Hou Yifan Says Women Cannot Compete With Men

After reading the previous post Brian McCarthy left a comment which concerned the article you are about to read, but it was not the original article. This morning there was an email from Dennis Fritzinger which included a link to the article. Thanks, Dennis!

‘Queen of chess’ says it’s hard to imagine women competing at same level as men

By Leon Watson
12 October 2019

The gender gap in sport may be narrowing, but in the game of chess women may never reach the levels of their male counterparts – according to the world’s best female player.
University of Oxford student Hou Yifan said the cerebral game won’t get a female world champion for decades because women “are less focused” than men, don’t train as hard and are at a physical disadvantage.

The 25-year-old, who is often referred to as the Queen of Chess’, has opened a row in the normally genial world of chess.
Her comments follow a controversial claim by English Grandmaster Nigel Short that men and women should just accept they are “hard-wired very differently”.
Short, who was widely criticised for his stance, said he “would have been ripped to shreds as a misogynist dinosaur” if he’d said the same as Hou.

Speaking to chess.com, Hou said: “Theoretically, there should be a possibility that a woman can compete for the title in the future, but practically I think that the chances of this happening in the next few decades are very small.
“I do think the average rating of female players could improve, but the gap between the top women right now and the players competing for the world title is really quite large.
“But if you look at any sport, it’s hard to imagine girls competing at the same level as men.
“I think there is a physical aspect because chess exhausts a lot of energy, especially when games last 6-7 hours, and here women could be more disadvantaged.
“But in general, I think women train less hard at chess compared to men while they’re growing up.
“In China, girls tend to think more about university, and then things like family, life balance… while boys are more focused and persistent on that one thing.
“This makes a big difference. The ones who put greater effort in achieving better results. But I also think there are external factors too.”
In chess, there is the World Championship which is open to all and is currently held by the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen. Since its inception in 1886, all 16 undisputed champions have been men.
There is also a parallel Women’s World Championship and women-only tournaments designed to encourage female participation in the sport.
However, while Hou is a four-time winner of the women’s crown, in recent years she has chosen not to compete in women’s events in order to compete against higher-ranked players.
Hou, who became a Grandmaster aged 14, is the number one ranked female player but number 87 among men and women. She is one of just three women, along with Judit Polgar and Maia Chiburdanidze, to have cracked the world’s top 100.

However, there is a big gap between Hou’s rating and the top men. By comparison, Hou’s current rating is 2659, while world number one Carlson is more than 200 points higher on 2876.
The next strongest female player is another Chinese player, Wenjun Ju, way back at world number 288 with a rating of 2586.
Hou said: “Growing up, female players are told, ‘If you win the girls’ title, we’ll be really proud of you, and this is a great job!’ It’s unlikely that any of them were told, ‘No, you should be fighting for the overall title!’
“Girls are told at an early age that there’s a kind of gender distinction, and they should just try their best in the girls’ section and be happy with that. So without the motivation to chase higher goals, it’s harder for girls to improve as fast as boys as they grow up.”
Asked if she believes there are any gender differences in the way men and women play the game, Hou added: “To me, in all aspects of life, sometimes women and men tend to see the same thing from completely different perspectives, and that also comes into chess.
“To put it simplistically, I think male players tend to have a kind of overview or strategy for the whole game, rather than focusing too much attention on one part of the game. It could be interesting to explore this further. I need to do more research to answer this properly!”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/12/queen-chess-says-hard-imagine-women-competing-level-men/amp/

London’s ‘pawnographic’ World Chess Championship logo

The headline in The Telegraph reads:

Grandmasters complain London’s ‘pawnographic’ World Chess Championship logo looks like the Kama Sutra


The new logo for the 2017 World Chess Championship in London

By Leon Watson

19 December 2017 • 4:54 PM

The unveiling of a logo for a big sporting contest is meant to be a grand occasion that builds up a flurry of excitement.

Yet for the next World Chess Championship the organisers may have gone a bit too far in trying to set pulses racing.

When their “trendy” new logo was revealed for next year’s flagship event in London it was met with a rather passionate response among grandmasters.

The chosen image shows two chequered bodies entwined around a chess board. It is, World Chess say, unashamedly sexual. Perhaps, one could even say, pawnographic.

“No, this is not a joke,” said Australian international David Smerdon on Twitter, before adding: “You had one job!”

The British Grandmaster Nigel Short, a long-time critic of the game’s governing body Fide, said the organisers were “perhaps suggesting that they are giving the chess world a good f——.”


World chess champion Magnus Carlsen (left) and London Evening Standard Editor George Osborne announcing the city as the host of the 2018 FIDE World Chess Championship

And Grandmaster Susan Polgar, the pioneer of women’s chess, questioned whether the racy image was appropriate for children.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/19/grandmasters-complain-londons-world-chess-championship-logo/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Techmate

An article, Tech mate? Top grandmaster claims chess is riddled with cheats using smartphones, By Leon Watson, appeared in The Telegraph 21 Mar 2015. It must have flown under the radar because it was not mentioned by other chess based websites. It now seems prescient because underneath the headline one reads, “Daniel Gormally suggests many chess players now disappear to the toilet with their smartphones during games to work out their next move.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11487515/Tech-mate-Top-grandmaster-claims-chess-is-riddled-with-cheats-using-smartphones.html)

“The genteel world of British chess has been rocked after a top grandmaster claimed the game of kings is riddled with cheats.”

Daniel Gormally, 38, suggested the game is facing an epidemic of people popping to the loo during competitions and using mobile phones to work out their next move.

Mobile apps such as Droidfish and Shredder have made it easy to play chess on the move and analyse complex positions with so-called “chess engines”.

But despite handsets being banned in most tournaments on the English circuit, Gormally said there is nothing to stop players hiding in cubicles with them.”

“Gormally, from Durham, said: “There’s a few players in English chess whose ‘improvement’ I’ve found a bit suspicious, to say the least. But I won’t name any names.

“The worrying thing is the amount of chess players who cheat at chess, a game with very little money in it.”

Gormally, ranked 13 by the English Chess Federation, went on to say he believes chess is no different to sports like cycling which have been embroiled major drug taking scandals.

“The problem is that computers are so powerful,” he added. “It’s just a shame because now when you see someone have a significant improvement you think ‘hang on, wait a minute’ and it shouldn’t be that way.

“Of course, you can’t prove it. If somebody wants to go to the toilet once or twice in a match you wouldn’t be suspicious, but they could easily look at their phone and gain a significant improvement.”

“I don’t think it happens at the top level because they would get found out. The top players have press conferences after their matches and have to explain all their moves. But its at the lower level where it is a problem.”

Until GM Gaioz Nigalidze was caught with his pants down and his engine up, this has been the accepted, conventional wisdom. The administrators of chess have tried to either ignore, or talk the problem to death. They failed, because it lives.

Who is Daniel Gormally? ” Gormally himself hit the headlines in 2006 – although for other reasons.

He was involved in a drunken punch-up in a nightclub after he saw a rival dancing with a female player, dubbed the “Anna Kournikova of chess”.

Gormally had struck up an email relationship with 19-year-old Aussie Arianne Caoili and was accused of hitting and shoving world number three Levon Aronian when he spotted the Armenian with her.

The day after the bust-up at a tournament in Turin, Italy, Gormally was attacked by fans of Aronian.”

That would not happen today because the best players are not old enough to drink an adult beverage.

“Telegraph chess correspondent Malcolm Pein, who runs the top level London Chess Classic tournament, said he is not aware of any allegations of cheating in the English game and the game is clamping down on the use of technology.

He added: “The chess community is very aware of the possibility of cheating and measures are being taken to prevent it.

“There are metal detectors now at some tournaments and all electronic devices are banned at most. At the London Chess Classic, which I run, the arbiters observe the audience to check for suspicious behaviour.

“Were there to be a drug invented that makes you better at chess, I would give it to my children and boost their exam results.”

Most parents would probably do the same thing with their children because they have done exactly that with all kind of psychotropic drugs without having any idea what effects the drugs will produce later in life. The next generation should be called the “guinea pig” generation. At least adult guinea pigs get paid. (http://www.gpgp.net/)

“The English Chess Federation’s chief executive Phil Ehr denied cheating is widespread in the game and said he is aware of only one English player in the past four years who was caught cheating with a mobile phone.”

This is typical of the F.I.P.s in control of chess today. They are in denial, and have been all of the early part of this century. During the broadcast of the last round of the US Open Championship, and the ancillary tournament reserved for women not strong enough to make the Open a film was played of GM Maurice Ashely interviewing Yuliya Levitan, a counselor on the FIDE anti-cheating commission. She was there to spout the party line while singing, “Everything is beautiful, in its own way”…and “Don’t worry/be happy.” The woman ran down a list of things FIDE is doing to thwart cheating, including “…players not having cellphones on them.”

The latest gizmo wizard, who will forever be known as the “Dubai Cheater,” GM Gaioz Nigalidze, did not have a gizmo on him. He beat FIDE by leaving it in the toilet, which is where some say FIDE is headed. Yuliya mentioned something about “…keeping fans separate.” Maybe that should apply to a manager like Silvio Danilov.

She mentioned something about cameras, which made me think of the old TV show, Candid Camera, as in, “Smile, you’re on candid camera! Euuww, what ARE you doing?” FIDE will go ANYWHERE to prevent cheating! Anywhere but Russia, where in a tournament like Aeroflot, players conspire to draw games in the opening and, who knows, maybe even throw games, as happened between the nefarious Russians in the last round of the recent 2015 European Championship. She also mentioned “metal detectors,” and one could not help but notice the security guard behind Maurice holding, you guessed it, a metal detector.

Ms. Levitan also mentioned something about “…investigations going on. I cannot comment on those.” Too bad someone is not investigating FIDE…

The interview comes at the 3:06 mark and you can watch it, which is exactly what I did again. I wanted to make sure I quoted the woman correctly. She said, “Once again, more concern for the open tournaments. It does not happen often in professional chess…it does happen on higher level, but usually it happens on lower levels.”

Until the “Dubai Cheater,” GM Gaioz Nigalidze, this has been the “party-line.” The cat is now out of the bag, or should I say the genie is out of the bottle. Every result the “Dubai Cheater” has ever had is now suspect. Actually, one could drop the “Dubai Cheater” and just say that every FIDE result is suspect.