“Women’s chess”: A misleading and counterproductive label

by Alisa Melekhina
7/24/2017 – The label has settled into chess parlance, but its usage is a disservice to the inherent meritocracy of chess that all players appreciate. FM Alisa Melekhina argues it's time to let the term “women’s chess” fade into our patriarchal past | Photo: Doug Morisoli

What's in a label?

The challenge for women chess players extends beyond the board. We are often the subject of complaints that the quality of our play is low, our games are plagued by blunders, and we have an overall poor understanding of the game.

Such pronouncements about and against “women’s chess” are often heard. In an article titled “Girl Power in Chess” during the elite tournament in Baden Baden, Germany, last April, grandmaster Grigory Serper lauded Hou Yifan, who was leading the tournament at the time, and Judit Polgar, the retired super-grandmaster. Then — in what I consider a genuine attempt at praise — he added, “The progress of women’s chess is amazing if you consider the quality of the following game played in the women’s world championship less than 80 years ago.” The follow-up was an admittedly embarrassing game in which Annabelle Lougheed lost to Vera Menchik in 1939 in 14 moves after ending up down a rook.


Playing through the above game was a reminder of Bobby Fischer’s famous remark that he could beat any woman with knight odds.

Covering the same tournament and Hou’s commendable performance for The Guardian, Leonard Barden wrote that her “results against [Fabiano] Caruana and [Magnus] Carlsen were a landmark for “women’s chess.”

Both uses of the term “women’s chess” in those articles were benign. However, they suggest that the term “women’s chess” has become a real concept. Indeed, the label propagates an imaginary subspecies of chess that can be ascribed only to women. The epithet has evolved to describe, and thus validate, an alternate state of reality in which women play a game wholly different from regular “chess.”   

Unfortunately, the term “women’s chess” is misleading and counterproductive to efforts to actually promote women’s participation in chess.

Melekhina at the World Team Championship

Melekhina at the World Team Championship in Chengdu, China, 2015. | Photo: Yupeng Liu

“Women’s chess” is an outgrowth of women-only chess tournaments and titles, which are artificial creatures of the chess world. Like many epithets accumulated through outdated and persistent usage, its meaning is not well understood. Whereas “women’s gymnastics” or “women’s figure skating” make sense because the female competitors are (i) confined to competing only against other women, (ii) have exclusive rankings relative only to other women, and (iii) are scored based on completely different physical techniques than those employed by men, chess is different: Women play by the same rules as men and with the same pieces and boards.

Let's stick to Elo

2700chess.com for more details and full list

What about describing chess in the context of the strength of the players? This seems more within the realm of the meaning of “women’s chess.” It makes sense to have a concept of “grandmaster chess” or “2700 chess” (for those elite players rated over 2700), particularly if used in comparison to a lesser degree of chess strength played by “beginner chess.” Here, the qualifier to “chess” denotes the type or quality of chess in relation to the strength of the players. 

To use the “women’s” qualifier in the same regard would signify that women possess a certain type or quality of chess exclusive to women, meaning that women innately play chess differently than men. But women play in all types of styles. Polgar is regarded as one of the greatest attacking players, male or female. The past three United States Women’s Champions — Sabina Foisor (2017), Nazi Paikidze (2016), and Irina Krush (2015) — are primarily positional players, particularly Paikidze. Hou has a more universal approach.

Another reason that women are routinely thought of as less skillful chess players is that there are so few who are among the world’s elite. But the percentage of grandmasters who are women — a bit more than two percent — is somewhat comparable to the number of women who are rated by the World Chess Federation — less than 10 percent. A well-respected theory suggests that if the overall participation rate of women rose, their representation among grandmasters would catch up.

More importantly, women-only tournaments, even those that are limited to the top female players, have a significantly lower overall average rating than the averages in top tournaments in which men compete. For example, the average rating of the 2017 United States Women’s Championship was approximately 2295, compared to 2685 in the open section. 

Games in which players are rated 2300 obviously are of a lower quality than games between players who are rated 2700. To describe the games between the players who are 2300 as “women’s chess” is misleading and unfair — they play like 2300s, not like women. If there were side-by-side tournaments featuring men of comparable ratings, it would be natural to expect the same quality of play in both tournaments. 

The proper comparison to make between women and men would be to compare the play of masters to that of grandmasters, which would be a gender-neutral analysis. Instead, women get labeled with a disparaging term based on the numerosity of women participants playing at and against a lower rating level, rather than comparing any characteristic inherent to women.

Kings vs. Queens, the experiment


A more accurate assessment of whether women have an innate style proper for the label of “women’s chess” would require a prolonged study comparing games between men and women, controlling for equal rating strength. The closest to such an experiment was the Kings vs. Queens match hosted by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis in September 2011. The organizers carefully handpicked male and female players for each five-member team that would correspond as closely as possible in rating; the average of both teams was 2476. The match was a double round-robin consisting of both rapid classical and rapid chess 960 games. 

In the ten rounds, the queens scored only 18.5 match points while the kings scored 31.5 points. So far, that was the first and last match like that. One data point — especially one that omits classical slow games that constitute the basis for the ratings in the first place — is hardly enough to draw supportable conclusions; there would need to be a significant sample of studies or matches. But this format had the right idea of how to more precisely measure male vs. female performance in chess.

(L-R) Kings: Nakamura, Stopa, Arnold, Finegold, Cao; Queens: Krush, Kosteniuk, Lahno, Fierro, Zatonskih | Photo: SaintLouisChessClub.org

The topic will always be a charged one, as are all discussions relating to female advancement. In order to continue having productive conversations, it is best to use language that does not arise from and propagate a misconception — that there is something called “women’s chess.” The label has settled into chess parlance, but its usage is a disservice to the inherent meritocracy of chess that all players appreciate. There is not a separate, enclosed bubble of “women's chess” that is separate from regular “chess.” Chess is chess.


Alisa Melekhina is a FIDE master and one of the top female players in the United States. She won a gold medal at the 2009 Women’s World Team Championships in Ningbo, China. Alisa has competed in the United States Women’s Championships eight times, finishing third in 2009 and fifth in 2014. She is currently an attorney in New York City, practicing in the fields of intellectual property and commercial litigation. She is author of “Reality Check,” a book that discusses successful competitive strategy on and off the chess board. Her Web site is alisamelekhina.com.
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Alfschach Alfschach 7/24/2017 09:33
Alisa you are right.I am an african male and have and still am feeling the effects of racism.I feel ashamed that I had not seen the sexism that still exists in our beloved game of Chess. Thank you for opening my eyes.Much love and genuine respect my sister!!
KyleReese KyleReese 7/24/2017 10:05
Another pseudo-militant feminist article that creates fantasy injustices where none exist, the goal being to attack men and deconstruct society into a farcical form of equality. "Women's chess" refers to chess played by the elite women players, which according to all historical and statistical measures, is "in general" inferior in quality and strength compared to males. This does not mean that there are not exceptions, Judit Polgar is a prime example. However, the exceptions are few are far between.

Of course women play "Chess". That is not the point. The label simply describes the characteristics of chess play among the strongest women players. In that context, it makes sense to say: "Women's chess has come a long way." which is an accurate statement supported by the rise in ELO among strong women players.

This meaning should have been obvious to the author, but of course, that was not the point of this article. It was simply another attempt to hijack language and promote the type of pseudo-intellectual absurdism that has become the standard of the feminist movement.
MyHorseIsAmazing MyHorseIsAmazing 7/24/2017 10:42
And yet -- your biography of Alisa under the article says "one of the top *female* players in the United States", "won a gold medal at the 2009 *Women’s* World Team Championships", "competed in the United States *Women’s* Championships eight times"...

Why not "won X open tournaments" (whatever number she won), "has X wins against grandmasters" (whatever the number), and some other objective gender-neutral chess achievements, of which I'm sure she has plenty given her high rating?
Tom Box Tom Box 7/24/2017 10:48
It would appear that the only real justification for all-women chess events is that it makes it possible for women professional players to make money and to be more active as players. I believe it would be great to do away with all-women events. However, this would require bigger and better funded programs to encourage greater participation and training for girls and women, which would result in an inevitable increase in the number of women playing, which would result in an equally inevitable rise in women’s Elo ratings.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 7/24/2017 11:21
I agree with her about the term "women's chess", but there are two mistaken points in the article:

1. While she gives 3 arguments regarding the appropriateness of “women’s gymnastics” and “women’s figure skating”, my understanding is that those are effects, and not causes, of physical differences in the genders. To date, I have not seen any convincing arguments that demonstrate that men and women overall (not individually) have equal abilities as chess players. The different numbers in the top 100 is fact enough, despite all efforts. Why is it that in the sciences, medicine, law, and a plethora of other fields there are equal numbers of women, but in chess and sports it has not happened? In countless studies, no one has been able to explain this, including looking at a country where there are equal numbers of female and male chess-players. If there is an inherent different in women and men's ability to play chess (which I am not suggesting), then does that not justify the use of the term "women's chess"?

2. The "Kings vs Queens" match is certainly not "the right idea of how to more precisely measure male vs. female performance in chess", as to attain a large enough sample so that it was statistically significant is not feasible. A better approach is to do an analysis of thousands or millions of games played by chess players and evaluate them by gender, which someone recently published. I did not read the article but the conclusion was that females played worse against male players than would be anticipated based on difference in ELO. The question is whether that is enough to explain better male performance.
e-mars e-mars 7/24/2017 11:39
Let's abolish all women-only titles (WIM, WGM, ...). Let's abolish all women-only competitions. This is the ONLY way to get rid of "women's chess" term, whatever it means. Would you agree? No, you wouldn't, because that means less prizes for women, less titles. In the open chess women would surely struggle a lot, and they desperately want to keep untouched their golden prison, available only for themselves: the "women's chess" world.
daftarche daftarche 7/24/2017 12:13
@emars yes and let's abolish the fact top women players in open tournaments get paid thousands of dollars while male players who have finished higher than those female players go back home empty handed.
diegoami diegoami 7/24/2017 01:27
It may be that is not only ELO that makes the difference between men and women, making the case for "Women's chess".
It is just possible that women perform worse against men. That's because women subconsciously avoid direct confrontation with men, and also may feel the stress of being in a male-dominated environment.
Another factor may be stamina : playing for six hours straight is more tiring for women, that's why women tournaments tend to have shorter time controls.
EatMyShorts EatMyShorts 7/24/2017 01:53
If it wasn't for "Women's chess", Melekhina wouldn't have a soapbox to stand on, similar to how no FIDE 2191 male players garner any attention ...and deservedly so. Fact is, without "Women's chess" and prizes, the vast majority of professional female chess players wouldn't even exist.
thirteen thirteen 7/24/2017 02:14
@EATMYSHORTS..Similar how you deserve any attention mate...deservedly so!
benedictralph benedictralph 7/24/2017 03:36
Newsflash. Men and women aren't equal. No, really. They aren't.
J Nayer J Nayer 7/24/2017 04:00
The writer can either have ‘women’s chess’ (personally I do not see why this is denigrating) or gain 500 ELO and compete in potentially lucrative ‘chess tournaments’. It is entirely her choice. Or is it?
moderncheckers moderncheckers 7/24/2017 04:25
@diegoami What does it mean that "in chess women perform worse against men"? Ca. 90% of rated players are classified as men.

If a group of players "underachieve" when playing against 90% of ELO-rating-endowed human beings (however we choose these 90%), and performs as they should according to their ratings only when playing against the other 10%, it must mean that the ratings of those in the group are inflated.

The situation reminds me of the famous situation in the late 90's, when players from Myanmar underperformed in international tournaments. Why those Burmese players performed worse against players from other countries than against other players from Myanmar? The answer was not "avoiding confrontations with foreigners" or "stress of being in non-Burmese dominated environment" (if there were such a thing), but the simple fact that a limited pool of players who play in in-group tournaments but rarely play against outsiders may lead to rating distortions.

I find the remarks about avoiding confrontations with men and purported deficiency of stamina untrue. Women excel in endurance sports such as ultradistance swimming.

Abolishing women-only tournaments would remove the rating distortions and the underachieving of women when playing against men.
Zmeu Zmeu 7/24/2017 05:30
The "problem" is when girls are steered away from chess, math, science, etc. by ignorant parents and teachers. Then these same people point to the dearth of female representation in these fields as proof of absolutist ideas such as "women are bad at chess." For the "if I was rated 2190, no one would even know about me since I'm guy, but since she's a woman blah blah blah" crowd: do you really think the image of chess would improve if women were not incentivized to play? would there somehow be more $$ in sponsorships? would the big chess/vacation open tournaments somehow attract more players? This should be a win-win situation, not a battle of the sexes.
Fianshetto Fianshetto 7/24/2017 05:38
As if chess is the only type of competition on this planet where humans competing against one another are placed in one of two categories based on gender..

Why not simply label all participants as "Chess Players"? and while we are at it eliminates other labels such as "Junior" events or championships; whether you are a boy, girl, a senior, a junior, a man, a women, old, young, cranky, happy, democrat, republican...etc. you simply get one label and that is a "Chess Player"...what determines what tournament you may play in or against whom you may play is simply you ELO...(a purely objective ELO system hopefully).
basler88 basler88 7/24/2017 06:43
Bravo Fianshetto!! That's the right way to solve this problem. We are all only guest of this planet, so we're all the same.
KevinC KevinC 7/24/2017 07:57
Alisa, you cannot have it both ways. You complain about it, but the only reason we have ever heard of you is because of women’s chess. You have benefited greatly from this segregation. You, should, and will continue to hear about "women's chess" because it exists. And why does it exist? Because so far, with the exception of Judit Polgar, women cannot compete at the top levels with men.

When I watched the last U.S. Women’s Championship, there were only two 2400s, and the ratings went all the way down to three 2100-players. Sorry, that is not very strong. I can find that just about any weekend. In fact, this month’s NH Open, which is a small tournament, had a 2450, 2500, and 2650. Just because you are indignant does not make your chess that great to watch.

Even the Women’s World Championship is fought between players, who would otherwise never be known outside of their local area. I cannot tell you how many young male GMs, who are 2650 to even 2700, whom I have never heard of.

You listed the FIDE ratings of the top women. Hou Yifan is 88th in the world, and the second-ranked woman, Wenjun Ju is 346th in the world among active players. For now, women ARE less skillful, overall. The numbers don’t lie, even if you don’t want to acknowledge them. In the old days, it was because it was a part-time pursuit, but that is no longer the case with many of your peers doing nothing but playing chess. What is the excuse now? Women’s Chess: It is what it is…. You need to accept that.

It really is time to abolish women-only competitions so you can get a clearer view of what is really what. I know that you are a lawyer now, but if you ever become a trial lawyer, I hope you can make better arguments than this silly article.
turok turok 7/24/2017 08:32
In the USA I started the first ever Female ONLY state championships. This includes in the world. I got many people boycotting my tournament because of what some people say as sexist. But then people understood why we did this and here is the truth. I saw my daughter who was a top junior player and the abuse she took from males at tournaments. The same stuff you hear about. The ONLY reason we started the female only tournament has zero to do with them not being able to compete. It was a tournament where females could come togehter and celebrate chess without the males around to do what they usually do and just enjoy the game of chess without that male influence. Nothing more-nothing less. No sexism involved at all.
EatMyShorts EatMyShorts 7/24/2017 08:49
OH WAIT!! (head slap!) I GET IT!! Seeing as how she was the tail-ender in the 2016 US Women's Chess Championship (scoring a dismal, pitiful, 1.5/11), blowing easily winning positions in the process (such as the one she had against Krush in Rd.3); and seeing as how she wasn't invited back in 2017; and seeing as how she is now employed as an attorney and doesn't need Women's chess to be her money-making occupation...Melekhina wants to get back at all of the other female chess players who pwned her, and ruin their ability to make a living!!

Such a cutthroat mentality will serve her well in her role as an attorney!! YOU GO GIRL!!!!!
JeffreyDM JeffreyDM 7/24/2017 09:43
Let me create three samples of 100 games played from the following three players: a) a typical beginner with no special talent, b) a GM who has managed to keep any of his games from being published, c) a 2300 female player. The names of the players are hidden; all that is known in each sample is whether the person giving the sample was White or Black.

Now, I give these sample to another GM. Would the GM be able to determine if one of the players was a beginner? Most likely, yes. Would the GM be able to determine if one of the players was from a fellow GM? Most likely, yes. But would the GM be able to determine that one of the players was a woman? If so, just what characteristic would the GM look at?

/That/ is the point that Melekhina is trying to get across -- that there is no characteristic about the way a woman plays chess that you can call out that marks "women's chess" as opposed to the way chess is played by others. That is the basis for her wanting to do away with the term.

My philosophy professors in college would emphasize that you need to try very hard to completely understand the author's point before writing up a response criticizing it. Based on that standard, a large number of the comments here wouldn't get a passing grade.
diegoami diegoami 7/24/2017 10:14
I didn't pull out my statements out of my hat, it is things that have been said before. This does not make them necessarily true, but may be worth a thought.

About women underperforming when playing against men: http://voxeu.org/article/women-competitive-environments-evidence-expert-chess

Quote : "The gender gap in performance is due to the gender composition of games. When a woman plays against another woman of the same ability, she has a 50% chance of winning. But when a woman plays against a man of the same ability, she only has a 46% chance. This is equivalent to a handicap of 30 Elo points when the opponent is a man."

About women having less stamina than men in tournaments: http://www.chessblog.com/2014/04/womens-world-rapid-chess-championship.html

"Speaking at the press conference, Lagno did mention that lesser rounds with more players could suit the Women's Rapid World Chess Championship better. She said even though men play over 15 rounds (the open blitz world chess championship), women have lesser stamina and that showed in the drop in quality of games towards the last few rounds... particularly in the last round where her opponent squandered the game with a mate-in-one blunder."
moderncheckers moderncheckers 7/25/2017 12:12
@diegoami "When a woman plays against another woman of the same ability, she has a 50% chance of winning. But when a woman plays against a man of the same ability, she only has a 46% chance."

I and my friends Alice and Bob show our true ability of 2300 FIDE only when we play each other, and each one of us has then 50% chance of winning. Unfortunately, when we play any other players of our ability, that is of course 2300 FIDE, we make more mistakes than they do, and we mostly lose. Of course, this strange but consistent underperformance should not make us doubt that the three of us are of FIDE Master-level ability. Or should it?

The sentence you quoted is self-contradictory, and as such should not have appeared in a research article. If you make more mistakes than the opponent in your games against 90% of all chess players "of your ability", and you play exactly as good as your opponent in your games against the other 10%, then those 90% are not "of your ability", after all, but better, and the assessment of your ability should be revised, basing mostly on your performance against the majority of players—and that's what I wanted to say.
laskodrender laskodrender 7/25/2017 12:15
Don't bite the hand that feeds you. It's men like Bobby Fischer who are the reason why chess players even make money in the first place. Men created the FIDE.I don't understand this ingratitude. It's good thing that women and men don't play in the same tournaments, leagues etc. Otherwise there would far less women than right now. The women in my chessclub play in the 2. Women-Bundesliga in Germany. They are able to meet other girls and women from all over germany. For girls and women the community and company of other women is very important more important than for men. Without that they wouldn't continue playing. That's what I've observed in my chess club.
slim409 slim409 7/25/2017 01:25
Fine then. Take away women's tournaments and the Women's World Championship. Let the men and women play in the same tournaments. Then after all the women lose, which will happen since men and women are different, don't cry and complain about it. I'm tired of this everyone is the same crap. Men and women are different. Their brains are different. That cannot be changed. Get over it.
benedictralph benedictralph 7/25/2017 02:36
What's next? A women-only chess solving/composition championship? So they don't have to compete with men? LOL!
Pieces in Motion Pieces in Motion 7/25/2017 02:53
I don't know if the author was paid to stir the pot with this ridiculous article or she's spent too much time in the States and been brainwashed by a western liberal education, but facts and results show that women are lesser Chess players than men. It doesn't matter whether one wants to use the term women's Chess or not, the fact is women perform substandardly compared to men and such a differentiation exists because of that. It's like separating amateurs from masters; there's an amateur style of play, and there's a master style of play. And the occassional wins by Polgar and Hou against men obviously don't alter the facts.
chessdrummer chessdrummer 7/25/2017 03:44
Pieces in Motion... Judit Polgar's wins against the top players were not occasional. With that comment, I'm not sure you even have any credibility.
Peter B Peter B 7/25/2017 04:22
There is no doubt in my mind that men are innately no better at chess (or any other mental activity) than women. HOWEVER to be really good at chess requires a certain type of singleminded devotion, not to mention nurturing in one's young years which does not discourage this singlemindedness, and both of these are more prevalent in males. The case of Judit Polgar proves it: given the sort of environment which very few girls are given, she rose to the top 10 in the world. If and when it becomes socially acceptable for girls to immerse themselves in chess at a young age (as the Polgars were), there is no doubt in my mind that there would be equal numbers of women in the elites.
As for now, I think women-only events are a good thing, because they encourage more girls to play. Perhaps, one day in the future, they won't be necessary.
goku23 goku23 7/25/2017 06:34
Women are never our equal. Never were and never will be. Stop living in denial and accept the truth. "Feminism is THE misleading and counterproductive label". For ever Curie we have an Einstein! For every Rhonda we have a Conor! For every Judit we have a Kasparov. For every elite of yours we have 10. It has nothing to do with you not having opportunities. There are men who have beaten far greater odds! We have contributed more to the world than you ever have and will be. But we still put up with your bullshit not because we have to but we want to!
goku23 goku23 7/25/2017 06:38
We agree we do turn into Hitlers and Trumps but you do have your Bloody Mary's and Countess of Bathory.
We are the immovable objects that have protected you from the dawn of civilization through WWI, WWII and a million other catastrophes and are the unstoppable force that can show you that you are nothing but castles made of sand. And for Christ's sake don't make us choose the latter!
goku23 goku23 7/25/2017 06:44
We admire them - Joan of arc, Mother Theresa, Marie Curie, Polgars and the Muzychuk's. We try to find the best in you, we search for the light in you but you see the faults, use the wrong people to represent us. You go in search of the darkness that we never possessed until you bought an iphone!! :P
Peter B Peter B 7/25/2017 07:09
Wow. If the chauvinism in these comments is typical of most chess clubs, is it any wonder so few girls persist with chess!
BabyPfuscher BabyPfuscher 7/25/2017 11:21
An excellent article. Words are a direct manifestation of thoughts and ideas and can be a powerful manipulator, so choose them wisely. Words become actions and actions habits. Habits form character and character becomes destiny.
riccardo riccardo 7/25/2017 11:41
Totally agree.
Only reason for "women's chess" is more money for FIDE, while hindering real talent development.
If you have ever played tournament chess - at least-, you know that you improve when you can fight those who are stronger and more experienced than you. Human-to-human chess isn't just about technical skills and homework: you must master the psychological pressure OTB.
It looks like Hou understood that, and she's "pulling a Polgar" by refusing to play women-only events.
This is the only way to achieve equal opportunities in competitive chess.
It should be followed widely.
fons fons 7/25/2017 12:23
These are weak arguments:

>> "because the female competitors are (i) confined to competing only against other women,"

Chess has women only tournaments.

>> "(ii) have exclusive rankings relative only to other women,"

Chess has women only titles.

>> "Women play by the same rules as men and with the same pieces and boards."

Men and women in gymnastics and figure skating play by the same rules and with the same equipment as well, just like in any other sport that I can think of.

Gymnastics and figure skating are physical sports and men and women have different physiques, that argument alone is sufficient I think to explain why calling them women’s gymnastics or women’s figure skating makes more sense.
Zmeu Zmeu 7/25/2017 05:04
@Peter B
"Wow. If the chauvinism in these comments is typical of most chess clubs, is it any wonder so few girls persist with chess!"

Exactly! Chess doesn't help develop social skills much, unfortunately, and many male chess players have trouble interacting with women. Interesting that the women who would be most likely to be interested in them are the ones who play chess, and yet they want to exclude them too.
Chessischess298 Chessischess298 7/25/2017 05:28
I agree with this sister.
To have this form of Racism in our noble Game break my Heart, I truly love the Game so
Much..but I'm No Bobby Fisher in play.
But to me it's the Friendships I have made over Many years.

Not the Entrapment of Ego..
Like one sees with Most Men in chess, WAIT
Maybe that is the Root of it How many Males would choose to lose to there Female Counterpart.

SO I say.. lets have a Friendly Game of Chess
The Top Players Males and Females battle it out for change..oh we know this want happen why ?..Old Male Chess Players Fear losing
There EGOS ..

SO sister please do this you would put them in check mate with the idea..but a Game Would be fun.

And Remember, chess is chess
e-mars e-mars 7/25/2017 05:37
OK, interestingly no one pointed out that Mrs Melekhina managed to list a set of problems, first of all the discriminatory label "Women's chess", but... she DOES NOT propose any concrete SOLUTION. I am waiting for a PROPOSAL Mrs Melekhina: spit it out!

(And don't cheat: simply stop using that label is not a solution, it's a workaround...)
yesenadam yesenadam 7/25/2017 06:26
Gee, one of those topics that sure brings out the loony sexist commenters.

I used to wonder about why women were so much weaker than men in chess - people suggest all kinds of reasons - until I read this study, which David Smerdon linked to on his blog a few years ago.


Some of the abstract: "A popular explanation for the small number of women at the top level of intellectually demanding activities from chess to science appeals to biological differences in the intellectual abilities of men and women. An alternative explanation is that the extreme values in a large sample are likely to be greater than those in a small one. Although the performance of the 100 best German male chess players is better than that of the 100 best German women, we show that 96 per cent of the observed difference would be expected given the much greater number of men who play chess. There is little left for biological or cultural explanations to account for."

Now I mainly wonder why this isn't better known, and years later people still write pieces trying to explain such a puzzling thing. (I don't mean that this piece is one of them.) Funny how no-one feels driven to write about how e.g. German chess players "according to all historical and statistical measures, are "in general" inferior in quality and strength" or "To date, I have not seen any convincing arguments that demonstrate that Germans overall (not individually) have equal abilities as chess players. The different numbers in the top 100 is fact enough, despite all efforts." or how "Germans cannot compete at the top levels" or "Germans are never our equal. Never were and never will be. Stop living in denial and accept the truth. For every elite of yours we have 10. It has nothing to do with you not having opportunities. There are non-Germans who have beaten far greater odds! We have contributed more to the world than you ever have and will be." etc etc. (Arghh that was awful reading those comments again.)
FMMichaelBaron FMMichaelBaron 7/25/2017 07:04
I agree, lets get rid of the ''women's chess''...but to keep things fair and square - lets also get rid of women's titles and consequent free entries/conditions for WGMs/WIMs