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Chess beauty contests: pros and cons

  • IM Vlad_Akselrod
  • | Sep 8, 2009
  • | 12165 views
  • | 27 comments

The Hindustantimes has been one of the numerous newspapers that has published an article on Vladislav Tkachiev's forfeit after being heavily drunk and falling asleep at a chess board. A truly grandmaster-level PR move! It's too bad that Toiletgate, drunk GMs & their fights over a pretty female chess player seem to be the only way for chess to make the news.

However, our topic today is different: beauty contests among women chess players. In the screenshot above you can see a mention of one of them, here's another story. Opinions on this subject differ: some people believe that such contests are an excellent way of promoting chess and chess players. Others point out that women should prove their strength and earn popularity over the board, not by posing for glamorous photo shoots. WGM Natalia Pogonina doesn't pay too much attention to such events. She finds them fun, somewhat provocative, but not that important.

And what's your opinion? Does it make sense to hold chess beauty contests? Please leave your comments here, vote in a poll, or even ask your friends what they think.

Comments


  • 9 months ago

    UndeadDraw

    musiclife wrote: "I have to say that I can see a point in many of your words.  Chess is a more worthy game than poker.  Fight fire with fire.  Let's get publicity and a better public image.  Otherwise, silly games of chance will be promoted more than an amazing game such as chess.  A beauty contest may not be the only way, but anything to attract more women, to show they are beautiful, and lethal over-the-board is going to get more publicity.  So a beauty sounds good to me now.

      Ultimately, however, I think that a game like poker is easier to lose at (aka FEELs better as a player) because you know it's due to chance, whereas losing at chess is pretty much your own fault.  That's a perception that needs to be fought as well."

     

    I agree with "that's a perception that needs to be fought" that chess is all skill and poker is all chance. In reality, both games are a mix of skill and chance. Chess is 90-99% skill and 1-10% chance (depending on the type of match/tournament--bullet/blitz/rapid/classic/correspondence/roundrobin/swiss/etc.). Poker is 60-80% skill and 20-40% chance (also depending on type of poker). That's why a chess world championship is settled by a series of games (historically, from as few as 6 to as many as 86 games). And why high level poker contests last from several thousand to 50,000 hands and can last from a few days to a year or longer. If chess were 100% skill, then 1 or 2 games would be enough to settle any championship match, and if poker were all chance, then week-long championship games would be a pointless waste if time.

    From a "worthiness" standpoint it should be noted that poker is the deeper, more complex game from mathematical, game theoretical, and psychological points of view. Chess is theoretically solvabale, and the top computers beat the top humans, whereas most poker forms are not mathematically solvable (even in theory) and the top computers are still weaker than the top humans.

    Both are great games, both have been around for centuries, both have great depth, both offer great challenge to competitive players, and both take a lifetimes to master. What poker offers that FIDE chess currently does not, is a reasonable chance for an average player to beat a master, from time to time. Perhaps that's a lesson that chess can learn. In the old days of chess, handicap games were quite common. In Japanese chess, handicaps are used all the time in amateur tournaments. Maybe if chess brought back the old handicaps, it would help boost popularity. (By handicaps I mean pawn-and-move odds, rook-knight exchange odds, knight odds, rook odds, and queen odds games.)

  • 3 years ago

    Dchessboychamp

    Chess!

  • 4 years ago

    panandh

    The black queen will win the beauty contest most likely

  • 5 years ago

    4m4z1ng

    the women should be required to play chess nude all the time

  • 5 years ago

    vampgirl101

    no

  • 5 years ago

    musiclife

    spelling, perhaps? :)

  • 5 years ago

    tonymtbird

    General_Lee "Well, theoretically, men and women are equal in intelligence and, therefore, should play chess equally well. Why should female players be famous only for their looks, and not for their OTB play?"

    the matter of females being of equal smarts is actually a hot scientific debate.  We know for a FACT that the brain of a man is a bigger percentage of his body weight then a womans, and also did you know that until the 1940's men scored SIGNIFICANTLY higher on IQ tests then women and the feminists movement changed that so that for a few years in the 40's women scored better, then the test changed again so that men and women scored equally.  I've taken several IQ test and I've never understood why history or the names of specific math formulas are included.  If math is to be on an IQ test shouldn't it be more of an abstract question?  And why does history have anything to do with intelligence?  It doesn't either you learned that little piece they are looking for you didn't....

    The only categories for an IQ test in my opinion should be:

    Logic

    Quick memory (20 seconds to memorize 20 things for example)

    Pattern recignition

    Spacial reasoning

    TRULY absract math

    hum did i miss anything?

  • 5 years ago

    idosheepallnight

    Id do em

  • 5 years ago

    BackBeatDrummer

    Can you introduce me to that other organism Jaguarphd?

  • 5 years ago

    magicalguy

         Why don't we just get a bunch of supermodels together and sit them down at a chess tournament?  We could give a 'smartest model' award to the winner.

  • 5 years ago

    Abhilash_007

     I think Woman are smarter than men

  • 5 years ago

    Abhilash_007

    Chess is a very beautiful game that can be played by also very beautiful people!.

  • 5 years ago

    BackBeatDrummer

    Chess is a very beautiful game that can be played by also very beautiful people. This combination can result in some very beautiful "positions"....which often lead to a very climatic mate, that is enjoyable for all. I for one support art in its many forms.

  • 5 years ago

    lighthouse

    I like chess babes . we need more of them. the ways off, man needs to change.

    and i think Woman are smarter than men. ie there take better care of the earth,and are more in tune with life .,,,,,,,,Besides,

    Chess is the goddess, game.....

  • 5 years ago

    musiclife

    I have to say that I can see a point in many of your words.  Chess is a more worthy game than poker.  Fight fire with fire.  Let's get publicity and a better public image.  Otherwise, silly games of chance will be promoted more than an amazing game such as chess.  A beauty contest may not be the only way, but anything to attract more women, to show they are beautiful, and lethal over-the-board is going to get more publicity.  So a beauty sounds good to me now.

      Ultimately, however, I think that a game like poker is easier to lose at (aka FEELs better as a player) because you know it's due to chance, whereas losing at chess is pretty much your own fault.  That's a perception that needs to be fought as well.

  • 5 years ago

    zankfrappa

             In today's society (at least in America) looks, beauty, and sex appeal have
    become extremely important (way too important).
             However, if chess is to compete against poker, in which last year's WSOP
    winner was televised on ESPN (which I watch every Tuesday from 8-10PM), the
    game HAS to promote sex appeal.  Last year's poker winner walked away with
    8 million dollars!!!  Wouldn't you like to see a male or female chess player on
    national TV walk away with that money?  Poker even has an element of luck so
    unknowns are beating professionals, chess is all skill.  WHY ISN'T CHESS ON ESPN(it has been rarely) and bringing in the cash?  SOCIAL PERCEPTION.  Chess
    is not cool in America like in other countries.
              Now there have been many male chess players with sex appeal as well.
    The ladies loved Capablanca, and many thought Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov were handsome and dashing as well.  What's wrong with that?  My
    favorite bodybuilder (former Mr. Universe) Frank Zane is 65 now and still looks
    incredible (go to his website, he is very intelligent and taught physics too).
    So men also parade on stage to be admired and adored by their fans every year.      We have just gone
    too far now because we put beautiful people on fake pedestals and worship them.
             The bottom line is chess is the greatest game of them all and should be
    promoted to the fullest extent so that the players make the money other games
    and sports are making.  As long as this is done tastefully I see nothing wrong with
    it.

  • 5 years ago

    General-Lee

    Well, theoretically, men and women are equal in intelligence and, therefore, should play chess equally well. Why should female players be famous only for their looks, and not for their OTB play?

  • 5 years ago

    Daiul

    I've always had a negative attitude over any form of beauty contest. To appreciate beauty is great but I don't enjoy the idea of having women parade down a catwalk or line them up so a bunch of drooling dogs can rate and compare them as if they were comparing cars, clothes or any form of other object that stimulate the male mind.  
    It sadly enforces that this is a male world were we can be a fat, physically unattractive pig in a suit and still be fairlly successful in any line of work we take (obviouslly not physical sports). Whilst on the other hand women have to worry about looking what is perceived by the majority to be beautiful. For that reason how women look should not be a factor of chess and nor should it be used to attract women to chess because it would make a game of art and beauty complete shallow filth.

  • 5 years ago

    gsorita

     for me its a good idea to have such a beauty contest for our lady players since we can show that they are not just with brains but also beautiful we can attract also the curiosity of the people towards chess players .We must be proud of our beautiful chess players such as judith polgar gM, pogonia, our very own agcaoili, russian beauties, also atousha of iran whom i always met before in abu dhabi,but they must be officially recognized as chess player not those who just know the basic chess moves so that who ever won  the contest is truly our queen!

  • 5 years ago

    PavleKosic

    Well its maybe ugly to say this way, but I really think that such kind of publicity can atract more girl to this game, because whatever they say every girl dream is to be famous. If they see that they can became famous while playing chess then chess will atract them more and more.

    I also think its much better that women and man chess is NOT separeted in any age. There is just no accepteble reason for doing that, in any other sport this women and man category are separeted because of the male phisical superiority, but mentaly we have same qualities and I dont see any reason why many people doesnt like the idea of mixed competions.

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