Female vs. Male Chess Players

  • #1

    Why is it that at the top level, female chess players are, as a whole, nowhere near the level of the top male chess players?

    I mean, you have Polgar who is still in a league of her own when it comes to female players. She can challenge any male Super GM and give them Hell, but after that, there are hardly any women that rate above 2600. I'm assuming that it must mean that women play chess in smaller numbers than do men--that fewer women decide to pusue chess professionally, and that the numbers reflect that.

    Still, in this day and age, I would have expected the rating gap between the top female and male players to have noticeably diminished, much in the same way that women are now outnumbering men in earning doctorate degrees.

    I remember reading a study once that demonstrated that video games activated the reward regions of male brains more than female brains, and offered this as a reason for the much larger number of male gamers than female gamers. I was thinking there might be some sort of parallel for the two sexes when it came to playing chess. Even in this case, though, the gap between the percentage of men who play video games and women who play video games is steadily closing.

    Or was Bobby Fischer right: that women are naturally inferior at chess than men?

    What do you think, chess.com?

  • #2

    Men are left-brained dominant, which on average gives us superior (albeit only slightly) visio-spatial awareness, logic and puzzle-solving skills. This is only an average of course, and may only be a contributing factor as opposed to a definitive reason, but it's the only explanation I've ever been able to come up with.

    P.s. To be precise men aren't left-brained dominant, men use both sides of their brain equally wheras women use the right more and the left less

  • #3
    JoshoewaG wrote:

    Men are left-brained dominant, which on average gives us superior (albeit only slightly) visio-spatial awareness, logic and puzzle-solving skills. This is only an average of course, and may only be a contributing factor as opposed to a definitive reason, but it's the only explanation I've ever been able to come up with.

    P.s. To be precise men aren't left-brained dominant, men use both sides of their brain equally wheras women use the right more and the left less

    Is that the reason why women generally learn to read and have quicker language learning skills at a young age?

  • #4

    Statistics: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/276/1659/1161.abstract

    "extreme values in a large sample are likely to be greater than those in a small one. Although the performance of the 100 best German male chess players is better than that of the 100 best German women, we show that 96 per cent of the observed difference would be expected given the much greater number of men who play chess."

  • #5

    Let's first make something clear: no sex is inferior to any other sex.

    Now, I have to say I don't know, soothsayer8... I think most women aren't as dedicated to sports in general as men. This may have to do with historical sexist ideas that men are good at most things, unlike women, who are only good at serving men. Fortunately, today, this viewpoint isn't as widespread as it used to be!...

    Besides historicals reasons that have not educated women in sports (which may still have percussions today, as many women from those times still live), there may actually be psychological reasons. Perhaps most women weren't actually born for sports... And I don't want to be sexist when I say this—maybe men, in general, actually do prefer these things more than women...

    But it's a mystery I doubt we'll really ever understand. This doesn't happen only in chess, but in many other cases. In my opinion, it's an unhappy situation, because I think there should be a roughly equal proportion of men and women in all the aspects of human life. The fact that it doesn't happen, with over 7.000.000.000 people on this planet, is hardly acceptable. But it's what happens...

    Let's me just finish with a joke, not meant to hurt anyone. It's a known sentence from the book Animal Farm, by George Orwell: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." :)

  • #6
    soothsayer8 wrote:

    Why is it that at the top level, female chess players are, as a whole, nowhere near the level of the top male chess players?

    It's because the difference in ratings seperate them by so much.

  • #7

    Oh and because male brains are bigger (although that's mainly because a female skull needs less room to contain the same amount of savvy).

  • #8
    Legally-Blonde wrote:
    soothsayer8 wrote:

    Why is it that at the top level, female chess players are, as a whole, nowhere near the level of the top male chess players?

    It's because the difference in ratings seperate them by so much.

    Um, yes, I'm trying to figure out why the ratings are so much different.

    I assume ratings are calculated the same for female and male players, no?

  • #9
    JoshoewaG wrote:

    P.s. To be precise men aren't left-brained dominant, men use both sides of their brain equally wheras women use the right more and the left less

    I don't think that's true...

  • #10
    M_Hassen wrote:

    Statistics: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/276/1659/1161.abstract

    "extreme values in a large sample are likely to be greater than those in a small one. Although the performance of the 100 best German male chess players is better than that of the 100 best German women, we show that 96 per cent of the observed difference would be expected given the much greater number of men who play chess."

    This is just the sort of thing I was looking for, Thank you Hassen!

  • #11
    soothsayer8 wrote:
    Legally-Blonde wrote:
    soothsayer8 wrote:

    Why is it that at the top level, female chess players are, as a whole, nowhere near the level of the top male chess players?

    It's because the difference in ratings seperate them by so much.

    Um, yes, I'm trying to figure out why the ratings are so much different.

    I assume ratings are calculated the same for female and male players, no?

    there's much more to it if you really want an answer.

  • #12
    Legally-Blonde wrote:
    soothsayer8 wrote:
    Legally-Blonde wrote:
    soothsayer8 wrote:

    Why is it that at the top level, female chess players are, as a whole, nowhere near the level of the top male chess players?

    It's because the difference in ratings seperate them by so much.

    Um, yes, I'm trying to figure out why the ratings are so much different.

    I assume ratings are calculated the same for female and male players, no?

    there's much more to it if you really want an answer.

    I do!

  • #13

    No way.... we are going to go through THIS.... again? lol

    Well the last time this topic was thrashed about (1-2 months ago?), i really didnt say anything. Soo... here is my 2 cents.

    Ive coached middle school chess for 6 years... and every year..with out exception, there have always been more boys signed up than girls... about an 8:1 ratio... some years i had no girls on the team. My teams ranged from 14-23 students depending on the year. Looking back at our competition (the 23-24 other middle schools) they too had way more boys than girls. I found also it was harder to keep girls on the team... they just had other interests and probably didnt want to be around THAT many middle school boys.  My second year teaching the strongest student i had was a girl, but she had no interest in competing or to practice for that matter.

    My point in all this is... at least from my perspective...because there are wayyyy more boys playing than girls... the odds are in their favor that the strongest players in anyone year will almost always be boys. Its a numbers game.

    So... I wonder... if you, hypothetically...had an even amount of boys vs girls on the team... every year... would that even the playing field? Orrrrr... what if you had more girls than boys ... every year? Would girls more times than not be the stronger players?

    i dont know the answer (though I do suspect it)... but would love to give girl students a fair chance as far as numbers.

    Anyway..thats my 2 cents...

    coach

  • #14

    What did Cyndi Lauper say ?

  • #15

    Correct me if Im wrong (wrong more often of late: age)... "Girls just wanna have fun?" lol

  • #16

    men are just better at playing chess

  • #17

    people have nothing better to do other than bringing up this topic, looking for dubious openings and complaining about people not giving rematches

  • #18
    MrMars wrote:

    men are just better at playing chess

    Women represent less than 10% of Master level players which is about the same ratio of boys to girls i witness year after year as a middleschool chess coach.

    All im asking is... what if there were as many women playing ... across the board... from scholastic through the various level of competitive chess... as there are men... would the best players still be overwhelmingly... men? Right now... we cant answer that.  

  • #19

    abilities have to do with the strength of the neural connections, this left brain versus right brain stuff is mostly nonsense, as well as the 10% of the brain use fairy tale that came to my attention.  why women do not play chess so much, and why even fewer women incidently play chess at the top level are questions for philosophers and women, but consider that genius and innovation historically have been driven by men, and among people who distinguish themselves at the highest level of any field that pertains to intellectual and technological prowess, women are again far less incidental.  In fact the only accomplished female phenom who demonstrated phenomenal intellectual potential at a young age and then worked her away to the highest tiers of accomplishment in science that comes to mind at the moment is Marie Curie.  women are obviously very capable, but on the whole they, even less than men, take the most maximalist approach to a singular endeavor throughout a lifetime.  the reason for some disparaties in activity is a result of motivation, a function of social and biological drives.

  • #20

    There are more males than females at the top and bottom of cognitive fields. (There's a larger variability in the IQ distribution of men than that of women, for example, reaching both towards the high and the low extremes.) I'm also fairly sure that more males than females throw themselves into intense or desperate life pursuits. Male hormones and female hormones are different, which may be part of the solution if you're looking for physical explanations.

Top
or Join

Online Now