Chess is gendered?

So “Junior events” and “Veteran’s Events” mean that chess is, in part, age discriminatory?

Gendered ≠ discriminatory

ETA: Most sports in the world are gendered. The OP was surprised that chess is too.

My theory was that bridge appeals far more to women than chess does.
What proportion of women (compared to men) play chess in India, Pakistan, China, and the Far East in general?

I would guess it’s nothing more than the size of the player pool.

In Pakistan I encountered exactly as many female bridge players as chess players. Zero in both cases. And based on my online bridge experience India and China is the same. I have never encountered a female player from either country in thousands of games. Not that I can remember anyway. Sometimes I can’t tell the gender of Chinese names.

The Venice Cup - Wikipedia is the World Championship for National teams of women.
Pakistan, India and China regularly play in it.

Similarly Pakistan, India and China regularly play in the Women’s World Chess Teams event.

But what if the sun is in Aquarius and Saturn is in Cancer with Mercury on the cusp (not in the house)?
Because I think that has more validity than Meyers-Briggs

Remember that time when the international chess organization, FIDE, was casting around for a sponsor for the women’s championship, and they came up with a breast implant company? Hoo boy 2021 was some year.

There are some nuances around this, obviously. has a great write-up.

I agree with much of your post, but this isn’t true. The top woman player is currently in the 80s or so,and peaked at #55. And Judit Polgar peaked at #8 in the world.

I agree that the overwhelming likelihood is that the disparity is due to access to training and support by the established chess system.

There is some phyiscal stamina required for chess. I’ve read articles about Magnus Carlson and Fabi Caruana’s training regimens. But I don’t believe it is beyond anything a woman could achieve physically in the way playing in the NBA is.

That story is what led to this thread. It’s pretty much the entire OP.

The Polgars were an interesting and inspiring group. Judit also refused to play in all women’s events, IIRC. There was also a famous moment when she beat Garry Kasparov, who said some rather unflattering things about women chess players, and her in particular, calling her a “circus puppet” and that women players should stick to having children (I cannot find the original source of this quote – I find it in the Guardian and other publications, but another one has the unquoted summary as sticking to raising families." A more well-documented view of his on women chess players comes from a 1989 Playboy interview that is quoted here: Kasparov on Women chess players - Chess Forums -

Now, my understanding is that he and Judit are actually friends now. But that little moment where Polgar defeated the number one is quite sweet for me to watch.

Judit has also beaten Magnus Carlsen (current #1) in three, I believe, time-constrained events (not classical chess, but blitz or rapid). But he has many more wins against her (somewhere around 20). In classical chess, she is 0-2-1 against him. So, definitely well behind him, but capable of beating the top chess player in the world from time to time.

If you don’t know the Polgar story, it’s quite interesting. Basically, she was born into a family with a father who was a chess teacher and educational psychologist, and he basically believed that geniuses were made, not born. If you expose your kids in a particular subject from an early age, was his idea, you can create exceptional results. And thus his three children, Zsofia, Zsuzsanna, and Judit grew up playing chess from their childhood. The latter two both became grandmasters, and Zsofia managed to reach international master (the next highest) level. Her father, also, was very much against sex-segregated competition, believing women to have the full capacity of men in such an endeavor. I suppose we can see a bit of an ethical quandary in this approach to child-rearing, but I have not heard of any complaint from the sisters about their childhood. They all seemed to enjoy the game, and Judit still plays, and Zsuzsa runs a chess institute. I’m not sure what Zsofi does now – looks like her last official/public chess games were in 2010. Lest I downplay Zsofi, she made waves at the age of 14 when she won a tournament in Rome (her performance became known as “the sack of Rome”) with a near-perfect score (8.5 of 9), defeating four grandmasters along the way.

I’d note that the Kasparov win was also a rapid game, and while she doesn’t consider it a significant win, it certainly meant a lot to everyone else when it happened. I’m glad to see he’s apologized and come around.

You mentioned Sofia, and that reminded me of the time she beat the legendary Viktor Korchnoi in a blitz game, and he - whose negative views on women in chess were well known - told her not once but twice “that’s the first and last time you ever beat me” and flounced off without talking to her further. It was great to see him lose.

I don’t know about reasons but, according to the following statistic, it’s probably a good idea to have tournaments for women.

" Just 37 of the more than 1,600 international chess grandmasters are women. The current top-rated female, Hou Yifan, is ranked 89th in the world, while the reigning women’s world champion Ju Wenjun is 404th."

Yes, yes, thanks. I should have noted that, given that I break down her wins with Carlsen by game type.

And Yifan is in a form of semi-retirement, having gone on to a professorial career, but playing in just enough games each year to keep up an active rating.

Thank you for the background. I was aware of much of it, living in St. Louis where Susan Polgar has her SPICE Institute. We are actually pretty blessed here in St. Louis with an extremely strong chess community.

I do wonder if the current rise in chess visibility on streaming circuits, events with commentary, etc, will help pick up participation of girls at the scholastic level.

I know the elementary club I help run at my sons’ school has maybe 40% girls amongst the casual players, but the “competitive” team was entirely boys. I’m at a loss how to address that. I have identified talented and interested girls but in the end they don’t want to join a team that is all boys except them. One way to do it is to tempt them with prizes - most of the scholastic tournaments have individual awards for the top-scoring girls - but that does feel a bit demeaning. Really the only way to get them involved is if their parents (like the Polgars’) basically forces them to do it.

Yeah, I was wondering about that myself. I dipped my toe back into the chess world last year during COVID, and I’ve found quite a vibrant and interesting community out there. Chess seems cool! Like Twitch streams, you can play a grandmaster online. Super GMs like Magnus and Hikaru are now personalities within reach of the average person, and they’ve added a certain curb appeal to the game. It’s fun and not the mysterious, stuffy, introverts-only image of my youth. You’ve got popular female chess streamers like Qiyu Zhou, the Botez sisters, Anna Kramling, and Anna Rudolph promoting the game. Hopefully, we can see some more Judit Polgar-level female chess players this generation.

I think anonymous online play might be the most realistic path to greater female involvement in the game. If nobody knows who their opponent is, they’ll never mock or berate their opponent for their gender.

It’s funny, I’m also dipping my toe back in after 20+ years off, and I completely agree, it’s wonderful how much is out there now. Tournament livestreams like the recent Meltwater (watching IMs and GMs flip from game to game and talk through scenarios) are really gripping.

I also agree that it would be great if the visibility of so many women chess players helps grow their numbers…in the early days of the internet/YT I think it was just Jen Shahade, Irina Krush, and Alexandra Kosteniuk doing most of the lifting…now there are dozens of women chess twitchstreamers.

I’ve noticed a lot of “Chess master takes on chess hustler” videos on YouTube. The Botez sisters do this frequently - find some group of street hustlers, challenge one to a game, and usually wax his ass. Certainly depicts chess as something cool and edgy and sexy, rather than a game for nerdy asthmatics who never get picked for basketball. It helps that both sisters are attractive and engaging young women.

(Speaking of gender stereotypes in chess, in every video I’ve seen, Andrea is dressed in a short skirt and low-cut top; I suspect this is a deliberate ploy both to attract viewers, and lead her opponents to underestimate her.)