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If the question "Why is there a women's world (chess) championship?" is intended to mean the same as "Why must there be a women's world championship?", then the answer ought to be just that "there doesn't need to be one; some people just wanted one." I don't see why this is criticized as if it's illegitimate. Suppose top 100 players in the world had a mean rating of 2650 and that the top 100 players in the USA had a mean rating of 2450. Would this make a US Chess Championship illegitimate? The same goes for all kinds of distinctions -- by age, grade level, geography, federation, et cetera, even for racial and/or ethnic groups, as ridiculous as that may sound. There's no absolute need to have these particular distinctions, but that's not the same thing as saying we cannot legitimately have them.
The issue of whether or not it's wisest for women to play in women-only events, for purposes of their chess development (i.e. the argument that they will face weaker competition), is a separate question from the issue of whether women can legitimately have such events.
I think this help for make women noticible, and not for a gender issue, maybe it is more related to the fact that women have been for a long time confined to the house and children. I think that with time they will make their way to the top and that day the two world championships will be unified in only one.
I partially agree with batgirl and partially disagree.
The part I disagree about is the "misperception of fairness". Unlike many of the posters, I don't see any fundamental reason why women should play stronger or weaker than men. I have heard many of the arguments and I just don't agree with them. I agree with the sentiment "that which encourages participation is good for women's chess" but struggle internally with the apparent contradiction that officially sanctioned women-only tournaments/titles gives the appearance of an official position that women don't play as well.
For those linguists out there, is this irony? In order to achieve a certain aim, one takes an action which has the appearance of being opposite? If not, what is it?
It does seem a bit ironic, but also kind of wrong. It sounds like they keep men seperate from women to keep women interested which sounds odd. But then since the number of men outnumber the women I suppose they keep things seperate to spread the wealth?
I think we (and by we i am referring to the specific group of women who play chess) as a whole need a women's championship. The reason being is that men tend to be stronger at chess because they have MORE players who are male.
If more women were to play and the ratio of male to female were say even 35% to 65% or closer to 50-50 then yes mixed championships would probably be plausible. As it stands, we should seperate the titles for the time being and at least promote chess to a wider female audience.
Once we gain a broader female audience can we rid of the championship and possibly create two championships. One for mid level players and one for grand masters etc =]
I don't think that the Women's World Champion, Hou Yifan, has anything about her that makes her deserve more attention than a male equally rated to her. Unless you want to look at rarity as a concrete attribute, which I really don't, at all! If she was born a man, she wouldn't get nearly as much attention, so she can consider herself lucky that not only was she able to become really good, she won the coin toss too, and that's the vital part. If you lose that, you have to work harder for equal attention. It's so unfortunate that society is that way -- that when a beautiful woman achieves something it's suddenly better. So superficial.
You don't promote something by giving a group an unfair advantage; you promote it by giving this group words of encouragement! I have never understood why we have to have a bias towards something (giving women something easier) in order for it to count as encouragement. I think you can, and should, encourage someone, while remaining unbiased!
Well, clearly, such tournament exist in order to encourage female participation and interest in chess, overall.
It's not a question of "whether the world :needs: it or not (in general)", since women want it to be held, it is quite ok and I don't see a problem with it. If I were a woman though (now there's a thought experiment), I would still decline participating in such an event, as it would imply that I was unable to compete on par with men just because of my gender.
As someone already mentioned, similar world championships could be held, in principle, for any minority group (not necessarily a minority group in general, but a minority group in chess circles)... though I think they wouldn't be given as much credit as the female world championship gets. I mean, how do you assume the public would respond to a "gay chess world champion" (or black or ... ) or something if such a thing existed as a formal title? Do you think such events would have been covered by press or top chess websites? Do you think people (other than the minorities in question) would cheer for them and encourage them to play in these separate events?
I think that part of the reason that the male players :are: interested in the outcome of female tournaments is, well... because we like seeing beutiful smart women playing chess, as simple as that ;) ... so the whole thing has more layers than what meets the eye (I think)
"I think that part of the reason that the male players :are: interested in the outcome of female tournaments is, well... because we like seeing beutiful smart women playing chess,"
And that's too bad. I have just as much respect for a male 2000 player as a female 2000 player. Now, I might give her an extra look or two, but who wouldn't? Especially since a female would be so distinct in a chess tournament.
But that's as far as it should go: I wouldn't give her unfair advantages that reward her more than males equally rated.
If we want to encourage females to play, I think it's more sensible to just have a female chess club or interest group; why do we have to give them unfair advantages? Is it so important that we keep them happy that we neglect the fundamental value of working hard to improve? It's just a huge slap in the face to all the guys out there who work so hard to get to a master rating, but are ignored because they're not a grandmaster.
Well, I have witnessed on many occasions the wrong 'implementation' of gender equality, so to say... I'm mostly doing computer science (though I've had other interests, as well) - and it's quite a common practice when organizing summerschools for kids to accept ALL female participants (because they are so few) in order to achieve something close to 50-50% gender distribution... which is, of course, :very: unfair to those guys who were hoping to come and otherwise would if not for the gender-biased selection... personally, I disagree with this practice, but I've seen it happen many times... and it reminds me of this discussion... since it is definitely true that girls and women in general are not as interested in computers/math/physics as guys and then they often get favorable treatment.
Of course, this is nothing compared to the earlier centuries of discrimination, but it is still :wrong: ... I think the only morally correct way of going about it is just to let ability decide everything... Going back to the discussion thread, I am not so much worried by the female championships as by the separate titles. Unlike the championship itself, which makes no assumptions about playing strength, titles like WGM downgrade what it means to be a grandmaster (or any equivalent lower title which has its counterpart) ... I mean, what it says is "you're a very strong female chess player, but not a very strong chess player in general" and that is more of an insult than a compliment. (from my point of view)
Except it is much more impressive when a woman gets a 2000 rating than a man doing the same. Putting aside any genetic differences, just look aronud at what the culrtual expect values for women are and the norms peer pressure attempts to confirm them into. No one is really too shocked when men spend years of their life playing chess, poker, sports, living out of hotels and generally-aside from their specific profincies-having little worth to society. While a woman could be under much pressure from her own family to waste her time creating her own family and divert time from pursuing a championship, to mention one specific example. I say its a waste and a shame because any woman can have a family, not any woman could be champ....if you got the talent you gotta go for it.
Edit:My point is the woman overcame greater obstacles mental and otherwise to reach her goal. So the same goal+greater obstacles=she worked harder, more talent, whatever. It equals more impressive, IMHO.
I would also like to point out once again as earlier stated in this topic, but the World Championship IS NOT restricted to men.
Yes, the World Championship is not restricted to men but there isn't a "no-women-allowed" tournament either, right? The fact that it would amount to the same thing most of the time is irrelevant. I think we are mostly discussing the principle here (the fairness of it all).
I mean, if there were men-only top tournaments, I would expect equality activists to immediately raise their voices and stop it from ever happening, calling it primitive and discriminative, etc. Right? Or do you not see it going down that way?
As for the social implications, I am quite certain that a guy who gives his life to chess and spends most of his time studying and playing it is not gonna be popular with girls (there was even a recent thread about this in the forum) - also, you can bet that his father is gonna tell him he's an idiot not to invest his time into something bringing in more money... and yeah, he's not gonna be the most popular guy in male circles either... not as if he were playing sports or studying to be a doctor or whatever... so, there is social pressure in both cases. It is just that men care less about what :other people think: than women. For them, being accepted by their peers is, on average (every generalization has its exceptions, so does this one) more important.
I was addressing the topic at large, not calling out the poster above me in specific. Sorry if it looked like i was aiming at you :-)
Sure it would go down that way, as i just said it possible for a woman to be world champ and ive seen people make posts griping about how women are being held back from that title. Actually i think its kind of sexist itself to have womens only events also, sexist against men i mean. Either people advocate full equallity or they advocate segregation, you cant have it both ways.(Or maybe you can??)
That is a complete assumption.
I see what you're saying, and to some extent, it may be true -- social standards can be influential; just think of how many guys might have long hair if it wasn't expected for them to have short hair.
However, I have a few problems with your argument:
1. As I said, are you not just assuming that all females are at a distinct disadvantage? It might seem natural in your brain, but is there sufficient evidence to back it up?
2. Although the norm might be that women don't like to spend as much time with the game, what about the women that do? Surely there are exceptional women out there that do want to devote their lives to the game? Wouldn't you then agree that for those women, they are at no disadvantage? I say just praise every human being that puts in the time to achieve a high chess rating; why does it matter what gender they are? Why don't we stop making premature assumptions that because someone is a woman and they're playing chess that they worked harder?
3. Even if your hypothesis was proven to be correct, does it justify action as extreme as giving women an unfair advantage? As I have said, I think it's more sensible to do something a bit less radical, like promote interest groups for female chess players.
Folks, chess isn't only about who is the best and it's not only about the top 10 players in the world. Believe it or not, it's not only about perfect play nor only winning. Chess is about playing. The things that motivate people to play in tournaments while facilitating and encouraging further pariticpation, should never be denigrated nor maligned, especially simply because it affronts someone's misconception of fairness.
It isn't so important for women to play against men as it is for women to play.
I used to feel that women-specific tournaments somehow lessened chess and held women back. I've done a 180. Chess is about playing and for whatever reasons, although women can compete against men (successfully or unsucessfully) many prefer to play only other women and live within that minor environment (i.e. knowing their titles, etc. are comparatively less significant - WGM vs. GM, eg.). Without this system, many of these women would just not play.
This is probably the best argument I've ever read for holding women-only events and titles, and I like batgirl's motivation for holding this point-of-view (that it is important for women to play chess, not just to play against men, and that winning/rankings aren't what ultimately matter).
However, I must respectfully confess that I ultimately disagree with her final conclusion. Perhaps someday I will perform a 180 similar to batgirl's, but currently, I hold her original viewpoint that women's-only tournaments tend to hold women back (although I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say it lessens chess itself).
This point has already been mentioned a thousand times, but I'll repeat it for the sake of clarifying my own post: having a separate women's title, for which men are unable to compete, implies that women are naturally inferior chess players.
But, I'd like to focus on batgirl's original point, that it is more important for women to play, than it is for them to play against men - because that's a very important point, and one I don't want to lose sight of.
I don't think women, if thrown together with men, are always going to lose. We have to remember that no one, not Kasparov or Karpov or Fischer, starts out at the top. They learn the moves, play against similiarly rated opposition, and gradually grow into a top player.
Currently, we tend talk about the top women and the top men as though they would play each other in mixed events. Almost as if we would expect Hou and Humpy to compete against Carlsen, Kramnik, and Aronian if mandatory mixed events were to be introduced tomorrow.
(I'm not saying anyone has suggested or claimed this - I don't think anyone has, but it's just a vibe I get reading through the posts as they compare the top male and female players, so I want to address it for clarity's sake, in case there are some people who view the situation this way)
Obviously, this would not be the case. 2500-rated men would play 2500-rated women, 2600-rated men would play 2600-rated women, and the 2700-rated men would play Judit Polgar (). As 2500-rated women (and men) improved to 2600 and 2700, they would then begin to play the 2700-rated men.
Obviously, this kind of improvement is not going to happen overnight. But I fear if women don't start accepting that they are capable of winning at the highest levels, this improvement isn't going to happen at all. However, I again digress from batgirl’s original point.
Getting back on track, the idea is that women would always lose mixed events to men, if only because of the population difference between men and women in chess. This result would theoretically discourage women from playing the game and competing.
First, I disagree with the premise that women would always lose to men. A classic case of this is Judit Polgar, who in 1988 and 1990 won the World Youth Boys championships (Under-12 and Under-14, respectively), when she was the only girl competing against the boys. I believe the best player has the best chance of winning, regardless of whether they belong to a subset of 1 or 99.
Now, let's suppose that the boys always did win (after all, Judit Polgar has regrettably become "The exception that proves the rule," hasn't she?). Would this outcome really discourage women from competing? For example, if I play in a tournament with 99 other players, one of whom is a woman (I'm a guy, by the way, just to keep everything clear) - and I lose, do I somehow still share in the victory because I'm a man? Put another way, does another man's victory earn me any more prize money or encouragement than it does the lone women in the field? Neither of us receives a prize, so neither of us should be any more or less encouraged/discouraged by the result.
Now, to be fair, I'm not a woman, and not a chess community minority. So, I don't know exactly what a woman would feel in those circumstances, and perhaps I'm off-base. If I am, batgirl and the other ladies of chess.com are welcome to correct me - they obviously are far more expert on that subject than am I. But, I just don't see where the math and logic of the situation of not winning a tournament would discourage a single woman any more than one of the 99 men.
To sum up:
· If women want to hold women-only events, if it helps them enjoy the game the same way a ladies-only book club helps some women enjoy reading, then I'm all for it.
· BUT, if individual women want to be taken seriously as chess professionals, they can't shelter themselves in these women-only "clubs." They are going to have to earn respect the "Judit Polgar" way, the hard way, by working hard and competing against the best at every opportunity. They need to prove they are great players, not just "great for a woman."
Just my thoughts. Feel free to critique, as I'm sure there's lots of room for correction, given my unfamiliarity with what motivates a woman!
And as a side note to batgirl, I really hope you don't mind me disagreeing with you on this subject, because I really admire a lot of your posts, your articles, research, etc., and I hope I didn't write anything off-base here to offend you or any other women that hold your stance on this subject. I really do like and admire your rationale for the position you hold on this subject! Ultimately, I just disagree with it, is all, and I hope I did so in a respectful manner …
The world's chess championship is just that; the best in the world compete against each other and that should be irrelevent of gender specifics; which it is. Based on this simple fact alone; there shouldn't be a women's only chess chamionship. The mere fact there is says only one thing; women chess players feel like they can't compete against males chess players; presumably because they feel they aren't as good! This is hogwash; totally! When I lose against an opponent, whether that opponent is black, gay or even female; I don't think to myself; " I was only beaten because my opponent was gay, " etc; no, no, no! I think I was beaten by a better player on the day; no matter of the colour of his skin, his/her gender or sexual preferences.
If a male and female both practised for a 1000 hours before playing each other, then played each other and the male won, could the female say; " well he has only beaten me because he is male? " No, she bloody well can't! It means going back to the ' drawing board ' and analysing her games, then practicing some more, then playing him again and again and again until she beats him.
Yes, females are the fairer sex and they like all things pink and fluffy. That's fine; nothing wrong with that. However, chess is a game that doesn't request neither pink, nor anything fluffy; what it does request though is practice.
Chess is about mental ability, mental strength, mental endurance, mental agility. No where in any chess book that I have ever read, does it say that to be good at chess, one has to be built like Mr schwarzenegger; so with the physical aspect taken out of the equation; the mental aspect dominates.
Judit Polgár is an inspiration for all wannabe female chess players and I for one; am totally fascinated by her abilities over the chess board. In rapid chess she has beaten nine current or former world champions in either rapid or classical chess: Anatoli Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Boris Spassky, Vasily Smyslov, Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexander Khalifman, and Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Isn't this impressive ladies? For sure it is!
Oh and if any lady reading this, wants to take her frustrations out on me over the chess board; feel free to challenge me...
No seriously; I am not very good as yet and need mucho practice, but feel free to whup my backside into submission!
This response wasn't meant to disrespect anyone; it's simple a ' tongue-in-cheek ' response. Nothing more; nothing less.
I tend to agree almost completely with Iofthe HungarianTiger. Women should be allowed their own tournaments, titles, whatever, if they want it or feel it necessary. But to be taken seriously as a chess player, all participants must see themselves as nothing but chess players (as Daz-Batty -no relation- pointed out). Other than sharing some prize money, women events inflict no loss on male players any more than say a beauty contest for Irish-Jewish American girls only would inflict a loss on perhaps an objectively more beautiful and talented Slavic-Scandinavian girl who wasn't allowed to compete.
Ladies have been making great strides in chess since the days of Graff-Stevenson and Menchik, even since the days of Lisa Lane and Nona Gaprindashvili, but all these strides, I feel, owe their existance to the ever increasing (though still statistically minor) pool of women players. As the pool of women players expands to a more equitable level, I tend to think the value females place on separate events and titles with decrease proportionately - even though women have certain issues and societal responsibitities than often differ from those of men and really can affect how they approach competitive chess. The bottom line seems to be that chess must be fun as well as challenging.
As the pool of women players expands to a more equitable level, I tend to think the value females place on separate events and titles with decrease proportionately - even though women have certain issues and societal responsibitities than often differ from those of men and really can affect how they approach competitive chess.
I would differ here. I started studying the game when I was in college. I didn't start pre-teen or teen. There are no "issues", or "societal responsibilities" that precluded me from becoming a class C player(in my guesstimation). Just effort and focus. So I don't see how gender plays a role in how women approach competative chess. I think each individual chooses how much effort they wish to put into understanding and competing in this game.
Did Kasparov take off years from competitive chess to care for his children? I guess it wasn't required that Polgar did or the Kasparov didn't, but that's not usually how things work.
Did Kasparov take off years from competitive chess to care for his children? I guess it wasn't required that Polgar did or the Kasparov didn't, but that's not usually how things work.
Society didn't demand these people to have children. Each individual makes their own choices, which is why it is absurd for men to take credit for individuals who happen to be men, who have put in the effort necessary to compete at high levels of this game. And I'm certainly not going to be an apologist for women who don't put in as much effort, or lose interest in chess.
*Great, known masogynist adds his two bloody cents...*
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