Women’s chess: ‘It is not biology’

by Frederic Friedel
12/13/2021 – When Beth Harmon defeated a series of top male grandmasters, and then went on to wrest the title from Russian world champion Vasily Borgov, it was not real life. It happened in the Queen’s Gambit, a Netflix series that did more for chess than anything else in 2020. In reality, today there is not a single active female player in the top 100. But FIDE wants to change that, as the Guardian reports.

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The Netflix series drew vast new audience of people who became interested in the game. Beth Harmond became a household name, eponymous with female excellence in chess. But the reality, now that Hou Yifan of China, who is ranked 83rd in the world, has gone into semi-retirement and is focusing on academia (she is now a professor at Shenzhen University), there is not a single active woman’s player in the top 100. And only a handful in the top 1000.

Experts have sought explanations for the gender difference. In 2015 Nigel Short, vice president of FIDE, claimed in The Guardian that “men are hardwired to be better chess players than women, you have to gracefully accept that.” The greatest ever female player, Judit Polgar, who has a winning record against Nigel, told The Guardian: “It is not down to biology. It’s just as possible for a woman to become the best as any guy. But there are so many difficulties and social boundaries for women generally in society. That is what blocks it.”

The Guardian has taken up the subject in a November 29 story by Sean Ingle. In it, he reports that FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich is pushing hard to make the game more welcoming for women:

The organisation has designated 2022 as ‘Year of Woman in Chess’, however Dvorkovich accepts more can be done to help women progress to the very top. “Around 13-14 years old we find that girls leave while boys continue to play in large numbers,” he adds. “We need to change that. Personally I would also like to see more women in the top 10. But chess is not just about professional play.

And Judit Polgar: she points out the attitudes among most men have shifted from an era when the legendary world champion, Bobby Fischer, used to dismiss women players as “terrible”, telling them to “keep strictly to the home”. She says

“Nowadays most of the top players would not dare even to say – or even to think that way, Fischer was the most ridiculous. And another world champion, Garry Kasparov, also said some things because he grew up in that kind of environment.

“But when I came in the picture, and I was torturing Garry at the board, little by little he transformed his vision. So this is what I’m saying: many people think that people - or the community - cannot change. But it is possible.”

Read the full story "'It is not biology’: Women’s chess hindered by low numbers and sexism" in the Guardian

Also read

You cannot say we have ignored the subject of gender difference in chess. Here are the articles we published in the last ten years. Anyone want to make a scientific paper on it?

Amanda Chen: Addressing Sexism in Chess: A Guide to Making Chess More Inclusive
4/13/2021 – Nature or nurture? Much more men play chess than women and with a rating of 2658 Hou Yifan is the world's number one women player but on the world ranking list she is on place 85. The numbers alone suggest that there is a gender gap in chess. But why? And how should the chess world deal with this situation? Amanda Chen, chess fan and a student of Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University shares a few observations and ideas.

Wei Ji Ma: What gender gap in chess?
10/15/2020 – If you want to compare chess achievements between men and women, writes Professor Wei Ji Ma of NYU, given their vastly unequal numbers, it is a very bad idea to focus on the top male and female players. If you do you will need to account for the participation gap using an analysis similar to the one he presents. Prof. Ma supplies the tools needed to refute the theory of female inferiority. 

Mint: Why women lose at chess
10/5/2020 – Mint, one of India’s premium business news publications, just published an article written by Omkar Khandekar focused on the rating gap between the top men and women chess players. The author wonders whether it has to do with conventional gender roles or unequal access. 

Investigating gender differences in chess pattern recognition
2/21/2020 – Here's an opportunity to support chess research. Tom Koolen bills himself as an "interdisciplinary data scientist" and a chess player, who's attempting to get a research project off the ground using the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe. Commentator WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni has promoted the project on social media.

Alexey Root: 'Women’s Chess' and equal footing
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.” 

David Smerdon: The best (and worst) countries to be a female chess player
5/4/2019 – Australian Grandmaster and Ph.D. in Economics DAVID SMERDON recently published a thorough analysis regarding how female participation rates differ across the world. The results are surprising: countries that rank higher in gender equality do not have a higher rate of female participation — quite the opposite, actually! The author suggests some hypotheses to explain this phenomenon. A must read. 

Wei Ji Ma: Women in chess: role of innate-ability beliefs
5/30/2015 – What could the chess world learn from problems in the academic world, with regard to the participation of men and women? This "gender gap" is much bigger in physics or music composition than in molecular biology or psychology. A recent study found what matters is whether people believe you need to be brilliant to succeed in the field. Prof. Wei Ji Ma tells us what this study might mean for chess. 

Frederic Friedel: Chess gender debate in the international press
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. 

Robert Howard: Explaining male predominance in chess
6/19/2014 – There are two theories to explain male predominance at the apex of intellectual achievement: some attribute it to some innate evolutionary ability differences, others to social factors of present-day society. Robert Howard of Sydney, Australia, has sent us the most profound and well-researched article we have seen on this subject – we urge everyone to read it.

Peter Zhdanov: Do Women Have a Chance against Men in Chess?
3/8/2012 – As we know all too well: most of the strongest players in the world are male. In the past we have speculated on the reasons for this gender discrepancy, with vigorous reader participation. On International Women's Day Peter Zhdanov, who is married to a very strong female player, provides us with some valuable statistics, comparing men and women on a country-by-country basis. Eye-opening. 

Editor-in-Chief emeritus 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.


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adbennet adbennet 12/16/2021 03:45
@MH64squares - This is my special talent on internet forums, to make people flip out and start flinging insults. It's not even my intention, perhaps this is part of what's so maddening?! Anyway I have taught many after-school chess classes for various ages. At elementary level it is about 50% girls, but just as Dvorkovich indicated (and I am sure FIDE has good data on this) suddenly at the early teens they just about all quit. I have my own opinions about why this happens, but I will not say what I think lest there be more flame-throwers. I'm just a guy who has taught and observed many mixed gender chess classes, I must not know anything? Okay, let's wait for some studies, although from what I see the ones with the flame-throwers don't flinch at trying to toast the scientists.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 12/15/2021 10:44
I agree with you, especially regarding your observation that answers probably differ greatly from culture to culture and your doubts about all anekdotical, preconceived evidence presented here. However, you seem a bit negative about possibilities to get answers. It might be difficult to get controlled data, but at least that should be tried in the first place.
Many federations do have data about when adherents start and stop to play (organized) chess, and whether they are male or female. That should at least give an idea whether the problem is real or just perceived (if 10% of 5 girls or 10% of 50 boys keep playing, the first may seem an issue, the latter not).
For 'academically credentialed sociologists' it should be possible, per federation (to take in account the cultural aspect), to produce a smart questionnaire, with the necessary control groups etc. to find out why (if so) more girls leave chess then boys. I'm not a sociologist and academically credentialed, but that should be their bread and butter. Then you might produce strategies to get more girls to play, maybe targetting the relatively 'autistic' and 'unable to get a boyfriend' girls that to some seem to be the main puddle to fish in...
By the way, Smerdon's research is quite reveiling.
MH64squares MH64squares 12/15/2021 04:24
This is a question that involves our incomplete understanding of the brain, and complex sociological interactions which vary greatly from culture to culture across the world. And like all such questions, it is impossible to obtain controlled data. And therefore, we see individuals drawing conclusions about the social activities of 13 year year old girls based on their personal observations and biases and thinking that it illuminates the issue, and proceeding to treat different points of view with hostility and arrogance. Such is human nature, and such is the trend in the world today. Any academically credentialed sociologist would have nothing but derision for the arguments presented here. It will remain an unanswered question for a long time.
fede666 fede666 12/15/2021 04:01
blaming "male toxicity" for EVERYTHING that women do not like, do not pursue, have no interest in... you also should include do not have succes with....
Fry2 Fry2 12/15/2021 02:08
There are many possible reasons for people not to seek competition. I enjoy solving chess puzzles and playing (jointly with my son) against an engine. I'm neither good enough nor willing to invest the time to do real competitive events. My daughter is not interested at all. I don't see a big problem with that.
But what I DO see as a big problem: blaming "male toxicity" for EVERYTHING that women do not like, do not pursue, have no interest in.

Also, especially with chess: it is a WAR game. Everybody will agree that being beaten badly, starting from an own blunder, is emotionally hard. You should only pursue this activity if you are ready to live through this. People who are willing to whine about "social boundaries" - while at the same time getting the red carpet rolled out in the form of special events just for them - should reflect a little more what they are saying. Including Judit Polgar, who I admire for her chess achievements and capabilities but not for her statements regarding the topic discussed here.

BTW, blaming others for no real reason is what I would regard as inappropriate and "toxic".
HolaAmigo HolaAmigo 12/15/2021 12:05
As usual, the wrong question thrown on an audience full of men with inflated egos.


If you wanr anything positive to come out of a discussion on this topic, ask the right question, tackle the real problem. If you come up with a strategy and good measures, you might have more women play, and probably thereafter more men too.

In my many years in chess, the Polgars and "queen gambit" have had a positive effect in bringing women to chess.I believe extra titles and competition among women are positive, as they have been in other sports; in spite of the envy men feel.

The attitude of many men deters women. Debates and comments like most bellow this comment, the debate in this article itself.

So, please, if you do want to find out about the capacities of women in chess, first make them play. Make as many women as men play, All sorts of women, not just the stuborn heroes. Get a good sample for your statistics.
Fry2 Fry2 12/15/2021 07:05
Chess is not about biology, but it is definitely about not blaming others for yozr failure to win.
MH64squares MH64squares 12/15/2021 01:20
Wow, tonguep. that was a really rude and arrogant tone.
tonguep tonguep 12/14/2021 08:04
adbennet wrote: "tonguep wrote: "It's not like men are kicking the women out of the computer labs and chess clubs."

The men may think that. As long as they do, the women will continue to leave."

Leave what? Leave the computer lab? Leave the chess club? They don't sign up for that shit in the first place because they have more interesting things to do with their lives at that age. They have older guys who are obsessed with them who want to drive them around and show them a good time and be in a relationship with them. This does not exist for straight young men. I'm sorry that this reality is so upsetting to you that you need to remain in denial of obvious reality, but young girls don't exactly flock to the computer lab to do computer programming the way young men do. That is just a fact and pretending that it isn't true makes you look absolutely pathetic and like a complete moron.
adbennet adbennet 12/14/2021 05:23
@MH64squares - Bad math on my part!
fede666 fede666 12/14/2021 03:32
I don't like the fact that chess is being portrayed as a sexist game in some media (The Guardian for example)..the equation is simple: since women do not have the same results as men, then there has to be discrimination...as far as I know everybody is free to play chess and to play in tournaments...if women on average are not as good as men maybe they could try a little harder..nobody is preventing anybody to play better chess moves...try to improve, don't blame something else ...
daftarche daftarche 12/14/2021 03:10
what annoys me more than anything else when it comes to these topics are all these patronizing males who treat females as helpless innocent victims that need to be told what to do and how we should give them more opportunities and the reason they aren't better is because of our bad social behavior. If only we had treated them equally we would have had at least 8 female world champions instead of all 16 male world champions.
e-mars e-mars 12/14/2021 02:20
@Peter I never said there's a biological difference between men and women when it comes to chess. There are differences - none can deny this truth - but studies more or less agree that they don't hinder the performance of women in chess competitions, neither in other intellectual fields: this is not the reason why they're not as successful as men. Unfortunately, Short's way to convey messages can be easily misinterpreted. What I think Short - completely far away from being an expert on this scientific topic - meant is that women have a different way to approach life and interests. My personal view is that women - statistically speaking - end up being interested in different things. One common comment I often heard from women is that "why so much dedication to a completely pointless mind game" (which is also the same from many men btw), a comment that some how I agree with (otherwise I could have spent much more time studying chess). Why is that? We don't really know. Should we care? Maybe, maybe not. Is it all men's fault that women end up being less interested in chess? I don't think so. I think it's perfectly normal that women like to excel in disciplines where their effort pays off in more pragmatic, visible, useful ways e.g. math, physics, science, politics, education etc. Chess is pointless... Social boundaries are everywhere so at the end of the day why putting so much effort in pointless mind games?

@adbennet No evidence on supporting your idea to "split the pie". Susan and Judit just parted ways because of irreconcilable difference of opinions. The third sister just left the scene (she never became GM btw). You may also remember the scandal involving Susan and the USCF. It is a key point to highlight that none of the three sisters followed their father's steps on educating their children by following the same method.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 12/14/2021 01:50
I've always wondered whether 'peer pressure' isn't a factor when it comes to girls in puberty age leaving chess - other girls and women making implicitly or explicitly clear that chess is not a thing for a 'normal' girl. Of course I have no proof (just as I don't know about any serious research on autism with boys playing chess, and how much that has to do with the assumed lack of relationships).
So, why couldn't FIDE organize a world-wide investigation on why young people stop with chess? Just make a small and smart questionnaire, to be send to all federations, to be distributed among clubs. If you want to know why something happens, you shouldn't just propose theories, you should do research first.
karban karban 12/14/2021 12:34
@Frederic, yes you could come up with reasons why girls quit chess, because for now this subject is somehow terra incognita even if it seems a critical juncture for players' careers.
Your 'revenge' theory about boys getting better just because they don't get enough attention - that's really raise an eyebrow - it sounds a bit superficial to me at first but well who knows if you can provide some broader context then maybe it can bring in important arguments to the discussion.
karban karban 12/14/2021 12:03
It's not about males/females being 'smarter'🤦 As a male, if forced to say, I would say that women are much more pragmatic in life, so you can say that they are more intelligent.
At the same time men have just a few traits which helps them to engage in war-like environment including war games like chess. That's it.
Why do you want to force women to play chess, if, reaching the puberty, they don't find it interesting?
It's sad to conclude that even having mathematical ratings for several decades which shows small but stable difference, we still kind of force women to be 'equal' to men on subject which is simply favourable for males. That's crazy. That's like comparing two football teams, one with 11 players, second with 10 players and keep wondering why the latter loses 90 games out of 100.
Let's choose some subject which requires a bit more multitasking and males are going to fold like a piece of paper😉
Frederic Frederic 12/14/2021 11:05
@tonguep: "girls start getting a lot of attention from guys around age 13-14, whereas young men are getting zero attention from girls." I have seen exactly that happen a dozen time, to very talented young girls, during their most formative years. Boys flock around a pretty 16-year-old and offer her all kinds of alternative pastimes. But I have rarely seen a 16-year-old boy being picked up by a 19-year-old girl with a car and money and ideas for entertainment outside of chess. And they often compensate -- wreak revenge -- by becoming very good at chess. It is one factor that is generally ignored in the gender debate. Maybe I should write about my experience with superbly talented girls being enticed away from the game...
Frederic Frederic 12/14/2021 10:51
adbennet adbennet "I remember some other chessbase articles that did not make your list here." Please give me a list and I will add them. This article was intended to have archive character. Also there are a couple more coming -- if readers can take additional gender pieces.
Gerald C Gerald C 12/14/2021 09:22
“It is not down to biology. It’s just as possible for a woman to become the best as any guy. But there are so many difficulties and social boundaries for women generally in society. That is what blocks it.” (Judit Polgar). I find her explanation a bit simplistic.
loveroflife loveroflife 12/14/2021 09:02
The comment section here is hilarious. I cannot believe it.

Men are not generally smarter or wiser than women. If one wanted to prove this, the burden would be upon them (and not the other way round). Just because there are no women in the top 100, this does not prove this assumption. Gender differences can also occur because of education, upbringing and socialization.

Educate yourself and leave your sexist and patriarchal world behind. Listen to women, read books on the struggle of women.

@tonguep: Polgar beat Kasparov in 2002 (Rapid).
dumkof dumkof 12/14/2021 08:07
Gender categorisation in chess is nonsense and sexist. Chess is not a physical sports, it's a brain game after all. Some may argue that strength and stamina is also important in chess, yes ok, but this applies for individuals with same sexes as well. Do we have different weight catagories because of that, no! So why having gender catagories?
Zagliveri_chess Zagliveri_chess 12/14/2021 08:00
It is always rewarding to a news outlet or a politician to return to a controversial topic at the aftermath of an important event or when approval ratings slump. Championship games are over, lets talk about gender to avoid the lull. And you all get the bite. Amazing!
Nite Moves Nite Moves 12/14/2021 06:19
Hey Fred, read the book or actually see the movie before making a claim that Beth Harmon won the WC from Vasily Borgov. It was one chess game, ONE! A swiss tourney. She didn't wrestle anything away from him. Stop sensationalizing fiction as facts and do your due diligence as a journalist - you hack!
MH64squares MH64squares 12/14/2021 03:54
I'm sorry adbennet, but you made a serious error in your windspeed argument.

"the winds are above 2 meters per second. That's 0.144 km/hr, not a strong wind at all!"

In fact, 2 m/s given that there are 3600 seconds in an hour, amounts to 7.2 km/hr, quite a lot more than what you quoted. This doesn't complete invalidate your arguments, but it does call your seriousness into question.
SermadShah SermadShah 12/14/2021 03:39
Women have their emotions dominant over wisdom, decision making etc. Which is a good thing for men .. . . ..Whereas men have their wisdom dominant on emotions.

It is a forecast for end times that men and women will have have altered mind i.e men will decide keeping their emotions dominant over wisdom and women will decide keeping wisdom dominant. So there will be a woman world champion in future.
adbennet adbennet 12/14/2021 03:31
tonguep wrote: "It's not like men are kicking the women out of the computer labs and chess clubs."

The men may think that. As long as they do, the women will continue to leave.
Ajeeb007 Ajeeb007 12/14/2021 02:54
It's simple. Men are generally smarter than women.
tonguep tonguep 12/14/2021 02:02
The title of this article is "It's not biology" but there is zero argument presented in this article that there is not a biological basis for sexual disparities in chess ability/achievement.

“Around 13-14 years old we find that girls leave while boys continue to play in large numbers,”

That probably is related to the fact that girls start getting a lot of attention from guys around age 13-14, whereas young men on the autism spectrum (future chess masters) are getting zero attention from girls. Most young people probably consider sex more interesting than chess, but romantic relationships aren't an option for the guys, so they pursue other things. The same thing applies to programming/computer nerds. It's not like men are kicking the women out of the computer labs and chess clubs.

"But there are so many difficulties and social boundaries for women generally in society. "

As the other commenter said,
"There are already several incentives which give women unequal, superior treatment i. e. possibilities for applying for both women's and open titles, competing in both women and open tournaments, prizes for best women in open tournaments."

There are enormous incentives for women to pursue STEM and anything tech-related, in the business world and in academia, and most do not. Because they pursue other things that are more interesting to them.

"I was torturing Garry at the board" - Judit Polgar
She lost every single game she played against Kasparov.
goran72 goran72 12/14/2021 01:42
Gender equality is absolute nonsense. Chess is war, women are not created for war.
adbennet adbennet 12/14/2021 01:05
@Frederic Friedel: I remember some other chessbase articles that did not make your list here.
adbennet adbennet 12/14/2021 01:04
e-mars wrote: "And if you really, really think about it, only Judit is the successful of the three. Susan joined the wagon of the "women-only titles and tournaments" a long time ago, blending in with the mass. Third sister abandoned chess aeons ago, so she doesn't count."

Really? Really, really? Think about this: Judit and Susan decided that as the two best women in the world it would be foolish to compete against each other, so they divided the pie in a way that gave the two of them the largest slices possible. For sure the best man in the world (in any field) makes some purely mercenary decisions, this is expected. As for Sofia, I well remember Rome 1991. Later she was a strong IM, perhaps such under-achievement (sarcasm) was simply middle child syndrome.
adbennet adbennet 12/14/2021 01:03
Arkady Dvorkovich said: "Around 13-14 years old we find that girls leave while boys continue to play in large numbers."

Precisely. It is these "time outs" at different life stages which prevent large numbers of women from reaching their full potential in so many fields, including chess. If they take a time out because they find something better, then it's actually fine. But if they take a time out because of some adversity, then we really do need to make changes. Some adversities might be universal, where chess has a shared responsibility but somewhat limited opportunities to make changes. Other adversities might be particular to chess, and these should be rooted out. I hope 2022 can see some action on this front, because it would be very nice to see more teenage girls enjoying chess.

Judit Polgar said: "But there are so many difficulties and social boundaries for women generally in society." I think this is right. The deck is not completely stacked against women, but neither is it a level playing field. It is a question of headwinds and tailwinds. People with a tailwind will *completely* discount the benefit they receive compared to no wind, and further, people who only experience tailwinds will have *no conception* of just how fatiguing a persistent headwind would be. An amusing example is the 2011 Boston Marathon, where Geoffrey Mutai ran a course record 2:03:02 and afterwards stated he "didn't notice" any tailwind. And yet the statisticians know the effects, such that records are not allowed for outdoor sprint (i.e. short) running events when the winds are above 2 meters per second. That's 0.144 km/hr, not a strong wind at all!
KIva78 KIva78 12/14/2021 12:02
“But when I came in the picture, and I was torturing Garry at the board..."
Classical games: Kasparov +8 =3 -0 Polgar -8 =3 +0; Rapidplay: Kasparov +12 =4 -1 Polgar -12 =4 +1.
Some torture.
If women want to play with men, they can. FIDE should abolish all female titles and women can play in mixed events but not all-female ones. It would take a generation, and a lot of female players will see their money drop, but then we will see if they can compete at the highest levels. I don't think we can get around a simple general truth drawn from the social sciences: simply, men are more interested in things, and women are more interested in people. This is good for both sexes.
Peter B Peter B 12/13/2021 11:53
e-mars, you can't dismiss the Polgars just because their family was an experiment. If men were biologically superior at chess, there is no way that Judit Polgar could have got into the top 1000, let alone the top 10. Try training a girl to make the top 10 in the 100m sprint or tennis; it's impossible because of the biological differences. Not so with chess. The Polgars (and others like Hou Yifan) show that there is no biological barrier to women being top level chess players.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 12/13/2021 11:46
Although I must say Polgar torturing Kasparov is a branch from the same tree. However, nr. 7 spot on the rankings, that says something statistically. There where certainly players worthy of the title 'primus inter pares', but she was one of the 'pares'.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 12/13/2021 11:40
Yeah, and my grandfather smoked 40 cigarettes a day and lived to be ninety.
Another world champion, Topalov, only had a 10-9 classical score against Polgar. Just pick out the right examples and you can prove anything.
fede666 fede666 12/13/2021 08:38
Classical games: Vladimir Kramnik beat Judit Polgar 14 to 0, with 11 draws.
Classical games: Garry Kasparov beat Judit Polgar 8 to 0, with 3 draws.

Polgar was a strong player but the results above speak clearly : not in the same league
Mr Toad Mr Toad 12/13/2021 08:22
"Nigel Short, vice president of FIDE, claimed that “men are hardwired to be better chess players than women, you have to gracefully accept that.”.

One hopes he has changed his stance since spouting such sexist nonsense in 2015. To hold such views as FIDE VP would be singularly inappropriate.

(incidentally his score against Judit Polgar is 8-3 ... in her favour)
Michael Jones Michael Jones 12/13/2021 08:00
@ArqueiroNegro: tortured sufficiently that he found it necessary to cheat in order to beat her.
karban karban 12/13/2021 07:45
Chess is a war game and this isn't welcomed by women generally. Quite similar to other esports.

There are already several incentives which give women unequal, superior treatment i. e. possibilities for applying for both women's and open titles, competing in both women and open tournaments, prizes for best women in open tournaments. What's more and next? Pawn odds?

Girls quit chess (and other games) around 13, despite abovementioned incentives, just because they don't find it interesting. Is it so difficult to comprehend?

And a seemingly paradoxical but logical thing is that the more "equal" country is, the less women will play chess because they are free to choose what is interesting for them and unfotunately chess simply isn't.

Regarding when we will have the next Judit, placing in top 10. That can happen randomly anytime, no matter how many female players we have. Look at Magnus, he came from nowhere, chesswise.