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Why is it that the majority of people who play chess are male and not female? Yes it depends where you live and how many play in your area but in general there are more males than females playing. If you disagree with this please let me know.
You might be interested in a book: The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain, by Simon Baron-Cohen. It's got its flaws, I'm sure, but he posits that there are two basic brain-types--a male brain-type and a female brain-type (while also noting that not all men have male brain-types, nor all women female brain-types: they're just types...). Anyway, according to Baron-Cohen, the male brain-type tends towards systemising, and the female brain-type tends towards empathising. His ultimate argument is that at the extreme end of the male brain-type starts the autistic spectrum.
So, in the present context, this could be of much interest. I think chess as a game gives more pleasure to systemisers (of which I'm definitely one--and one of those women with a systemising brain...). In particular, I think all that opening theory and the jargon is one area of pleasure for the systemising brain (like football league tables, or record collecting...).
This also ties in nicely with today's feature on stereotypes of chess players--particularly the one about chess players ebing less socially adept. You can see how systemising at the expense of empathisin, and chess, and social ineptitude might all walk hand in han. Of course it's loads more complicated than I'm implying here, but it's definitely an interesting question that leads to a total minefield!!
I do not think that social ineptitude and chess walk hand in hand. Chess is a two player game and is very much a social activity, although i can understand where that stereo type comes from. not all chess players are nerds. as for the boys verses girls issue I do believe that their is a psychological reasoning behind it. men do tend to be more logical and systematic than females but females can also be very logical and definitely do have the intelligence to compete with the males. Although it cant be denied that more males play than females. maybe its just a simple matter of males find it more enjoyable than women just a men seem to be more interested in war strategy than woman seem to be.
i was watching a program on Discovery Channel today about the differences between men and women. the program was presented by Desmond Morris. and he said the same thing as hutter wrote. men don't have to make strategic plans to hunt anymore now a days. so they compensate by playing chess or other strategic games. women don't need to do that. i think that's why less number of women play chess or other strategic games.
There are studies, which I'm sure can be found in just about any science journal somewhere, through the years showing that men tend to be more mathematically inclined. This is to say they tend to use this area of the brain more so for one reason or the other.
You can see this beyond chess by looking at vocations where math, and science are required. You will find that these two areas are also dominated by men. Chess can be broken down to simple math, which is what computers do when they appear to play. The game has also been compared to realms of science as well, though some also advocate it an art form.
It probably wouldn't be too surprising to find the area of the brain that is used for these other areas of interest are also utilized for chess. Thus, men tend to gravitate to it more so than women.
This is not to say that women are not a part of any of these other fields. It is simply a smaller number just like the percentage of women that play the game of chess. It is also important to point out that things change, and it is possible over time, that women will eventually use this same area of the brain as extensively as men.
Please note that women dominate in other areas that men do not for the same reasons. I believe women are considered to be stronger linguistically then men.
Yes, I definitely think women are stronger linguistically, one reason I agree with that is that I heard the women speak roughly twice as many words a day as men. I can't remember the figures exactly but its something like men speak 30000 words a day on average, and women speak about 60000 words a day on average! correct me if i'm wrong
I'm not saying there are no differences between sex, but on the intellectual level, all differences we thought existed are all being proved wrong one after another. Be it on the scientifical, political. literary, etc. level. Chess is still very much male dominated but again women are taking more and more place inceidentally as it becomes always mre and more "acceptable" for them in society.
You are saying it's a lack of maturity, but I think it's more that we thought there existed such diffrences for so long, but in recent years we have witnessed many of these "theories" crumble and they still are, so how can we reasonably come to serious conclusions in that way when every day, datas change towards disproving these so-called conclusions?
I'm not talking about the dissolution of previous theories, or the testing of present-day theories. I am saying that it is taboo to even suggest certain hypotheses to explain the differences we observe. Until every reasonable hypothesis can be stated without outcry and censure, we will lack knowledge.
P.S. I work at a public aquarium, and the marine biology field is definitely dominated by women!
Yes but in the case we are talking about, I think most "outcries" are more rational and reasonable than the theories because these theories often lack relevant and reliable data. Of course, there is always the feminists and other "too proper" people who will be there to look ridiculous and harm truth... but I don't think the general opinion (and to a greater, and more reliable extant, the scientific opinion) goes agains the fact that men and women have differencies, some have already been positively identified, but how and how much do they really affect the performance in different situations (chess for example) compared to the social factor, because saying that there is no social factor here is putting one's head in the ground.
In order of very interesting responses:
* Becca: I didn't mean to imply that social ineptitude and chess really do walk hand-in-hand. It is, as you suggest, more about the stereotype (although one can't ignore that stereotypes are usually founded on something, however tenuous...). So, I guess I was thinking more about the hyped up version of all that, if that makes sense...
* Creg: I think this is what I was trying to get at. Thanks.
* hutter: "read the Bible - who plays the leading parts there?" I'm going a little off-topic now I grant you, but really?! You're offering that as evidence? The number of reasons why men dominate the tellings of history (that's his-story, btw) are myriad. Not least significant is that they tend to write the histories, and I don't think that's evidence of their 'active nature' either. And that's before you get on to whether you can take the highly-edited and very carefully policed (by men again) Bible as a 'history'. I want to be clear though: I'm neither proposing a counter-argument, nor launching an anti-Bible attack, or anything similar. But as a systematic type (read: chess player!) you should be able to come up with better evidence, surely!
* And syrianchessmaster: unfortunately, I think your comments on women and language may counteract any wooing you could achieve over the board
Isn't it totally fascinating what we all come up with? It's all endlessly endlessly interesting...
Yes but in the case we are talking about, I think most "outcries" are more rational and reasonable than the theories because these theories often lack relevant and reliable data.
I find it rather difficult to accept an objection to a hypothesis when the objection is given without even listening to the reasoning behind the hypothesis. I would say that it is this reaction anaxagoras is referring to.
In this case, I agree, of course.
i've come across many female chess players, on various chess sites online..
but as far as i can remember, i've never met another female [away from the internet] that plays chess.
Saying that, i'm not a member of any chess club so wouldn't know if any have joined.
In all the counties and countries i've lived in, i've never been fortunate enough to live in a place where there is a chess club,
plus, i've never considered myself good enough a player, or knowledgeable enough about chess to either join a club or start my own. So have no idea if there are actually any females that would join an offline club.
This is my first post on here, i didn't post to offend or upset anyone so apologies
if i have.
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