'Women’s Chess' and equal footing

by Alexey Root
12/16/2019 – As Honorary Director of the London Chess Conference, which had the theme in 2019 of Chess and Female Empowerment, Grandmaster Judit Polgár wrote, “I make a point of never separating girls and boys, nor awarding special prizes for girls...Meanwhile, national federations use their resources, and public subsidies are creating more female-only competitions. It is high time to consider the consequences of this segregation — because in the end, our goal must be that women and men compete with one another on an equal footing.” WIM ALEXEY ROOT responds.

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Consequences of chess segregation

Grandmaster Judit Polgár’s editorial considers whether or not an increase in female-only chess competitions will lead to women and men competing “on an equal footing.” However, equal footing between women and men does not exist in the real world. The chess world overflows with sexist discourse. My reply to Polgár’s editorial considers how the real world and the chess world intertwine and whether Polgár’s perspective is colored by her being raised in a family that promoted chess achievement.

Segregated and co-ed environments

One analogy for segregated tournaments for girls and women could be to single-sex education, for example all-girls schools. Advocates of co-education argue, as Polgár did regarding chess, that separating girls may be harmful. According to Dr. Lise Eliot, single-sex education “increases discrimination and stereotyping.” Eliot also favorably cited a book, Playing with the boys: why separate is not equal in sports, which argued that “sex segregation in sports does not simply reflect sex difference, but actively constructs and reinforces stereotypes about sex.” 

On the other hand, advocates for single-sex education claim that all-girls schools are more successful at educating females. “Females especially do better academically in single-sex schools and colleges across a variety of cultures...Single-sex schools help to improve student achievement.”

In co-ed chess classrooms, teachers treat boys and girls differently. In 2007, Elizabeth Spiegel (née Vicary) recounted to Jennifer Shahade, “Even though I call on both genders a similar amount, I found that I ask girls much easier questions. And honestly, often it was because I didn’t think they were capable of answering the harder ones and I didn’t want to embarrass them.” Shahade, now Women's Chess Program director for US Chess, replied, “I definitely also ask girls easier questions.”

Jennifer Shahade

Shahade speaking to a group of girls | Photo: Eric Rosen / US Chess

Similar teacher behaviors occurred in co-ed school classrooms. A National Education Association review of research cited a 1993 study in 100 elementary classrooms which found:

  • Boys called out eight times as often as girls did. When a boy yelled out, the teacher ignored the “raise your hand” rule and usually praised his contribution. Girls who called out got reminders to raise their hands.
  • Teachers valued boys’ comments more than girls’ comments. Teachers responded to girls with a simple nod or an OK, but they praised, corrected, helped, and criticized boys.
  • Boys were encouraged to solve problems on their own, but teachers helped girls who were stuck on problems.

How some teachers treated girls’ comments in co-ed instructional situations is similar to how women fare at present in co-ed discourse. According to an article by journalist Susan Chira, published in 2017 in The New York Times, “Researchers consistently find that women are interrupted more and that men dominate conversations and decision-making, in corporate offices, town meetings, school boards and the United States Senate.”

Ask a more intelligent question

On December 8th, former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov told Grand Chess Tour commentator Shahade to “ask a more intelligent question”. Shahade replied, “I’ll try” and she and her co-host Peter Svidler laughed.

Kasparov’s remark might be a good addition to Shahade’s artwork “Not particularly beautiful.” Describing that artwork in her article of October 17, 2019, Shahade wrote, “The white squares of our board are insults levied at top female chess players, including the title square, a YouTube comment about me, ‘She is Not Particularly Beautiful At All.’” Beyond discourse, other inequalities exist. A 2019 article lists “18 Ways Women Still Aren’t Equal to Men.”

Follow the money

Polgár wrote “national federations use their resources, and public subsidies are creating more female-only competitions.” From its start 80 years ago until the mid-1990s, US Chess (then USCF) bore financial responsibility for U.S. Women’s Chess Championships, without much sponsorship help. USCF held U.S. Women’s Chess Championships somewhat sporadically. For example, I played in the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship for the first time in 1981, and again in 1984 (the next time it was held), and again in 1986 (the next time it was held). I recounted requests to USCF for funding for U.S. Women’s Chess Championships and for Regional Women’s tournaments in a prior article.

From the mid-1990s onward, sponsors of U.S. Women’s Chess Championships included Interplay, the Seattle Chess Foundation (AF4C), and the Saint Louis Chess Club. According to Dan Lucas, US Chess Senior Director of Strategic Communication, most of the money allocated from US Chess to girls’ and women’s events, including the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, currently comes from the Saint Louis Chess Club and from donors to the Women in Chess Initiative.

Perhaps a portion of this donated money would not have gone to chess, except for the opportunity to support girls and women. Some philanthropic donors specifically look to donate to initiatives for girls and women. The Femme Batale “raised over $10,000 for women and girls in chess.” Likely many Femme Batale donations happened because the event was by women, for women.

Media coverage, camaraderie, financial incentives

Segregated tournaments generate media coverage of chess girls and women, allow them to network and make friends with each other, and provide them with financial incentives to stay in chess. Media attention may make girls and women aware that others of their gender play chess. In a 2018 article for Sports Illustrated, John G. Zimmerman wrote that the Women’s World Chess Championship is a chance for media coverage for women in chess: “In an environment where female players are such a tiny minority, the tournament is an invaluable opportunity to show off talent and grow the game.”

The next Women’s World Chess Championship is January 3-26, 2020, giving media another opportunity to highlight women in chess. If there were no segregated tournaments for women and girls, media mentions of female chess players might be less frequent. Chess articles about top players, such as for the GCT Finals, usually feature men. There is only one woman, Hou Yifan, currently among the top 100 rated players in the world.

Ten years ago, Shahade presented several arguments for segregated tournaments, including media coverage of women playing chess, women making friends with each other, and financial incentives. She wrote, “Women’s tournaments & training allow an under-represented population in the chess world to make friends and helps organizers to promote women in chess to the media & community. Women’s tournaments can also give women financial incentives to stay in the game.” In 2019, the Eade Foundation quoted Shahade as similarly stating “women’s tournaments are great fun for competitors of all ages and levels and can often provide extra opportunities for women chess players to earn money, prestige and attention for their hard work.” Both making money and making friends with other women and girls is more challenging for females at open tournaments, as some “opens” may have only one woman or one girl playing. That woman or girl may feel isolated and drop out of chess.

World Championship aspirations

Segregated tournaments may lead to lowered aspirations, according to Judit Polgár. She wrote, “The higher your goals, the higher you reach.” She cited the example of Hou Yifan, who has won the Women’s World Chess Championship four times. Polgár implied that if Hou Yifan had not played so often in women’s chess tournaments, she might have moved closer, sooner, to the ultimate goal of World Chess Champion. Polgár came close to that ultimate goal. As she wrote, “It turned out that I was not able to become the overall world champion, but I always strived to fulfil this ambition – and at my peak, I was the eighth highest ranked player in the world.”

Yet Judit Polgár did play in gender-segregated tournaments on her way to #8 in the world; her last one was playing on the gold-medal winning 1990 Hungarian Women’s Olympiad team. Moreover, gender-segregated tournaments are not the only “segregated” tournaments in chess, as players seek intermediate victories on their paths to World Chess Champion. Like Hou Yifan’s four Women’s World Chess Championship titles, some men also win the same championship four times. Chess legend Viktors Pupols is a four-time Washington State chess champion.

Pupols

Eric Tangborn, John Braley, Viktors Pupols | Deborah Petzal-Pupols

The photo shows him, at right, with two other former Washington State Chess Champions, Eric Tangborn (left) and John Braley (center), at a 2013 gathering.

Root at 10

Did repeatedly winning that title, awarded only to Washington State residents, dull Pupols’ desire for more renowned chess accomplishments? I think not; I believe every chess player, at least once in his or her life, dreams of becoming World Champion. I bet Viktors Pupols dreamed about it often, considering that he defeated Bobby Fischer in a tournament game.

I dreamed too. When I was 10 years old (pictured), and one of the top 50 players in the United States under age 13 (including boys and girls), Bud Narveson interviewed me for The Gambit, published by the Lincoln Chess Foundation (in Nebraska). He wrote that I said, “I hope to win the 13 and under title in the city tournament.” “Not the junior title?” Narveson asked. “Not this year,” I replied. Narveson wrote, “But her long-range goals are less modest. She aims to be world champion.” “Women’s world champion?” asked Narveson. Narveson reported that I “sniffed in disdain” before replying “World’s champion. Someday I hope to beat Bobby Fischer.”

Photo: Lincoln Journal Star

As a teenager, my aspirations were derailed by my Canadian chess coach. Equal footing does not exist for victims of this crime, as sexual abuse happens to 1 in 5 girls and to 1 in 20 boys.

Family support

Even if I had never met that Canadian chess coach, I might not have pursued becoming world chess champion. Though I had some promising chess achievements, for example becoming an expert at age 15, my parents discouraged me from pursuing chess further. Instead, I attended college. For middle-class girls in first-world countries, family pressure to go to college may be greater than it is on boys, who may be encouraged to achieve their “genius” potential in chess.

As Wei Ji Ma reported for ChessBase, parents are more likely to think of their boys as geniuses than think of their girls that way. He wrote, “Leslie and Cimpian’s study would suggest that the primary reason why women are not motivated to pursue chess or are discouraged by others is that they or people around them do not believe they have the brilliance everyone believes to be needed for success in chess. (Again, this is regardless of the extent to which brilliance is truly required.)”

Judit Polgár wrote, “I know from experience that it is amazingly powerful if your loved ones and your coach believe in your ability.” Along with most other chess players, I did not experience family chess support at a level equivalent to that enjoyed by Judit Polgár. Moreover, when I matriculated, there were not college chess programs equivalent to the one offered by The University of Texas at Dallas, which allows college students to pursue both educational and chess aspirations.

Segregated championships

Segregated championships exist, by age and/or geography (such as the 13 and under championship for the city of Lincoln, Nebraska or the Washington State Chess Championship), by gender (such as the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship), by age and gender (US Girls’ Junior Championship), and even by profession (U.S. Armed Forces Open Chess Championship). Along with the more common “open” tournaments, these segregated tournaments provide diverse opportunities to compete at chess as we progress toward becoming World Chess Champion.

Whatever is true about the benefits or deficits of segregated chess championships, Polgár’s goal of equal footing may be challenging to achieve in an unequal world where few enjoy the chess support experienced by Polgár and her sisters.




Alexey was the 1989 U.S. Women's Chess Champion and is a Woman International Master. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History at the University of Puget Sound and her doctoral degree in Education at The University of California, Los Angeles. She has been a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at UT Dallas since 1999 and is a prolific author.
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ChessSpawn49 ChessSpawn49 12/30/2019 10:35
(continued)
Should we have separate girls and women's tournaments? Should we have separate tournaments for African-Americans? Perhaps if Richard Wright had been interested in chess instead of books the question asked of him in The Library card would have been different; not what would a black kid want with a book, but why would a black kid want to play chess instead of basketball?

I think the issue is far broader than ratings differences between men and women. A meta approach to chess should consider lifelong participation in chess as an activity, not just a quest for ratings and titles of any sort. I think this is what Grandmaster/Dr. Jonathan Rowson argues for in his latest book The Moves That Matter. Toward that end we should all consider Rowson's cogent observation regarding teachers, "Teachers are those who know their terrain well enough to help us to read maps, while great teachers also help us to find ourselves in maps of our creation."
ChessSpawn49 ChessSpawn49 12/30/2019 10:34
Dr. Root makes some cogent points. There are a number of issues that, IMO, need looking at before chess organizations can make fully reasoned decisions regarding women's only tournaments, titles and world championship. That said, there are neurological differences between male and female brains. Whether or not these differences result in better chess performance by males (the Shortean hardwired theory) is suspect.

There is no question that there are significant cultural differences between the United States, Europe and the rest of the world. Still, misogamy is a world-wide phenomena. It varies in its level of destructiveness of women internally and externally from culture to culture, but is a brutal fact of life for women everywhere.

At best, girls/women only tournaments, titles and championships strike me as a palliative that distracts from addressing the root (forgive the unintentional pun) cause of gender bias. Admissions by two of our more notable chess teachers that they ask easier questions of their chess students cries out for asking the same questions of their male, female and non-binary students. Not demanding the same rigor from all students is a significant part of the problem. Disparate treatment of women in regular academic classes is just as abhorrent and damaging as disparate treatment of students by a teacher based on race or ethnic diversity.

A good teacher will find a way to structure questions, ask them and respond to the answers in ways that empower all of their students. That is an incredibly difficult task for a teacher. Most are not up to the challenge in the US due to the minimalization of the teaching profession as a profession historically underpaid with women shunted into it because that was the early industrial paradigm supportive or tuning out graduates able to function in the new world of manufacturing on a mass scale.
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 12/19/2019 08:39
I'd have to agree with @chessdrummer. The elimination of womens titles is where everything should start at. And the first one who should stop using them ought to be the author of this article.

These womens titles only do one thing for women: give them complacency about their accomplishments and subconsciously places them on sublevels compared to their male colleagues. We should all be striving for the same goals, therefore why is there any need for alternative titles???
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 12/19/2019 06:33
The point of the discussion is not that women are prevented from playing chess, but that chessplayers (predominantly male) would like to see more women play. So in the end the main issue is not fairness, or raising the level of women's play, but effectiveness of efforts to do get them to play (by those who want to make that effort).
fede666 fede666 12/19/2019 08:47
what about playing good moves and playing a little bit better chess...women rating will then improve...nobody preventing them from playing better chess...
chessdrummer chessdrummer 12/19/2019 06:54
I agree with Judit. Why? Because she is living proof as well as her sisters. These are case studies of success. Women can play at top level, but are hindered because most play primarily against 2400-2500 level competition. It is crippling and wouldn't be any different if they primarily played 2400-2500 men. What I also find crippling are women's titles. Eliminate them and give equivalent FIDE titles. What I have found in my coverage of chess over 18 years is that when women earn these one-shot titles in developing regions, they are not motivated to go any further. A "WFM" title will be their biggest accomplishment even though their rating may be 1500. They are satisfied and leave the game. Then there are the lower expectations. I always hear people ask young women, "Are you going for the WGM title?" Why not ask her if she is going for IM title or GM title? They plant seeds that set the bar low. Eliminate the lesser women's titles and provide a system where women compete against the best.
besominov besominov 12/18/2019 07:08
>> I think it's much better to have 1 section and have the highest finishing woman winning the women's championship.

I agree, this is a much better compromise. Gibraltar does it and it's a very successful tournament, everybody loves it. If the genders are separated you can't really blame the women for choosing the easier option, everybody needs money.

I agree that tournament organizers and sponsors can do whatever they want, it's a free world. The problem is that this notion of segregation is being actively promoted by all and sundry and as Polgar pointed out this is not a good thing, at least not if you want women to get as good as the men.

My apologies for the overly aggressive tone of my previous comment, I get carried away sometimes. I just find most of these arguments faulty, and it's not just in the chess world that this is happening, it's become a social phenomenon, part of the so called "culture wars" that are currently raging, and it's all nonsense really. (Take a problem, escalate to absurdist levels, make everybody fight, profit! Actually everybody loses, that's the sad part.)
fede666 fede666 12/18/2019 01:23
women are free to join open tournament ...nobody prohibits them from playing in them...they are ones having the choice....they can play in the Gibraltar open, place say number 35 in the standing and making as much as guy placing number 3 in the standing (they are running for 2 prices basically) ...if anything they are the ones with the choices and the financial advantage..
Hou Hifan got to play Carlsen 7 or 8 times in classical chess...how many males GMS rated 2650 would have such luxury ?
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 12/18/2019 02:06
I agree that many of the topics/arguments in the article are specious and tangentially related to the subject. There is sexism by women against women, as pointed out by the article. There was a study done on chess-players that showed that female chess-players and male chess-players both had the same opinions on women's chess and the (lower) level of women chess-players. So any target for change would be both men and women. Root is right that it is an unequal world. Women control more wealth in the US than men. Women live on average 8 years longer than men in most places (although studies have shown it is at least partially due to workplace stress as the life expectancy of women has gone down with more workplace participation, and men have historically worked more dangerous jobs). Women are overwhelmingly favored in child custody cases.
I disagree with those calling for the removal of women-only chess tournaments, as well as pay based only on performance and not on gender (women being able to win more than men for much lower levels of performance is okay IMO). If a tournament organizer wants to put up a prize fund for a women's event and women want to play in it, then so be it. If it was not financially feasible, then it would not have been organized. And why should it be up to anyone else what an organizer/sponsor does with her money. But anyone wanting to reach the top will have to favor playing in open events.
I do think it's a shame that in many championships a woman has to choose between the women's tournament and the open. Although the results would not be as statistically accurate, I think it's much better to have 1 section and have the highest finishing woman winning the women's championship.
besominov besominov 12/17/2019 07:11
>>"The chess world overflows with sexist discourse."

Nonsense.

>>“Females especially do better academically in single-sex schools and colleges across a variety of cultures..

The problem here is that in "a variety of cultures" female discrimination is still a big issue. And in those circumstances single-sex schools might perform better. But surely this should not be the goal. The goal should be to eliminate discrimination, and you're not going to do that with segregation.

Should the whole world adopt segregation because in some countries discrimination is still an issue?

>>“Even though I call on both genders a similar amount, I found that I ask girls much easier questions. And honestly, often it was because I didn’t think they were capable of answering the harder ones and I didn’t want to embarrass them.” Shahade, now Women's Chess Program director for US Chess, replied, “I definitely also ask girls easier questions.”

What the hell is this supposed to mean? This is saying two things: 1) teachers are sexist 2) females are dumber than males. And this is used as an argument in this discussion?

All this talk about what happens in co-ed schools is very debatable imo, but more importantly it's pointless.
Chess education and instruction is completely different than what happens in regular schools.

Co-ed discourse? What does this have to do with chess?

There is still female discrimination in the world sure. What does this have to do with chess? Why should this be a reason not to want to play in open tournaments instead of female only?

Shahade got a sexist youtube comment therefore women should only play in women only tournaments?
Therefore we need segregation and positive discrimination?

Welcome to the world (and logic) of identity politics, or social justice warriors, or current day feminists. Which all pretty much stew in the same pot.
besominov besominov 12/17/2019 07:10
I have no doubt that certain sponsors approve and like all of this positive discrimination, But this is not necessarily a good thing. This just means that the social justice league has been able to influence certain people with money. I'm sure you could find people who would want to sponsor male only tournaments, except that if they did that they would be lynched in today's climate. And for good reasons. Discrimination and sexism are not a good thing.

>> Segregated tournaments generate media coverage of chess girls and women

Wouldn't it be better to get attention because you did something that merits praise rather than because of your gender?

Have you considered the notion that if some people look down on women chess players it is because they get money for being female rather than for being good at chess? All this positive discrimination could very well be making the "problem" of sexism even worse. (If there is such a problem in the chess world, I don"t think there is.)

We have now had several decades of positive discrimination.
One thing that can be concluded from those decades is that it has not worked.
fede666 fede666 12/17/2019 04:50
again with the conspiracies theories for the Gibraltar open..unbelievable...
filiusdextris filiusdextris 12/17/2019 04:42
I've rarely read an advocacy article with so many cop-outs. Just play good moves, whoever you are, and your chess ambitions will be just fine.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 12/17/2019 02:16
Stupido (you chose that nickname yourself),
Here we go again. The Swiss pairing in open tournaments (like the one in Gibraltar you're talking about) is done according to strict rules. Interference with it is identifiable for anyone. Neither Hou Yifan nor anyone else did show any interference with pairings towards women-only encounters in Gibraltar. Pig-headed arguments that her pairings were statistically improbable were not applicable.
fede666 fede666 12/17/2019 12:51
classical chess score kasparov 8 polgar 0 3 draws
kramnik 14 polgar 0 11 draws...

she was never close..

carlsen 5 hou Hifan 0 1 draw..same story
caruana 7 hou Hifan 1..7 draws....
Stupido Stupido 12/17/2019 12:47
Judit Polgar is 100% right, and I remember that Hou Yifan even refused to play when paired "accidentally" only with women in a certain open event. It is obvious that keeping separate tournaments and ratings is just hindering the rise of the best female chess players.
PhishMaster PhishMaster 12/17/2019 11:50
"Polgár came close to that ultimate goal."

Polgar is an amazing great player, but I have to disagree with this statement. She peaked at number 8 in the world, and qualified for the Candidates once, losing to Bareev. That is fantastic, but not close when discussing the World Championship.

Funny this article is about how women are treated differently, because Bareev had a higher peak rating, and his peak ranking was number four in the world. No one would ever say that he came close to the ultimate goal, although it really depends on how you define "close".

That said, over my 40 years of playing, I have never heard any second-tier elite described as coming close...the Grischuks, Ivanchuks, etc. Carauana came close.Leko came close. Just being in the top 10 or even qualifying for the Candidates is not enough.
fede666 fede666 12/17/2019 11:11
the politically incorrect truth is that the gap is wide and not really shrinking....but it cant be said....
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 12/17/2019 04:45
I honestly think this movement should begin by stripping away those stupid womens titles (WGM, WIM, WFM, WCM). If the young & upcoming female players get their first impression of chess as a game which everyone is equal and have to achieve the same norms & rating thresholds, then chess will finally turn around and be equalized. Maybe not now, maybe not next year, heck....maybe not even 5 years from now. But the trend during these years will certainly be in the right direction, that I can say for sure.

Alexey, great article - but I strongly feel (in my opinion) that if you're all for this movement then you should start by not bearing that WIM title in your credentials. It is completely contradictory to the objective of what you're going for in this article.
James Satrapa James Satrapa 12/17/2019 01:27
"Let's call professional "women's chess" for what it is: a sexist method by which lower-skilled chess players of a particular sex can make a living playing the game at a skill level that is far below that of the top male players."

You wouldn't want women to make a living in the game, would you...I'm not sure how any women can make a living just from playing. I suspect that they don't, and like the overwhelming majority of male players in a low paying profession, they have to supplement their income with simuls, coaching, tutoring, writing and for a lucky few, commentating.

Even the the top women have had their challenges, such as Susan Polgar being stripped of the Women's World Championship, or Judith's decision to have a family which necessarily interrupted her career when it was at its zenith, or Hou Yifan reading the writing on the wall and securing her future with top Oxbridge qualifications via her Rhodes Scholarship. As Hou said: "I want to be the best, but you also have to have a life."

The sexism (real sexism, not the faux-sexism opportunistically described in the comment quoted above) exhibited by Kasparov a couple of years ago here: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/kasparov-on-women-chess-players is probably shared by many men inside and outside the game. This is not a congenial environment in which to play and women should not be blamed from moving onto more productive life choices.

To have an arena in which women can compete amongst themselves is not sexism as it actually provides choice that are otherwise unavailable. Sexism deprives women of choices.
EatMyShorts EatMyShorts 12/16/2019 09:57
"Whatever is true about the benefits or deficits of segregated chess championships, Polgár’s goal of equal footing may be challenging to achieve in an unequal world where few enjoy the chess support experienced by Polgár and her sisters." Gimme a break Alexey.

Women have broken the glass ceiling in more areas of human endeavor than you can shake a stick at. Sure, I don't think you'll see a woman in the position of NFL linebacker anytime soon, but that's due to the physical inequalities that exist between men and women. Unless there are intellectual inequalities between men and women - and I don't believe that's the case - it's time for those women who truly aspire to reach the upper echelons of chess to do exactly what Judit and Hou did - "play with the big boys" (pun intended).

Don't make claims that a lack of opportunities for girls to play chess is what's stopping them from competing with men and vying for the world championship, as chess opportunities in mixed-gender formats abound for them. Furthermore, I remember reading something, somewhere, about girls being intimidated in mixed-gender tournaments...hogwash! Today's young ladies are more empowered than any generation before them, and they know it - and show it! So please, no more excuses.

Let's call professional "women's chess" for what it is: a sexist method by which lower-skilled chess players of a particular sex can make a living playing the game at a skill level that is far below that of the top male players. In the end all it does is "keep women down", instead of providing a way for them to rise to the top, by perpetuating a never-ending cycle of chess mediocrity.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 12/16/2019 09:34
I think the Gibraltar open tournament, where the best woman player wins a prize equal to the first overall prize (and still keeping rights to other prizes!) is an excellent way to promote women chess without confining them to their 'ghetto'. They have to beat strong male players to get there. People argue that women participants don't need to have the same talent or do the same amount of work as the first-prize winner overall (except for Judith Polgar, who nearly won the event...), but it's certainly an incentive for women to perform at their best.
catalanFischer catalanFischer 12/16/2019 08:57
I think women should have their own crossboard but is good for them to play open mixed tournaments. Playing against men will make them tougher.
chessgod0 chessgod0 12/16/2019 07:26
Polgar is correct, I believe, when she says it would be impossible for a woman to become world champion if she does not play in open tournaments. However, if enough women are fine with woman-only tournaments and there is sponsorship for these events then I don't really see a problem.

The reality is that many woman players simply have different priorities. Hou Yifan is very talented...but she has other interests as well. I don't expect that the proportion of men and women will be equal when it comes to chess when it's not equal in any other industry or sport---even in famously gender-equal Sweden.

What Polgar and Root want for women are, many times, not what women want for themselves. And that's perfectly fine.
fede666 fede666 12/16/2019 07:11
If you invited the 10 best women players in the world against the top 10 men in the world, women would occupy the last 10 places at the end of the tournament,..check the Fide ratings and see where the woman world champ is in the rating list...that is why you have women tournaments ..not to discriminate but to help them improve...
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