player but he is in need of class and tact. This new comment is his belief and nothing more. All one has to do is view the the documentary 'My Brilliant Brain' featuring Susan Polgar to have science prove Short wrong.
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 4/21/2015 09:02
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Nigel is from Pluto.
Gregory Bradley Gregory Bradley 4/21/2015 08:47
Wow, Nigel Judith Polgar was the first woman to stay in the worlds elite players and she only played men. One of the men she whipped was Nigel Short - and she did it more than once!!

She owned you Nigel

All the best
Cajunmaster Cajunmaster 4/21/2015 08:18
Women are not in chess as much as men, a sure sign they are smarter!
J Nayer J Nayer 4/21/2015 07:58
The problem with Short and with Kasparov is the same as the problem with Bono and actors and entertainers of all sorts. They know nothing. Short is not an psychologist. He is not an evolutionary biologist. Kasparov knows nothing about macroeconomics or security studies. But they talk. And since they are famous, people listen. But basically, they know nothing. Of course, everybody is entitled to his opinions, but this only shows how stupid Short is, how misinformed, how biased and how lazy. It certainly cannot be too difficult for the English grandmaster to go to web and read up some peer reviewed articles in this field. But he's not going to do that. He's going to insult some people. Nothing ever changes.
PaulPena PaulPena 4/21/2015 07:30
I don't like it when political correctness trumps common sense. When I was in H.S. (true story) I had a biology teacher who was female who INSISTED that there is absolutely no proof that men are physically stronger than women. I said "have you seen a bodybuilding magazine lately? Because the bigger ones, those are usually the males". She fired back "THAT HAS NEVER BEEN PROVEN in any serious study". At first I thought she was joking but she wasn't! This woman had a PHD in biology.
Badir Badir 4/21/2015 07:25
Thankfully we have as many female as male chess players so we can make retarded statements about who is better at chess ;)

How can anyone be this dumb ? Next up men are better at car racing than women we know this because there are more top racers among men..

We got what ten times more male than female player (probably a lot more than that a hundred times more ?) and a culture and history that is based towards men being encouraged to play chess and not women.
KevinC KevinC 4/21/2015 07:21
Whether Short's conclusion is correct, or even his assertion that women have smaller brains, this fact is undeniable: There have only been two women EVER, who have broken the top 100 players, one of which, Judit Polgar, made it to number 8 for a very short period of time. There have only been 33 female Grandmasters in history to date, while there are currently 1413 male Grandmasters in the world right now.

No woman has ever been remotely close to winning the open (men's) world championship, and in fact, only one woman, Susan Polgar, ever qualified to play in it. That was only because it was during a period of knockout championships, so there were 128 initial competitors, which is far beyond the typical number of less than a dozen. She withdrew beforehand, so never actually played in it.

The most recent women's world championship was comprised of woman rated between 2000 and 2500. Sorry, but even the new women's world champion, Mariya Muzychuk, would be laughed out of the men's championship at her 2546 rating.

For whatever reason, as of right now, women just are not that great at chess. Becoming a GM makes you VERY good at chess, but it does not make you great in the overall scheme of the best in the game.

Also, in the linked article, they mention Sabrina Chevannes' WIM title like it is prestigious. In the world of chess, most good players consider that title a joke. WGM is actually only equivalent to FIDE Master, which is 100 points below International Master, and 200 points below Grandmaster, let alone that WGM is 568 points below Magnus Carlsen's current rating.

Pointing out that Judit Polgar beat Short more than he beat her is an exception. First, Judit is the ONLY female player to ever get to the top 10, and Short is 11 years older, and was on his way down while she was reaching her peak. If you want to use that as evidence, then what does it say that Kasparov beat Judit like a drum? She only beat him once in a rapid game.

What is the excuse for the other two Polgars? Shouldn't they also be top 10 or top 20 with all the training they had? What is their excuse?

It is not sexist if it is fact that men, at least for now, play A LOT better.
Rational Rational 4/21/2015 07:05
It is bizarre that Nigel Short should be so heavily criticised by those trying to prove their politically correct credentials. His opinion even if it is wrong is a perfectly plausible one looking at the evidence. There can be little doubt females are less interested in chess than males, which may well be a good thing for them. Over serious chess play is a bit of a dead end for many males.
Just look at the far lower standard of Female Olympiad chess teams to the open teams despite the huge amount of coaching and tournament opportunities available to any female reaching the strength of a good club player.
The Polgar sisters are wonderful examples of human, especially female, potential certainly.
But still Judit Polgar and You Hifan are the only female players ever in the world top 100 to my knowledge.
sxb103 sxb103 4/21/2015 07:03
Women have an IQ distribution different from men. The mean is about the same but the standard deviation is much larger for men than women. This means there are more dumb men than dumb women. On the other side of the bell curve, there are more smart men and definitely more exceptional men
In the hard sciences , Physics and Math, You can see there are many many more men Nobel Prize winners (Physics) and Field Medal ( math) winners than women. Chess is no different. The top ten players are exceptional and are much more likely to be men. Of course there can be some women up there ( Judith Polgar), Marie Curie (Physics),, Emmy Noether ( math) , but their number is much smaller , and that's exactly what we see in practice. You can blame culture, sexism, etc.. It's not politically correct, People don't like this fact but it's simply biology
Niima Niima 4/21/2015 06:49
I think some people are attacking Short without having read his column in full. Right or wrong, he raises interesting points worthy of debate. I do not believe his words make him a sexist. He had an opinion and spoke it, and there is evidence supporting his claim. Is the evidence conclusive? I do not know, but why not do more research and get to the bottom of the matter instead of getting insulted? I support Short and hope he continues to write thought-provoking articles.
Tom Zap Tom Zap 4/21/2015 06:32
There is no doubt that there are physical differences between women's and men's brains. However, all the evidence indicates that women achieve the same results using slightly different 'equipment' as is evidenced by the equal performance of women in maths. Women's performance in chess is very good given the small numbers of women that have played. Inevitably, and unfortunately, women are discouraged from playing by the sexism that Nigel Short has shown. Who can blame women for wanting to avoid such an environment. Short has done chess a great disservice.
Igor Freiberger Igor Freiberger 4/21/2015 05:25
Talking about average, it is quite obvious that men and women have some areas where one gender usually shows better skills than other. But one should not classify this as gender differences. Instead, what determines such variations are male and female cultures. During centuries, women were educated to be sensible and emotional, while men were taught to be combative and rational. This is quickly changing, but still very present in modern lifestyle. I am sure this kind if difference will be extinct within a few decades in societies where equality between genders is already an established value. Unfortunately, Nigel Short took these cultural differences as biological evidences and developed an unsound variant.
Klacsanzky Klacsanzky 4/21/2015 05:18
We can't just look at averages and assumptions. Many circumstances prevent women from playing at the highest level: preganancy and child rearing, pressure from peers to do something else, being pressured to have a famaily life instead of a competitive life from family, and so on. Many cultural problems combine when women want to have a chess career.
ChessInquisitor ChessInquisitor 4/21/2015 05:09
It is a fact that men outperform women in many activities that are not dependent on just brute physical strength. Is this due to centuries of social bias, lack of opportunity or something inherent? It's difficult to say with certainty.
Now, in every culture across the world, the majority of cooking is done by women. But what happens at the highest levels? There are very few women 3-star Michelin chefs ... another example of a high-pressure job (like being an elite GM) where the men are dominant.
alekhina alekhina 4/21/2015 04:52
In general, of course men are better than women in chess...due to many reasons. One significant reason is the high ratio of men in terms of gender playing chess. But chess becomes a wonderful and more popular game if there are women/girls playing it.
David Sprenkle David Sprenkle 4/21/2015 04:32
So I'm curious. What is Nigel's record against Judit?
1