Invisible pieces

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Roger Lancaster
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sun Dec 20, 2020 7:54 pm

To assert, as did the writer of the article which prompted this topic, that the fact that Nigel Short has no formal qualifications in neuroscience disqualifies him from expressing an opinion seems to me disingenuous. Nigel clearly has done a certain amount of research and he's entitled to say, within legal limits, what he thinks. Whether his thoughts carry significant weight in a field where even 'experts' [meaning those with formal qualifications] fail to agree is, and I hope I can say this without causing offence, a matter of opinion.

What is clear is that comments attributed to many chess players, from Bobby Fischer downwards, have not been conducive to attracting or retaining female chess players. I hadn't previously read Sabrina's post from many years ago and I'm mindful that there are two sides to most arguments but, if only a fraction of what she reported is true, that is an appalling state of affairs. It may be a generational thing, and younger players may be more respectful of such matters than their older colleagues, but what I've overheard over many years suggests that it's probably not just "only a fraction".

I've no reason to suppose that the majority of male chess players are sexist. The problem is that the damage and hurt caused by the minority who are not only sexist, but overtly so, cannot readily be undone by the majority. The English Chess Federation is currently making a particular effort, in the aftermath of the success of The Queens Gambit, to attract more women. While the ECF initiative may be successful in attracting more women, it is hard to see those women staying in the chess world if it contains a minority of men who abuse them.

Mick Norris
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Mick Norris » Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:41 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:34 pm
I was trying to think of examples of the Norwegian effect (Norway has far too few players to generate a World Champion).
I'd imagine that the efforts underway in Norway e.g. Gausdal helped when Magnus came along; and the efforts due to Magnus may entrench chess in Norway

Prior to that, would you have said Norwegians don't have the brains for chess? In comparison with say the Danes, who produced Larsen; what about the Finns, and what would you conclude about the Swedes looking at Pia Cramling say?

There's certainly an opportunity to fund serious research into men and women's brains, and like most people, I've got no clue if there's real evidence for the difference e.g. is Judit Polgar an exception in women as Magnus is in Norwegians? My instinct says it is crap; there aren't many black GMs, and I'd assume there's acceptance of different reasons for that than their brains are different

So, maybe in the meantime, we could try and listen to what women players are saying, stop arguing about whether they are wrong, and actually try and do something about it
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:25 am

"I'd imagine that the efforts underway in Norway e.g. Gausdal helped when Magnus came along; and the efforts due to Magnus may entrench chess in Norway"

I played at Gausdal a few times and watched as Magnus went from being lowest rated player in the GM event to a strong GM playing in it for free to support the event. There were loads of Norwegian juniors and a really good support network. If you have that, (and really good organizers) you encourage talent. But you need the talent in the first place.
Then you have Alireza from Iran where chess was banned for a long time - how did he happen?

John Swain
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by John Swain » Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:26 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:41 am

........

So, maybe in the meantime, we could try and listen to what women players are saying, stop arguing about whether they are wrong, and actually try and do something about it
Well said, Mick!

I would go further and inquire not just what female players (like the anonymous author) are saying - crucial though that is - but what female ex-players are saying. There are distinct groups:

- girls who give up on entering secondary school or very soon afterwards. Many boys also give up playing at this stage too, of course.

- girls who continue to play actively beyond the age of eleven but who give up later, either at secondary school or as adults. Are their reasons for giving up chess different from boys/adult males?

My daughter falls into the first category. She received a lot of encouragement from her junior school, which fielded several chess teams in the local league, and from the Nottinghamshire Primary Schools Chess Association, which ran coaching sessions, mixed U9 and U11 teams as well as a separate girls' U11 team. She qualified twice for the Challengers part of the UK Chess Challenge Terafinal. By contrast, her secondary school did not have a chess club; she and her friends quickly found other things to do with their leisure time.

The Queen's Gambit Netflix series presents a unique opportunity to encourage female chess participation but we need to have clearer evidence why female ex-players gave up and then consider how the chess community might respond and change for the better; otherwise we may see a big decline in female participation in chess in the medium and long term, after a short-term increase.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Roger Lancaster » Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:36 pm

Apropos John, above, I can make one small contribution. I once asked the father of a girl who, aged 12 or thereabouts but attending a secondary school where chess was encouraged, why she had dropped out. The gist of his reply was that it was not perceived as [his adjective] "cool".

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Dec 21, 2020 3:16 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:41 am
there aren't many black GMs, and I'd assume there's acceptance of different reasons for that than their brains are different
Its not that long since there were none at all, though. Which may in itself tell you something.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Mick Norris
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Mick Norris » Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:28 pm

John Swain wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:26 pm
Mick Norris wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:41 am

........

So, maybe in the meantime, we could try and listen to what women players are saying, stop arguing about whether they are wrong, and actually try and do something about it
Well said, Mick!

I would go further and inquire not just what female players (like the anonymous author) are saying - crucial though that is - but what female ex-players are saying. There are distinct groups:

- girls who give up on entering secondary school or very soon afterwards. Many boys also give up playing at this stage too, of course.

- girls who continue to play actively beyond the age of eleven but who give up later, either at secondary school or as adults. Are their reasons for giving up chess different from boys/adult males?

My daughter falls into the first category. She received a lot of encouragement from her junior school, which fielded several chess teams in the local league, and from the Nottinghamshire Primary Schools Chess Association, which ran coaching sessions, mixed U9 and U11 teams as well as a separate girls' U11 team. She qualified twice for the Challengers part of the UK Chess Challenge Terafinal. By contrast, her secondary school did not have a chess club; she and her friends quickly found other things to do with their leisure time.

The Queen's Gambit Netflix series presents a unique opportunity to encourage female chess participation but we need to have clearer evidence why female ex-players gave up and then consider how the chess community might respond and change for the better; otherwise we may see a big decline in female participation in chess in the medium and long term, after a short-term increase.
Thanks John

I assume my daughter doesn't play chess as she's clearly brighter than me; despite meeting Nigel briefly at the Liverpool EU champs, her favourite GM is Keith Arkell, albeit she has met Keith a few times
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Geoff Chandler
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Geoff Chandler » Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:11 am

Hi Justin,

Looks like attempts to get the thread back on track is a fail.
Of course it was on a slippery slope to begin with.
An anonymous article about how badly women get treated in chess
being discussed by a handful of middle-aged men including a gummy OAP.

So now we are experiencing thread-drift, roughly the same topic but the brain hard-wiring issue.
Experts have been named and found wanting. That the is trouble with using an expert,
someone trumps your expert with theirs and your experts errors get fired back at you.

I've looked at the graphs and pie charts. But I'm thinking if you want to use chess to show if there
is a difference between how men and women think then you have to supply proof in the shape of
games/diagrams and demonstrate what a man and woman would play in certain positions.

Alas it is impossible to tell the sex of either player just by looking at a game of chess.
There is no such thing as a typical female or male move. Chess is a bad yardstick for this subject.

So out with the experts, pie charts, graphs and words like 'neuroplasticity.'
(though next time I lose I'll say neuroplasticity kicked in - psychological stress.)

I've re-read again Nigel's 2015 article.

https://en.chessbase.com/post/vive-la-d ... ull-story

ChessBase received permission to republish the article in full because:
"Going through the follow-up stories and readers' reactions it became clear that many had not read the original article."

Nigel's words were twisted all out of proportion, I recall I joined in to show how easy it is.
Nigel said: "females have produced numerous superb performances over the years."
But nowhere does he say 'Men have produced numerous superb performances over the years."
Therefore women have produced more superb performances than men.
That kind of nonsense was rife, you got the feeling people felt they didn't have to read it to know what he said.

The article is still just as harmless now as it was then.
Women have added comments (the one by Helen Milligan is very good)
In lieu of a lack of females discussing the subject here we can read what they said then,
or continue chasing our tails talking about things we menfolk have never or will ever experience.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Paul Cooksey » Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:36 pm

Geoff, I don't think we can describe Nigel's article as harmless and also say we are listening to women players, or at least not the woman player who wrote the blog on lichess in the first post. She seems to be very clear it is harmful.

Nigel Short
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Nigel Short » Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:35 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:36 pm
Geoff, I don't think we can describe Nigel's article as harmless and also say we are listening to women players, or at least not the woman player who wrote the blog on lichess in the first post. She seems to be very clear it is harmful.
She. Or he...

Geoff Chandler
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Geoff Chandler » Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:59 pm

Hi Paul,

Nigel's article did not start or promote or mention sexism in chess.
There is nothing there to encourage men to go out and harm women.

In fact it did good in that it revealed many swept under the carpet complaints by
women that sexism in chess and in other fields is real and gave them a platform
under the guise of answering Nigel's article to get them in the open air.

The anonymous author actually uses Nigel's conclusion regarding hard-wiring as
an intro to the more unsavoury non-Nigel article related incidents mentioned later.

Alas along the way we read:
'...he asserted that women are ‘hardwired’ to be worse at chess than men.'
The anonymous author asserts that, Nigel does not say that.
But his 2015 article has been twisted and bent our of shape by so many others
that misquoting it or wrongfully asserting what it means has become the norm.

It sounds like nothing has been done since 2015 to address the sexism issue.
(which Nigel's article though through a side door brought to many peoples attention)
Has it got worse? Who knows? But with more women playing then sadly cases will rise.
The well published rise in female members to chess sites will attract the nutters.

The stalking one must be alarming but the the authorities/site owners need names and details,
not a friend of friends say so. In that respect the unanimous article has maybe, unintentionally,
done more harm than good. If you complain then you will end up 'dead in a ditch.' (who wrote this?)
Last edited by Geoff Chandler on Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

NickFaulks
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by NickFaulks » Tue Dec 22, 2020 5:23 pm

Nigel Short wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:35 pm
She. Or he...
As one who saw a lot of this agitprop stuff fifty years ago, I would be willing to bet that it's a he.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

Nick Burrows
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Nick Burrows » Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:54 pm

The article is so well written - it must be a man.

Brian Egdell
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by Brian Egdell » Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:09 pm

Of course. Whoever heard of a woman writing about her own personal experiences?

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JustinHorton
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Re: Invisible pieces

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:20 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 5:23 pm
Nigel Short wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:35 pm
She. Or he...
As one who saw a lot of this agitprop stuff fifty years ago, I would be willing to bet that it's a he.
How much
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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