Elisabeth Paehtz announces her resignation from the German National Team

by ChessBase
5/31/2019 – For years Elisabeth Paehtz (born January 8, 1985) has been the clear number one chess player among German women. Since 1998 the World Youth Champion U18-Girls and World Junior Girls Champion 2005 has been playing for the German National Women's team, but in a press release from May 29 she announced her decision to quit, citing the "unequal treatment of women" compared to men in German chess and in the German Chess Federation. One day later the German Chess Federation replied. | Photo: Lars OA Hedlund

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Paehtz pulls no punches

IM Elisabeth Paehtz is Germany's top female player by a wide margin and #21 in the world at an Elo of 2470. She is currently co-hosting live commentary on the World Championship Candidates tournament in Kazan. Her departure from the national team is a large blow to the country's chances in international team competition.

By country ranking, Germany is number nine globally, with only two other International Masters and no female players with the Grandmaster title.

Press release of Elisabeth Paehtz

May 29, 2019

I hereby resign from the national team with immediate effect. For more than 20 years I have successfully represented the German Chess Federation (DSB) at international competitions and individual tournaments.  Since 2012 I have won seven individual and two team gold medals for my country — unfortunately without gaining the impression that this would change the basic attitude of the association towards women's chess. There have never been and there probably will never be first class tournaments for women in Germany like the men play in Baden-Baden or Dortmund.

Paehtz portraitLast year, my last attempt to explain my position and my dissatisfaction with the unequal treatment of women to the presidium of the German Chess Federation (DSB) failed.

In Germany, chess is all about Elo-ratings. Medals, apparently, do not play a role. In recent years Jana Schneider, Fiona Sieber, Annmarie Mütsch and myself have won the most chess medals for Germany. If, however, the DSB always uses only the absolute world ranking list as criterion, such successes remain not only unappreciated, but, above all, they also do not have an impact on the development of talents and the reputation of chess in the concert of other sports.

I would like to express my thanks for the cooperation and wish the German Chess Federation much success for the future.

Elisabeth Pähtz

The next day, May 30, 2019, the German Chess Federation reacted with a statement from Andreas Jagodzinsky, official speaker for competitive sports within the federation:

Statement of the German Chess Federation

May 30, 2019

The German Chess Federation notes the resignation of our long-time top player Elisabeth Paehtz from the national team with great regret. Elisabeth was and is the flagship of German women's chess. With her numerous successes at home and abroad she has earned lasting merits.

The German Chess Federation has always supported Elisabeth to the best of its ability, albeit perhaps not always to the extent she would have wished. It is not in the power of the German Chess Federation to organize a "first-class tournament" for her. The tournaments in Baden-Baden/Karlsruhe and Dortmund, which she cites for comparison, are not events organized by the German Chess Federation. In this context it should perhaps not go unmentioned that the German Chess Federation among other things supported the women's chess festivals in Erfurt. Currently, the fourth German Women Masters is played in Magdeburg, and thanks to the support of our sponsor UKA this tournament has a generous prize fund. We consider the accusation that the German Chess Federation has a negative basic attitude towards women's chess to be unfounded.

After Elisabeth had already told us at the end of last year that she would not be available for the national team this year, we were surprised by the timing of her resignation — after all, she was a guest at the summit in Magdeburg yesterday. Not least because of this we also find the kind of communication with the German Chess Federation via an external website unusual.

We wish Elisabeth continued success for her chess career and all the best.

Andreas Jagodzinsky (Speaker for competitive sports in the German Chess Federation)

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

Statement on the website of the Geman Chess Federation (German)...


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brother7 brother7 6/5/2019 06:45
Thanks for the clarification @fgkdjlkag
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 6/5/2019 04:00
@brother7: She resigned from the German national team, not from her federation. And even if she resigned from her federation, does not mean she would join another. Establishing residency somewhere else would be a first step.
flyingman flyingman 6/4/2019 02:17
Transgenders can't come soon enough.
brother7 brother7 6/3/2019 11:05
There's no mention of which national federation Ms Paehtz will join. Does anyone know?
hurwitz hurwitz 6/3/2019 04:08
@AdopePlayer: The only misogyny comment that I see below is yours by far!!! what the hell do you mean by "women are cognitively inferior to men"???

I share same opinion with KevinC and chessdrummer: I found Paehtz's expectation to be treated differently than a man with a similar elo unfair and discriminating, but in fact to the favor of women.
AdopePlayer AdopePlayer 6/3/2019 02:37
So much misogyny in the comments section. We all know that women are cognitively inferior to men. It is equally impressive to be top 50 man and top 50 woman. Shame to the German Chess Federation for letting their best players down.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 6/2/2019 05:52
Title IX is a US government program, but chess is not supported financially by the US government at all, you are proposing for government support in Germany? Seems like there are many other things that funds could be used for, and it should be up for Germans to decide anyway.

"Women make up roughly 50% of the world's population, but make up a much, much smaller percentage of tournament chess players." It's the same for Go, shogi, xiangqi, should all of those get equal financial resources for women, despite that it is still contested about the educational benefits of chess? What about all other activities that do not comprise 50%? The list is quite long, and in both directions.
KevinC KevinC 6/2/2019 03:25
@David Sprenkle Not good for the long-term health of the game? The game has been doing well for hundreds of years, and actually improved greatly in my lifetime with regards to opportunity. It will continue to do so whether women take it up, or not.

Women in chess are definitely treated unequally, and to their benefit. No one deserves a handout.
David Sprenkle David Sprenkle 6/2/2019 01:19
Women make up roughly 50% of the world's population, but make up a much, much smaller percentage of tournament chess players. That's not good for the long term health of the game. And, if we think chess has educational and social benefits, it's not good for women.

We can continue down the road advocated by most of the (male) respondents below--which is basic benign neglect.Or we can try something more radical: the equivalent of the U.S. "Title IX," allocating nearly equal resources to grow the womens' game, just as nearly equal resources were allocated to grow Women's athletics. Not long after the U.S. implemented the Title IX policy, the women's national athletic teams started performing at a much higher level. Resources make a difference.
chessdrummer chessdrummer 6/1/2019 09:42
Women have a favorable option. Paehtz can compete in "men's tournaments" as well. Of course, there is no such thing as a "men's tournament", but there are "women's tournaments" which many women exclusively play in and stagnate between 2400-2550 level. Playing 2400-2550 women is the same as playing 2400-2550 men, but obviously, playing 2400-2550 players (men or women) is not the same as 2700-2850. They are not equal. Paehtz is offering a false equivalence. I don't think she would appreciate 2200-2350 player asking for equal conditions of 2400-2550. Why is she doing it here?
Pieces in Motion Pieces in Motion 6/1/2019 06:30
Another Yifan Hou moment. Makes one wonder.
identity777 identity777 6/1/2019 02:39
Just posted this article, it gives Chessbase a mention.
mrstillwater mrstillwater 6/1/2019 12:42
While I have absolutely nothing against Ms. Paehtz I have to agree with KevinC - someone who isn't even ranked in the top 1000 in the world complaining because sponsors aren't offering her equal opportunities to those in the top 10 or top 100 is a little ridiculous. She's not asking for equality or fairness, in fact the exact opposite.
Bondefanger Bondefanger 6/1/2019 10:21
A civil explanation of their differing positions by both parties. Nothing to rage about here. (Right, internet?)
KevinC KevinC 5/31/2019 11:10
So an IM, who is ranked 62nd in her own country, throws a hissy fit.

Women's chess is just not a strong a product, and I wonder what would happen if the #61 player in Germany threw a fit. I think I know: A nice, "don't the the door hit you in the behind on the way out".
chessgod0 chessgod0 5/31/2019 10:24
@ Lilloso

How so?
Lilloso Lilloso 5/31/2019 10:17
The statement of the German Chess Federation sounds a bit hypocritical.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 5/31/2019 09:16
Much ado about nothing.
Dorado Dorado 5/31/2019 08:11
There should not be tournaments for women at all why should there?
There are no tournaments for men only.
There is an open tournament for both men and women and that is all there should be.
The WGM, WIM, WFM titles should also be scratched.
savantKing99 savantKing99 5/31/2019 07:57
I other words the German Chess Federation (DSB) doesn't give any .. on Elisabeth Paehtz! What the .. Realy the DSB has to be ashamed for such treatment!! This is really painful.
chessgod0 chessgod0 5/31/2019 07:29