7 Ways to Become a Chess Girl
Earlier this year, Nigel Short, one of the United Kingdom's greatest chess players today, created quite a bit of controversy when he stated that men are "hardwired" to be better chess players than their female counterparts.
Speaking in an interview with New in Chess magazine (via the London Guardian) this past April, Short suggested we should "gracefully accept it as fact" that men inherently possess certain skills that differentiate from women that make them better chess players.
Short, who won his first grandmaster at the age of 19, elaborated that he doesn't feel embarrassed that his wife maintains a greater level of emotional intelligence than he does. At the same time, Short noted that his wife doesn't feel ashamed that she asks him to maneuver the car out of the driveway.
"One is not better than the other, we just have different skills," said Short. "It would be wonderful to see more girls playing chess, and at a higher level, but rather than fretting about inequality, perhaps we should just gracefully accept it as a fact.”
This generated a wave of dissenting opinions and staunch criticisms of the superb chess player.
Amanda Ross, who runs the Casual Chess club in London, accused Short of "endorsing sexism." Rita Atkins, a British International chess master, called the remarks "damaging." Short later engaged with people on Twitter, which led to a whole lot of disagreements and disparaging tweets.
Whether or not Short's comments are accurate, doesn't take away from the fact that just one percent of grandmasters are women.
Is there any way to bring in more women into the great world of chess? Here are 6 ways to become a chess girl:
Learn the Basics of Chess
Are you interested in becoming a chess player? Start off by the learning the very basics of chess (the names of pieces, how to play, basic strategies and so on). This way, when you start playing you won't have to delay the game and infuriate other players who already have a rudimentary understanding of the game.
Read Some Chess Books
After you have studied the basics of chess and played a couple of games against novice players, read some superb chess books. These books can help you learn complicate movesets, defend yourself from attacks and other important parts to the games. Here are a few books to get a hold of:
· "My Sixty Memorable Games" by Bobby Fisher
· "Logical Chess Move By Move: Every Move Explained New Algebraic Edition" by Irving Chernev
· "The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery" by Jeremy Sillman
· "How to Reassess Your Chess: The Complete Chess-Mastery Course" by Jeremy Sillman
- "1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations by Fred Reinfeld" by Fred Reinfield
Enter a Chess Club at School
Is there a chess club at your elementary or secondary school? If there is, sign up immediately and perhaps encourage your friends to do so, too. This way you won't feel intimated and you'll have a supportive group behind you.
Become a U.S. Chess Federation Member
If chess is your true passion and you want to become an avid player then head on over to US Chess and sign up to become a U.S. Chess Federation member. This is only applicable to Americans. Indeed, it does cost money but this helps get you into rated tournaments.
Sign Up For Local Tournaments
You can also sign up for local tournaments. Moreover, if you feel intimidated to start playing with boys then seek out all-female chess tournaments. It can help prepare you to play in an intergender tournament.
Dress the Part
Finally, you should dress the part. If you want to be taken serious then perhaps you should sport business casual attire as opposed to jeans and a t-shirt. It may seem superficial but it's an important tool to avoid being taken lightly.
Chess is one of the greatest games that have ever existed. It's both exciting and intellectually stimulating. Unfortunately, like many other enjoyments, it has ventured into a gender divide and discussion. You can dispel myths of chess just being a male-oriented sport. Perhaps you can look to Brigitta Sinka as a role model. She's an 87-year-old Hungarian grandmother who set a world record of simultaneous chess playing.
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