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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:46 am 
At the risk of opening a can of worms I thought these articles might provide some food for thought:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 90888.html

http://www.chessblog.com/2009/10/abolis ... ulous.html

http://chess.about.com/b/2009/10/26/sho ... -or-go.htm


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:27 am 
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The question that has to be answered is the following: Can women compete with men equally, without any mental or physical restriction? (In my scientifically uninformed opinion, yes, they can.) If so, women's FIDE titles are pointless, because they're meaningless. Otherwise, you'd need to separate the whole game into male/female and make the GM title male-only, because it would be unfair to make women compete in the same event as men. It'll take a lot for science to "prove" that to be the case.

Kosteniuk's blog is nonsense. Women's only tournaments are a big advantage. The Women's tournament in London gave an opportunity they would never have had if they were men - they would have to play in the Open if they were going to play at all. The same is true of the Women's Olympiad. Male players of a similar standard are not treated to the same benefits. Kosteniuk herself probably gets far more sponsorship than other players rated about 2500, e.g. Arkell and Hebden, because she happens to be Women's World Champion. The same is true in the UK Chess Challenge when they're still girls - they get a much easier path through to the Terafinal (and hence prize money) due to the lack of competition.

Women players are given plenty of motivation to play now (particularly financially), which can only be a good thing. I think the separate FIDE titles are a way of implying to women players that they're not expected to ever challenge men, so they set the barrier lower to make it more attainable. I don't think that's a message FIDE should be conveying.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:09 pm 
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If it were the case that women were at a distinct disadvantage to men then I would concede that it is right and proper that there should be a special category of women's ratings such as we have now.

My intuition tells me that any advantage that exists is as a result of nurture and not nature. But I accept that there are may conflicting arguments and I don't feel comfortable enough to make a qualified judgement and prefer to err on the side of caution.

I'd certainly like to hear more, but I have to say that Kosteniuks arguments are really quite poorly set out. For example....

Kosteniuk wrote:
Don't forget physiological reasons: men can much easier afford to focus only on one thing in life. If a boy decides to play chess professionally, or at least give it a few years to "try his luck", he can think only about chess, wake up and go to bed with only chess in his mind. On the other hand, one cannot contest that girls by their nature must have a different approach to life, probably mostly due to their biological "clock", girls must start early to think about founding a family or else it will be too late, and those are precisely the young years that you need to become strong at chess.


Kosteniuk fails to consider the amount of childless chessplaying men who were captivated by chess at a young age and sacrificed (unknowingly at the time) other life opportunities in their pursuit of this activity. It seems to me that any gender difference here is purely about lifestyle choice and not about any distinct mental or physical differences.

Quote:
We should also understand that competitive sports is not something that many women like to do since it's very nervous and physically demanding, and requires constant travel.


There you have it, Kosteniuk tell us women like the easy life. I don't believe that for one minute, Kosteniuk advocacy is pretty poor.

Quote:
Physical strength and therefore the ability to concentrate and thus not to make mistakes is higher in men's chess and that's also another reason why, in the long term, men are showing greater results.


Does Kosteniuk confuse physical strength and endurance ?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:00 pm 
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I am not sure I agree I remember the last round of an U8 tournament in Surrey, there slightly more boys than girls but maybe not quite twice as many. All the girls were sat there waiting for the round to begin but only a handful of boys, the rest were presumably out playing football. There were two rows of tables - all the girls other than one (possibly 2) were on the bottom table. I think this showed a difference even from an early age. I suspect the game was devised by men and involves concepts such as spatial awareness which men are good at.

It is not that the top women can't compete with the top men and that there is a huge difference, but I think there are differences. It may be that the women are better than the men or worse than the men, but for the average I would argue there is a difference and that on average their though processes are slightly different. Ultimately women may end up better than men but at the moment that is not the case and the fact that seperate titles exist gives women more encouragement and acts as steps on the ladder and provides recognition for those that are good by comparisson to other females.

One of the benefits of having seperate girls and boys section in the UK Chess challenge I believe is that it encourages more of the girls to play as it is not so much fun to go in a tournament where you get bashed. At the moment I think at junior level the mixture of girls only and open tournaments is about right. Practically all the main tournaments other than the early stages of the UK Chess challenge are mixed and so the more serious girl players spend say 90 - 95% of their time playing in mixed tournaments.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:37 pm 
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Alex Holowczak wrote:
The Women's tournament in London gave an opportunity they would never have had if they were men - they would have to play in the Open if they were going to play at all


Not sure I fully understand this - The Women's tournament only gave them the opportunity to play other women. Other than eight elite men all the rest of the players only had the chance to play in the Open so what was so bad about playing in it. Jovanka Houska played in the Open and came 2nd (had she played in the Women's only event she would have been seeded one).

Women's titles gives women the chance to attain second-class achievements that only a small percentage of chess players are eligible for.

Gary


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:03 am 
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I can sort of understand the arguments against seperate women's titles (and indeed events) but remain unconvinced by them. At least, until considerably more of them are playing serious chess than is the case at the moment.......

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:09 am 
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Gary Cook wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
The Women's tournament in London gave an opportunity they would never have had if they were men - they would have to play in the Open if they were going to play at all


Not sure I fully understand this - The Women's tournament only gave them the opportunity to play other women. Other than eight elite men all the rest of the players only had the chance to play in the Open so what was so bad about playing in it. Jovanka Houska played in the Open and came 2nd (had she played in the Women's only event she would have been seeded one).

Gary


I'm assuming the Women's event had separate prize money, and maybe even appearance fees (or at least the covering of expenses for overseas players). If they entered the Open, they wouldn't receive appearance fees, and be unlikely to win any meaningful prize money (if Mr. Elo is to be believed). That's not necessarily to sad it's a bad thing, it is what it is. The point is, women have that encouragement from chess to play that men wouldn't get. The FIDE title is irrelevant in this case, it has no bearing on their participation in the event. So what's the point in having them?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:35 am 
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Gary Cook wrote:
Women's titles gives women the chance to attain second-class achievements that only a small percentage of chess players are eligible for.

I don't see anything in the regulations for those titles to say that only a small percentage of chess players are eligible for them.

(Check the FIDE regulations for the WGM, WIM, WFM and WCM titles. Not once is being female listed as a requirement.)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:17 am 
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Well it would certainly be interesting if women chess players were to demand equal prize money as they have done in Women's Tennis.

If there truly is a gender gap due to specific cognitive differences - then surely it's sexist to have lower prize money for women.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:34 am 
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It would be interesting if some women posted their views!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:41 pm 
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Deary me , this forum needs a Electric Six song in the background..

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:20 pm 
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Ben Purton wrote:
Deary me , this forum needs a Electric Six song in the background..


That's just about as clear as mud. Thank you for such a wonderfully interesting post. I presume you mean "I Buy the Drugs"

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:57 am 
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Women's titles should not be abolished and I completely agree with Kosteniuk's overall view. Abolishing women's titles now would bring an inevitable result: fewer women chess players. If you agree that this would be the consequence and still want it to happen - then you are plain selfish. If you don't agree with this consequence - then you are plain ignorant. Perhaps abolishing women's titles in 200 years or so wouldn't make a big impact provided women's chess progressively develops, but it would certainly be very damaging at this stage.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:16 pm 
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Wow! What a forum to start my first reply on! Right, well you asked for some women to post some views - now you have two women going to retalliate to this forum - two Women Fide Masters. Without these titles, we would just be chess players with ratings of about 2000 and get no respect whatsoever from any of you. However, with the WFM letters in front of our names, we have something to show our achievement in chess.

Now I know you men disagree and say it is like admitting that women cannot achieve what men can, but it is not at all. Women's titles are not "easier to achieve" than the male equivalent - they may require lower performances and less rating points but not easier to achieve. This is due to the environment that women have to play in.

Not only has chess stereotypically been a male-dominated game for many years, but men have also looked down on women for many years! Not only do we have to play in an atmosphere that before we have even attempted to move the pieces, we are already thought of to be inferior, but we have a lack of female support at the same time.

As it has already been stated, if Women's titles were scrapped, then it would indeed have less females playing chess as they are already discouraged by the overwhleming testosterone-fuelled environment that is a chess tournament. Therefore it is more difficult for women to succeed, not because they are mentally or physically inferior, but because the conditions women have to play chess in are harsher than for men.

Some of you are comparing it with other sports - (tennis for example). I do not agree with females getting the same amount of money for tennis as they play less sets - but do female players not play the same time controls? We are going through exactly the same procedures, so why not receive the same amount of prize money?

Also, the UK Chess Challenge was mentioned as a negative point for women's chess? I think that this is possibly the best tournament for junior girls to play in. The path to the final is NOT easier than for men either. When I played in this tournament, I qualified from my school/club, just like everyone else and then played in the megafinal along with the boys just like everyone else. The gigafinal however, was just girls, but why is this easier? Then the terafinal is mixed too. How do we receive more money?? The original "Top Girls" prize in the UK Chess Challenge is no longer! It is now a reciprocal prize since girls have been very close to winning the whole thing several times. Surely if a girl comes in the top 5 of that tournament then it means she is in the top 5 of the best juniors in that competition, regardless of sex? She has still had to beat several boys to get there. It's not like she only plays against girls and then her points count towards the "boys" competition.

Anyway, I think I have rambled on enough and this may be the biggest first reply on someones account, but it had to be said. It is a shame that some of you think that women's titles should be scrapped since we are actually acknowledged thanks to these titles. If men actually gave women the respect they deserved then there might not be so many of these issues, but I guess that will never change...


And just to add: I think Ben Purton might have been referring to DANGER DANGER... HIGH VOLTAGE! Since this thread could be potentially very volatile.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:23 pm 
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Chevannes wrote:
Also, the UK Chess Challenge was mentioned as a negative point for women's chess? I think that this is possibly the best tournament for junior girls to play in. The path to the final is NOT easier than for men either. When I played in this tournament, I qualified from my school/club, just like everyone else and then played in the megafinal along with the boys just like everyone else. The gigafinal however, was just girls, but why is this easier? Then the terafinal is mixed too. How do we receive more money?? The original "Top Girls" prize in the UK Chess Challenge is no longer! It is now a reciprocal prize since girls have been very close to winning the whole thing several times. Surely if a girl comes in the top 5 of that tournament then it means she is in the top 5 of the best juniors in that competition, regardless of sex? She has still had to beat several boys to get there. It's not like she only plays against girls and then her points count towards the "boys" competition.


The UKCC is far from negative for women's chess; indeed, it actively promotes it. You can't argue that it's not easier for women to get to the Terafinal. In the school and Megafinal, female players above 12 or 13 virtually get byes into the Gigafinal (there is no opposition). So you don't need to score 4/7, and then 4/6 to qualify. You were good enough that if you needed to, you could have done so, but it's quite likely that a girl who scores 1/6 in both stages will still get to the Gigafinal, even though they're much worse than someone who scores 3/6. When I last played in the Northern Gigafinal, again, the female players in the oldest age sections would get a place in the Terafinal (be it the final proper of the Challengers) before they even started, because there was no opposition.

The Terafinal is the first time that boys and girls are playing against one another where the prizes are not awarded separately, so it's fair enough. But actually getting to the Terafinal is much harder if you're a boy, because the girls in the older age groups tend to have very little competition that might knock them out.

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