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Why men rank higher than women at chess? Is it possible a female world chess champion?

"In the past, I have said that there is real chess and women’s chess.Some people don’t like to hear this, but chess does not fit women properly. It’s a fight, you know? A big fight. It’s not for women. Sorry. She’s helpless if she has men’s opposition.I think this is very simple logic. It’s the logic of a fighter, a professional fighter. Women are weaker fighters."

These were the words of great Genius Chess Grandmaster, Garry Kasparov, until the day of the match with Judit.  He said "I don't believe that now," he continued, before adding that “a female world champion is, at least theoretically, possible”.

Garry Kasparov

It is a known fact, that almost all grandmasters are male, the best players, most likely genius minds are also men and the most important that there is no female world champion. Only once, one of the Polgar sisters, Judit Polgar reached in the Fide’s top ten list, ratting 2735. 

Well, but is there a truth in the words of Chess Prodigy who was unbeaten 25 years? Is that true that Chess is not for women ?  And the most important of all,  Why men rank higher than women at chess?

By all means, chess is not a simple sport, it is much deeper, mental battle where the players fight in their minds in front of the board. 

It has been a long time in the top of discussions and maybe, there is falseness in that belief or something really exists but what is the main reason of dividing this sport into male and female chess and sometimes underrate women chess players. 

One thing that is a universal truth is that men and women have different biological differences and their abilities can be various. Biologically men are good at systematizing; that is their skill to arrange something according to a system, is more developed.

 Men vs Women in chess

On the other hand, women are good at emphasizing: the ability to understand another person’s feelings and experiences, especially because they have been in a similar situation.

Accordingly, there are two main factors that can describe the male predominance in chess: that is person’s ability differences and social factors. 

The same thing happens in Mathematics, Physics, and Engineering, where the males have overall dominance over females. But the question is whether it’s a matter of certain person’s ability or gender difference?

Robert Howard (former editor of the Current Affairs Bulletin) wrote in his famous research over predominance of men in chess, explained the men dominance “These areas also all rely partly on spatial ability, the power to visualize objects in space and to mentally manipulate the images.

This ability is important in chess calculation, for instance, in the endgame, players may calculate variations 20 moves deep, relying on spatial ability to visualize the changes. Players may picture a position some moves down the line, analyze it extensively, and then work out how to reach it.

Female players number in chess

But this is not all, because as the research shows, that playing chess and maybe so-called chess talent is not only given the male players because it can be a mix of abilities and personal qualities. 

The key factor is that usually, males have higher IQ levels than females, which of course greatly helps to learn chess rules and materials easily, understanding complex conceptions, problems, and different positions.

Probably, the ability to compete and desire to win qualities are the main characteristics of male players. Which in his turn, have their own explanations, because a long time ago men were hunters which means they had to compete, hunt, and fight, for which, of course, spatial ability was the main requirement. The role of the ancient woman was to continue the generation and think about making dinner.

Also, the males had a special “Killer instinct” that most women didn’t have and nowadays, in our civilized world, those ancient instincts can be found within men players.

But again there is one important question. What about Polgar sisters or Hou Yifan who plays among men and plays evenly? Are they exceptions or not? 

Surprisingly, Judit Polgar, a female chess player earned the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, breaking the record of 11th World Champion, Chess Wizard Bobby Fischer. 

Judit Polgar

Moreover, Judit Polgár is the only woman to won Garry Kasparov as well as, Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand, Veselin Topalov, Vladimir Kramnik, Boris Spassky, Vasily Smyslov, Anatoly Karpov and many others. 

Kasparov-Polgar

Say thanks to Judit who took the revenge of all the woman chess players who were underestimated, she rocked the history of chess and showed that women can be stronger than men in chess.

A 24 years-old Chinese Grandmaster,  No. 1 ranked woman in the world, breaks all the stereotypes by competing in a menful room. The important fact is that she doesn’t lose, she plays in a draw against strong male players and sometimes wins.

Hou Yifan

In addition to this, the social factors and pressures of society greatly affect on female players and sometimes keeps back from competing against male players. Most female players drop out playing chess because they mainly keep losing due to social stereotypes of people.

On the whole women in chess is a possible phenomenon, and woman chess players are equal to men, it’s just matter of will, practice, practice and again practice.

Summing up read the Grandmaster Levon Aronian’s thoughts about chess players.

“I believe there shouldn't be differences between men's and women's chess. In my opinion, chess is the only sport where their abilities and strengths are equal. Only women play in their tournaments but if they play against men, and work too much, everything would be possible. Let’s remember Judit Polgar”.

This question always would be actual and in the top of the discussions and could never be an old matter, as long as, chess exists.

Probably, there is no woman that would say, female players are inferior in chess as the majority of male players are keen on considering them, weak players.What do you think? 



Published on : 17 Apr 2018

Start the discussion...
  • Jack Rudd
    Jack Rudd
    1 year ago
    The first thing you need to do when coming to conclusions based on this data is to see what correcting for participation rates does. The only large-scale study I know of in this regard - by Bilalic et al a few years ago - concluded that 96% of the difference between men and women could be explained by participation rates.
  • WooChess .
    WooChess .
    1 year ago
    Yes, you're right but read this paragraph. "In addition to this, the social factors and pressures of society greatly affect on female players and sometimes keeps back from competing against male players. Most female players drop out playing chess because they mainly keep losing due to social stereotypes of people. On the whole women in chess is a possible phenomenon, and woman chess players are equal to men, it’s just matter of will, practice, practice and again practice. "
  • Ted TheAtheist
    Ted TheAtheist
    1 year ago
    This article says that women chess players are equal to men. No, they are not. It's a bell curve, and women have not come close to beating the best men. It doesn't matter how much they practice, it's just not happening. Could it? Maybe in hundreds of thousands of years, maybe. It's all about evolution. It's not about "participation" whatsoever. That makes no sense. Women don't do as well as men at tennis, e-sports, chess.. pretty much any real competition. Are you going to try to tell me it's all "participation", and that somehow the "women who would do as well as men" just aren't participating? What a joke. Sure, some women can beat some men at chess. No duh. But you can't beat the best men because your brains just don't work like ours do. You haven't had millions of years of necessity.

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