Chess Women Having Their Cake And Eating It Too

Twelve women played Chess in the Women’s Grand Prix in Lausanne, Capital city of the Swiss Canton of Vaud in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Nana Dzagnidze, rated 2515, and Aleksandra Goryachkina, rated 2579, tied for first place, each with seven points.

The deciding face-off between Nana Dzagnidze and Aleksandra Goryachkina is about to begin | Photo: David Llada

The younger woman, Goryachkina, who recently drew Ju Wunjun in a match for the Women’s World Championship, was the only undefeated player.

The composite rating of the players participating in the tournament was 2511, barely over the minimum requirement of 2500 for entry into the Grandmaster class. The ratings ranged from a low of Marie Sebag (2443) to the high of Wenjun Ju (2583). World human Chess champion Magnus Carlsen is curently rated 2862. Magnus, the man, is clearly rated two classes above the women’s champion, Ju.

Why is all this money going to segregated tournaments consisting of only women? Women are free to play in Chess tournaments where everyone, regardless of sex, is allowed. This means the women are having their cake and eating it, too. Women want more than equality. Why is this allowed when there are male Grandmasters rated from 2443 to 2583 who have resorted to cheating in order to survive?

Two games from the event:

Zhansaya Abdumalik vs Aleksandra Goryachkina

FIDE Women’s Grand Prix – Lausanne 2020 round 03

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. dxe5 Nxb5 7. a4 Nbd4 8. Nxd4 d5 9. exd6 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd6 11. Qe4+ Qe6 12. Qd4 Qd6 13. Qe4+ Qe6 14. Qd4 Qd6 15. Qe4+ Qe6 ½-½

Marie Sebag vs Aleksandra Goryachkina

FIDE Women’s Grand Prix – Lausanne 2020 round 09

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. dxe5 Nxb5 7. a4 Nbd4 8. Nxd4 d5 9. exd6 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd6 11. Qe4+ Qe6 12. Qd4 Qd6 13. Qe4+ Qe6 14. Qd4 Qd6 15. Qe4+ Qe6 ½-½

In my home state of Georgia the 2019 Women’s Championship was held at the Atlanta Chess Center, located in Roswell, the seventh largest city in the Great State of Georgia. There were a total of seven players. Jill Rennie, rated 1416 going into the tournament, took first place by winning all four games.

POTGCA Scott Parker and Jill Rennie (http://georgiachessnews.com/2019/12/15/jill-rennie-newly-crowned-georgia-womens-chess-champion/#!prettyPhoto)

Jill upset the highest rated player, Evelyn Qaio (1756), in the third round.

Evelyn Qaio vs Jill Rennie

I have no idea how much money Jill won with her upset win even though I reached out to the President of the Georgia Chess Association, asking for particulars of the tournament:

Michael Bacon <xpertchesslessons@yahoo.com>
To:Scott R. Parker
Tue, Jan 14 at 4:02 PM

Scott,

The article concerning the 2019 Georgia Women’s Chess Championship at the Ga Chess News website was brought to my attention by a reader of the blog. It was suggested that maybe I should have written something about the tournament. With that in mind I would like to ask a few questions.

I am under the impression it was a GCA event. Please correct me if I am wrong.

There were only seven participants in the women’s tournament. How usual, or unusual is it for the GCA to organize any tournament containing less than ten players? Prior to this event what was the last event organized by the GCA in which so few players attended? Has the GCA, to your knowledge, ever organized an event in which less than ten players participated?

How many GCA women’s championships have been held in the history of the GCA?

What were the monetary prizes? Was the money put up by the GCA? Or did the entry fees pay for the tournament? Did the GCA make money from holding the tournament? If so, how much money did the GCA take in? Did it lose money? If so, how much money did the GCA lose from holding the event?

Prior to the tournament was there any discussion concerning having the women players vie for the women’s title while playing in the Georgia Chess Championship? For example, the women could possibly have played for a trophy and/or cash in the State Championship while also being eligible for other prizes, such as a class prize. (As an aside, this could have been done with the Senior tournament, for example, which has habitually had a small turnout for many years, or decades, excepting the one held in a nice hotel by Smuggy. Yet even the low number of players in the Senior last year dwarfed the small number of players in the women’s event) Has this been discussed by the board members previously?

What is the justification for holding a completely separate tournament for only women?

Does the GCA have any plans for holding a tournament for people of color exclusively?

Has the GCA considered holding a tournament only for people with only green eyes? Would the GCA ever consider such a proposal?

How many women are members of the GCA? How many Georgia women are members of US Chess? (Correct me if it is still called the “USCF” but I am under the impression the “F” was dropped…)

To have a completely separate tournament for any group how many members would be required by the GCA? For example, if the GCA decided to hold a tournament for only people of color how many members would there have to be?

Change “people of color” above to “blind.” How many members would have to be blind?

What is the plan for the 2020 women’s championship?

Does the GCA segregate the boys from the girls in scholastic tournaments or do both sexes play in the same tournament? If the latter, why are the girls not segregated from the boys? (Point being why are the women segregated but not the girls?)

Lastly, (unless and until I come up with another question!) are you aware how other states administer their women’s championship(s) and, if so, did how other states hold their tournament(s) affect the decision to hold such a subdivided tournament?

All the best in Chess!

Michael Bacon

There was no reply.

The Tortured Face of an International Tournament Chess Photographer

An article, The Tortured Faces of International Tournament Chess Players by Michael Hardy, was published in Wired “1.22.18 09:00 AM.”

It begins:

“In 1987, Russian grandmasters Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov faced off in Seville, Spain for the World Chess Championship. David Lloda, then a nine-year-old boy growing up the small northern town of Asturias, remembers being captivated by a newspaper photograph of the two chess geniuses. “Two grown men, playing a mysterious game, with those little figures carved in wood?” he recalls thinking. “That seemed interesting.”

Unfortunately the author of the article, which is about a recently published book of photographs of Chess players, The Thinkers, misspelled the name of the photographer who authored the book, David Llada. Adding insult to injury, Michael Hardy did it again in the next paragraph:

“A few days later, a teacher at Lloda’s school taught him the basic chess moves, sparking a lifelong passion for the game that has persisted throughout stints as a journalist, author, entrepreneur, and money manager—and, most recently, photographer. About five years ago, Lloda began traveling the world to shoot chess tournaments, who then hired him to help them get publicity.”

After skipping a paragraph which does not include Llada’s name, Michael Hardy does it again but also gets it right once in the fourth paragraph:

Lloda has included over a hundred of his portraits in his new book The Thinkers, which was published earlier this month by Quality Chess Books. Llada’s favorite photos in the book are the ones he took of his childhood heroes, Kasparov and Karpov. He particularly liked Kasparov’s picture: “I think it captured his soul, all that energy in him.”

The last paragraph:

Although chess might not appear the most exciting sport to the average viewer, Lloda captures the game’s intensity through the often tortured faces of its players. “Only those who have played it know how tense a chess game is,” he says. “You spend five or six hours ‘fighting’ with someone, but you can’t touch him, you can’t talk, you can barely move…. All that pent-up tension can be felt by the observer, and I thought it could be captured, too.”

https://www.wired.com/story/photos-tournament-chess-players/

David Llada must feel like Rodney Dangerfield…

Chessbase has an excellent article about the book in which they spell David Llada correctly:

https://en.chessbase.com/post/master-class-with-david-llada


David Llada with new book from Chessbase article

Anatoly Karpov’s Other World Championship

Most people involved with chess know former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov is also a world renowned philatelist. What you may not know is that he is the book signing champ of the world, according to the Guinness world records. This was discovered when I caught a huge wave at one of my favorite surfing spots: http://authorscoop.com/ One of the writer’s responsible is a lovely chess mom named Jamie Mason, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a children’s tournament in Asheville, NC. Here is the proof:
The most books signed by one author in a single session is 1,951 by the ex-World Champion in chess Anatoli Karpov (Russia) who signed “El Camino de una Voluntad” by David Llada and Anatoli Karpov on 21 October 2006 during the Third Mexico City Chess Festival in Mexico. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/1/largest-book-signing
IM Timothy Taylor has a new book titled, Slay the Sicilian. He writes about his book in an article on the Chess Café website (http://www.chesscafe.com/everyman/ebcafe08.htm). The article begins, “I was idly looking at World Champion Anatoly Karpov’s book, My Best Games – and I came across a line that absolutely stunned me, that I quote in full below:
“I have always felt it completely unnecessary for White to rush headlong into a maelstrom of forced variations with his first moves in the Sicilian. His superiority in the centre gives him the possibility of resolving any problem by solid positional play.”
Reading this comment caused me to recall something GM Andy Soltis wrote about a book like GM David Bronstein’s masterpiece, Chess Struggle in Practice, not being able to be published today because it contains words, like the aforementioned quote, in lieu of reams of variations, as one finds in most of the books published today. The quote pointed out so adroitly by IM Taylor goes to the heart of Karpov’s understanding of chess. Contrast this with what GM Yasser Seirawan writes in his forward to Mr. Six-Time, GM Walter Browne’s new book with the wonderful title, The Stress of Chess and its Infinite Finesse:
“In the many games that we contested we held a deep post-mortem. Often these lasted for hours and during them it was obvious, time in and time out, that Walter had out-calculated me. We had looked at the same variations, but he had calculated them more deeply than I had. In many instances Walter went far beyond the point where I had stopped, being satisfied with a line. Walter wanted to be sure. When he felt a win existed he wished to nail it down with calculation and cold-blooded determination. When I asked why he didn’t just play an obviously good move, he would often say that while his ‘instinct’ had told him to play the ‘natural’ good move it was his calculation that guided him to consider other possibilities, and what ultimately caused him to come to a decision was the calculated line. In most cases Walter’s instinct and calculation were one and the same, producing the same move, which he would then play.”
It makes me wonder if those top players who continue to play at a very high level late into life, like former World Champion Vassily Smyslov, do so because they rely on their ‘instinct’ or intuition, rather than calculating myriad variations.
I have one other note on books. I was saddened to learn of the death of the writer Iain Banks. None of the obituaries I have read mention the book I consider to be my favorite of the Science Fiction genre, The Player of Games. I cannot speak of his oeuvre because this is the only book of his I have read, but I have read it several times. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jun/09/iain-banks-dies-59-cancer