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Why I support the trans ban in women’s chess

Koneru Humpy (R) is the highest ranked woman from India but there are 27 men ranked above her. Credit: Getty

August 17, 2023 - 3:05pm

Chess is the latest discipline to protect women’s competitions. FIDE — the International Chess Federation — has announced that:

In the event that the gender was changed from a male to a female the player has no right to participate in official FIDE events for women until further FIDE’s decision is made. Such decision should be based on further analysis and shall be taken by the FIDE Council at the earliest possible time, but not longer than within 2 (two) years period. There are no restrictions to play in the open section for a person who has changed the gender.
- FIDE

This is welcome news, and I say that as a transgender chess player. 

Most chess is mixed-sex. Men and women play alongside each other and against each other. Hou Yifan — currently the highest ranked woman in chess — is a Grandmaster. She earned that title by beating men in open competitions and, although my experience of chess is at a far lower level, every event I have ever entered was open to both sexes. My transition 11 years ago had no impact on my ability to move my chess pieces.

Why, then, are there chess competitions organised just for women? Unlike physical sport, neither our muscles nor our skeletons are the issue; chess is a mind game. But the fact remains that there are 149 men ranked above Hou Yifan, including at least two 17-year-old boys. At the level of chess I am familiar with — recreational club chess — similar patterns emerge. Men tend to dominate the room and take most of the prizes, and without separate female competitions, women might win very little. So, from purely empirical reasoning, women’s competitions make sense. 

But why are women under-represented in chess? It’s hardly the fault of society if the same pattern emerges consistently across the world. Hou Yifan is the tenth best Chinese player. Koneru Humpy — the highest ranked woman from India — is 28th overall. Meanwhile, Irina Krush is the best female chess player from the US, with 116 American men ranking above her.

The truth is that human beings are part of nature. Men and women evolved different bodies and we have also evolved different psychologies. It’s possible that evolution has left men with an innate advantage in chess.

According to Dr Carole Hooven, Harvard evolutionary biologist and author of Testosterone: The Story of the Hormone that Dominates Us and Divides Us,  “males have a large advantage over females in spatial ability and, to the extent that spatial ability contributes to chess performance, this would help to explain the male advantage (on average) in chess.’ Speaking to UnHerd, Hooven added: “Of course, social factors matter too, but we should not rule out the possibility that males’ inherited biology contributes to the male advantage.”

But whatever the reason, transwomen share our evolutionary history with men. In the womb, we developed in the same way when our XY chromosomes caused our bodies to develop along the male pathway. Transwomen might have an unsual psychological condition — the compulsion to be perceived as the opposite sex — but that does not make us women. As such, we need to stay out of women’s sport and out of women’s chess.


Debbie Hayton is a teacher and a transgender campaigner.

DebbieHayton

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Richard M
Richard M
11 months ago

My view is that women in competitive sport at all levels deserve their own protected category based on biological sex. We have all observed male performance advantage in dozens of sex-affected sports many thousands of times, from school sports days to every Olympic 100 metres finals. It is real.
Unless the evidence shows either that there is no or negligeable male performance advantage in a given sport or that male performance advantage can be safely reduced to zero or negligeable, then trans-women should not be admitted to women’s competitive sport. Alternative means should be sought by governing bodies to make their sports welcoming.
The situation in sports like Canadian powerlifting is ludicrous. A trans-woman crushing the field in a women’s competition is not a victory for anything other than misogyny. But I’ll admit I’m more hesitant about the case of competitive chess. Is there really a sex-based male performance advantage or is it social and cultural factors which largely account for men’s dominance?
I don’t know the answer but an example from classical music does come to mind. Traditionally concert violinists were predominantly male and it was assumed men were simply better, but over the last few decades women have become the majority. It turned out that it was largely social and cultural factors keeping them out. In fact, if there is a sex-based advantage to playing the violin at all, then it is probably in women’s favour (i.e. women typically have smaller fingers, there is some evidence they perform very fine motor actions better than men etc).
So I think FIDE’s approach is broadly correct: start from a position that male dominance reflects a sex-based advantage, therefore trans-women should not be admitted into women’s competitive chess, while looking closely at the evidence to see if this position is supported. But if the evidence comes down on the side that there is no sex-based advantage, then my view is trans-women should be admitted to women’s competition.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

This is much too reasonable comment.

Terry Davies
Terry Davies
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

And thank goodness for that!! Phew!

Terry Davies
Terry Davies
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

And thank goodness for that!! Phew!

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

We seem to have accepted the existence of male and female brains.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Well listen to Jordan Peterson.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

There is the ongoing discussion of Nature vs Nurture. Pre-1972, chess was dominated by the USSR and its satellites. Young boys who were good at chess were whisked away to special schools. Men dominated. A strong Hungarian player, Laslo Polgar, had three daughters and he took up their schooling personally, giving them the same treatment as the boys in his country. One of them, Judit, famously became one of the top ten players in the world. She also had a very aggressive, almost-masculine, attacking style.

Recently, India and China have started to dominate chess and the standard of women players is rising but not in any way approaching men. Having women’s competitions has to be seen as an encouragement. But, as we speak, the Chess World Cup is taking place in Azerbaijan. The winner of the Open tournament gets twice money as much as the winner of the women’s tournament. This seems to be fair as any woman could enter the Open event.

I don’t agree that women’s brains are so different that they can’t play as well as men. The boys who play at the top today are super-nerdy and girls are more mature at the key ages – between 10 and 16 say. I think that it is just not cool for the girls to be so nerdy. But perhaps in very poor countries it would be a chance for girls to achieve something.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

No!!! Please not that.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Well listen to Jordan Peterson.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

There is the ongoing discussion of Nature vs Nurture. Pre-1972, chess was dominated by the USSR and its satellites. Young boys who were good at chess were whisked away to special schools. Men dominated. A strong Hungarian player, Laslo Polgar, had three daughters and he took up their schooling personally, giving them the same treatment as the boys in his country. One of them, Judit, famously became one of the top ten players in the world. She also had a very aggressive, almost-masculine, attacking style.

Recently, India and China have started to dominate chess and the standard of women players is rising but not in any way approaching men. Having women’s competitions has to be seen as an encouragement. But, as we speak, the Chess World Cup is taking place in Azerbaijan. The winner of the Open tournament gets twice money as much as the winner of the women’s tournament. This seems to be fair as any woman could enter the Open event.

I don’t agree that women’s brains are so different that they can’t play as well as men. The boys who play at the top today are super-nerdy and girls are more mature at the key ages – between 10 and 16 say. I think that it is just not cool for the girls to be so nerdy. But perhaps in very poor countries it would be a chance for girls to achieve something.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

No!!! Please not that.

Melissa Martin
Melissa Martin
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

If there’s no sex based advantage to either arm-wrestling or chess why would we segregate by sex? We don’t in equestrian sports. With very few exceptions we segregate by sex for good reason.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Melissa Martin

Apparently, according to Debbie and contrary to what feminists have been claiming for the past few decades, there’s a female brain and, as far as chess is concerned, it’s not match for the male brain.

Richard M
Richard M
11 months ago
Reply to  Melissa Martin

“If there’s no sex based advantage to either arm-wrestling or chess why would we segregate by sex?”

That’s the question FIDE are setting out to investigate, isn’t it?

For avoidance of doubt and in case I wasn’t clear in my earlier posts, I agree that a protected female category in sport is necessary in most sports for good reasons. Usually fairness and often safety too.

Stephen McAlpine
Stephen McAlpine
11 months ago
Reply to  Melissa Martin

Tho the stats would, under any normal reading, clearly indicate there IS an advantage. If men and women play chess equally the same, then the coin-toss test that gets 149 tails in a row (the number of men above the highest ranked female) is statistically beyond astronomical. Science seems to be settled in everything except the areas we don’t agree with it in.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago

‘If men and women play chess equally the same, then the coin-toss test that gets 149 tails in a row (the number of men above the highest ranked female) is statistically beyond astronomical. ‘
That is a completely invalid statistical test for the difference of means of two normal distributions!

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago

‘If men and women play chess equally the same, then the coin-toss test that gets 149 tails in a row (the number of men above the highest ranked female) is statistically beyond astronomical. ‘
That is a completely invalid statistical test for the difference of means of two normal distributions!

Michael K
Michael K
11 months ago
Reply to  Melissa Martin

The reasons for segregation were explained in the article.
You should consider why your response to biological males demanding to be able to play in women only competitions is to suggest wiping out women only competitions.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Melissa Martin

Apparently, according to Debbie and contrary to what feminists have been claiming for the past few decades, there’s a female brain and, as far as chess is concerned, it’s not match for the male brain.

Richard M
Richard M
11 months ago
Reply to  Melissa Martin

“If there’s no sex based advantage to either arm-wrestling or chess why would we segregate by sex?”

That’s the question FIDE are setting out to investigate, isn’t it?

For avoidance of doubt and in case I wasn’t clear in my earlier posts, I agree that a protected female category in sport is necessary in most sports for good reasons. Usually fairness and often safety too.

Stephen McAlpine
Stephen McAlpine
11 months ago
Reply to  Melissa Martin

Tho the stats would, under any normal reading, clearly indicate there IS an advantage. If men and women play chess equally the same, then the coin-toss test that gets 149 tails in a row (the number of men above the highest ranked female) is statistically beyond astronomical. Science seems to be settled in everything except the areas we don’t agree with it in.

Michael K
Michael K
11 months ago
Reply to  Melissa Martin

The reasons for segregation were explained in the article.
You should consider why your response to biological males demanding to be able to play in women only competitions is to suggest wiping out women only competitions.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

This sensible view is absolutely correct, but also undermined by females themselves.
Chess has relatively limited TV exposure and prize money. But for sports with more money and publicity, such as football, women are desperate to be “equal” and rejecting biological differences -while being even more uncompetitive than in Chess, and insisting on a separate women’s category.
That makes it a lot more difficult to push back against the trans lobby.

It is also amusing that having fewer female violinists was due to “social and cultural factors “, but when they form the majority, or in other fields such as teaching which are dominated by what men, it’s because they are “better”.

Romi Elnagar
Romi Elnagar
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Your comment drips with misogyny. I have taught for many years, and I never have read or heard it claimed that women predominate in the teaching profession because we are “better.” In fact, I have usually heard–as I believe myself–that we predominate because teaching is one of the few professions where an educated woman has an equal chance at getting a job. Even so, there are more women teachers in elementary schools, and the proportion of women to men decreases as one goes up the educational ladder, and so by the time one reaches the college level, male professors generally outnumber female professors. And the pay is better there, too.
To say women are “desperate” to be equal is ugly and insulting. We have EVERY RIGHT TO WANT AND DEMAND TO BE EQUAL. Maybe YOU think it’s fun to be paid less than your equals, but most people would say that being paid 70 cents for every dollar a man makes is unfair.
Not to mention stupid. Throwing away the talents and abilities of half the population is a certain recipe for backwardness.
Or hadn’t you noticed?

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Romi Elnagar

In case you haven’t noticed, sports like football are largely an entertaintment business and individuals and teams get paid for producing results and putting bums on seats. If men’s football teams generate more interest and income than women’s teams, of course they get paid more. Nothing whatever to do with misogyny.
You might equally argue that Taylor Swift should be paid the same as Elton John for her concerts. Perhaps she gets paid less. Or possibly more. Who cares ? Their fans decide.

Stephen McAlpine
Stephen McAlpine
11 months ago
Reply to  Romi Elnagar

The Women’s World Cup was a smash hit. Rightly so. Well watched and well attended. The Women’s English Premier League on the other hand? 35 thousand people will go to watch a mid-winter, mid-table clash between also-rans in the men’s EPL. a couple of hundred for the equivalent women. The money for soccer does not come at the top, but from below. Fans will buy an Australian Women’s Soccer shirt, but very, very few are walking around in a Sam Kerr Chelsea shirt. And the money comes from the market share. The women’s US team, in the lead up to the World Cup, was beaten 6-0 by Wrexham (of Disney series fame), who are four divisions below the EPL, having only just re-joined the professional leagues after 15 years out. Women’s football is fun to watch, but it’s not the same game in the way that go-karting is fun to watch, but it’s not F1.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago
Reply to  Romi Elnagar

‘Maybe YOU think it’s fun to be paid less than your equals, but most people would say that being paid 70 cents for every dollar a man makes is unfair.’
I think somebody who can say that deserves to be paid only 70% of what people who don’t say that are paid.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Romi Elnagar

In case you haven’t noticed, sports like football are largely an entertaintment business and individuals and teams get paid for producing results and putting bums on seats. If men’s football teams generate more interest and income than women’s teams, of course they get paid more. Nothing whatever to do with misogyny.
You might equally argue that Taylor Swift should be paid the same as Elton John for her concerts. Perhaps she gets paid less. Or possibly more. Who cares ? Their fans decide.

Stephen McAlpine
Stephen McAlpine
11 months ago
Reply to  Romi Elnagar

The Women’s World Cup was a smash hit. Rightly so. Well watched and well attended. The Women’s English Premier League on the other hand? 35 thousand people will go to watch a mid-winter, mid-table clash between also-rans in the men’s EPL. a couple of hundred for the equivalent women. The money for soccer does not come at the top, but from below. Fans will buy an Australian Women’s Soccer shirt, but very, very few are walking around in a Sam Kerr Chelsea shirt. And the money comes from the market share. The women’s US team, in the lead up to the World Cup, was beaten 6-0 by Wrexham (of Disney series fame), who are four divisions below the EPL, having only just re-joined the professional leagues after 15 years out. Women’s football is fun to watch, but it’s not the same game in the way that go-karting is fun to watch, but it’s not F1.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago
Reply to  Romi Elnagar

‘Maybe YOU think it’s fun to be paid less than your equals, but most people would say that being paid 70 cents for every dollar a man makes is unfair.’
I think somebody who can say that deserves to be paid only 70% of what people who don’t say that are paid.

Romi Elnagar
Romi Elnagar
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Your comment drips with misogyny. I have taught for many years, and I never have read or heard it claimed that women predominate in the teaching profession because we are “better.” In fact, I have usually heard–as I believe myself–that we predominate because teaching is one of the few professions where an educated woman has an equal chance at getting a job. Even so, there are more women teachers in elementary schools, and the proportion of women to men decreases as one goes up the educational ladder, and so by the time one reaches the college level, male professors generally outnumber female professors. And the pay is better there, too.
To say women are “desperate” to be equal is ugly and insulting. We have EVERY RIGHT TO WANT AND DEMAND TO BE EQUAL. Maybe YOU think it’s fun to be paid less than your equals, but most people would say that being paid 70 cents for every dollar a man makes is unfair.
Not to mention stupid. Throwing away the talents and abilities of half the population is a certain recipe for backwardness.
Or hadn’t you noticed?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

This is much too reasonable comment.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

We seem to have accepted the existence of male and female brains.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
Melissa Martin
Melissa Martin
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

If there’s no sex based advantage to either arm-wrestling or chess why would we segregate by sex? We don’t in equestrian sports. With very few exceptions we segregate by sex for good reason.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

This sensible view is absolutely correct, but also undermined by females themselves.
Chess has relatively limited TV exposure and prize money. But for sports with more money and publicity, such as football, women are desperate to be “equal” and rejecting biological differences -while being even more uncompetitive than in Chess, and insisting on a separate women’s category.
That makes it a lot more difficult to push back against the trans lobby.

It is also amusing that having fewer female violinists was due to “social and cultural factors “, but when they form the majority, or in other fields such as teaching which are dominated by what men, it’s because they are “better”.

Richard M
Richard M
11 months ago

My view is that women in competitive sport at all levels deserve their own protected category based on biological sex. We have all observed male performance advantage in dozens of sex-affected sports many thousands of times, from school sports days to every Olympic 100 metres finals. It is real.
Unless the evidence shows either that there is no or negligeable male performance advantage in a given sport or that male performance advantage can be safely reduced to zero or negligeable, then trans-women should not be admitted to women’s competitive sport. Alternative means should be sought by governing bodies to make their sports welcoming.
The situation in sports like Canadian powerlifting is ludicrous. A trans-woman crushing the field in a women’s competition is not a victory for anything other than misogyny. But I’ll admit I’m more hesitant about the case of competitive chess. Is there really a sex-based male performance advantage or is it social and cultural factors which largely account for men’s dominance?
I don’t know the answer but an example from classical music does come to mind. Traditionally concert violinists were predominantly male and it was assumed men were simply better, but over the last few decades women have become the majority. It turned out that it was largely social and cultural factors keeping them out. In fact, if there is a sex-based advantage to playing the violin at all, then it is probably in women’s favour (i.e. women typically have smaller fingers, there is some evidence they perform very fine motor actions better than men etc).
So I think FIDE’s approach is broadly correct: start from a position that male dominance reflects a sex-based advantage, therefore trans-women should not be admitted into women’s competitive chess, while looking closely at the evidence to see if this position is supported. But if the evidence comes down on the side that there is no sex-based advantage, then my view is trans-women should be admitted to women’s competition.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
11 months ago

If there is no sex based advantage in chess or any other competitive activity then clearly men and women should compete together in a single competition where sex is not a relevant consideration.

If there is in fact a noticeable advantage to one sex as there seems to be in chess for whatever reason and in many physical sports then it is not unreasonable that the sex that seems to suffer a marked disadvantage be allowed to compete in a sex exclusive competition if they wish to do so, and such competition should not be disrupted by the opposite sex claiming to be of that sex and so being allowed to compete in such restricted competition.

As “trans men” can clearly compete in the open chess competitions they should stick to those rather than claim to be women for the purpose of joining women’s competition as men clearly have some competitive advantage despite the uncertainty as to the basis for that advantage.

Tom W
Tom W
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Your terminology is reversed. It’s “trans women” would “should stick to those rather than claim to be women for the purpose of joining women’s competition”. “Trans woman” is the term used for a biological male who lives / presents as a woman.

Tom W
Tom W
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Your terminology is reversed. It’s “trans women” would “should stick to those rather than claim to be women for the purpose of joining women’s competition”. “Trans woman” is the term used for a biological male who lives / presents as a woman.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
11 months ago

If there is no sex based advantage in chess or any other competitive activity then clearly men and women should compete together in a single competition where sex is not a relevant consideration.

If there is in fact a noticeable advantage to one sex as there seems to be in chess for whatever reason and in many physical sports then it is not unreasonable that the sex that seems to suffer a marked disadvantage be allowed to compete in a sex exclusive competition if they wish to do so, and such competition should not be disrupted by the opposite sex claiming to be of that sex and so being allowed to compete in such restricted competition.

As “trans men” can clearly compete in the open chess competitions they should stick to those rather than claim to be women for the purpose of joining women’s competition as men clearly have some competitive advantage despite the uncertainty as to the basis for that advantage.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago

This why insisting that a university math department have equal number of male and female professors is not rational if is merit based. These are people who are a couple of standard deviations off normal to start with and men are disproportionally advantaged in this area.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Yes equal opportunity, not equity.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Yes equal opportunity, not equity.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago

This why insisting that a university math department have equal number of male and female professors is not rational if is merit based. These are people who are a couple of standard deviations off normal to start with and men are disproportionally advantaged in this area.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago

To succeed at Chess you need to be hyper-competitive. That’s a trait much more commonly found in men than women.

The paradox of feminism is that it devalues those traits in which women are stronger than men and promotes masculinity as something that women should aspire to instead.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago

To succeed at Chess you need to be hyper-competitive. That’s a trait much more commonly found in men than women.

The paradox of feminism is that it devalues those traits in which women are stronger than men and promotes masculinity as something that women should aspire to instead.

William Cameron
William Cameron
11 months ago

It’s always a one way street. Male bodied people (I call them men) want to play against women, want to get into women’s showers changing rooms etc.
You dont get women clamouring to get into male sports.

William Cameron
William Cameron
11 months ago

It’s always a one way street. Male bodied people (I call them men) want to play against women, want to get into women’s showers changing rooms etc.
You dont get women clamouring to get into male sports.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago

Chess is notably ruthless and aggressive. Female psychology, in the aggregate more given to cooperation than to confrontation, to care than to competition, doubtless flinches from the killer instinct, the will to dominate and even humiliate an opponent which the game involves.

John Solomon
John Solomon
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

What happened to ‘the female of the species is more deadly than the male’?

Melissa Martin
Melissa Martin
11 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

When necessary.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

In a different way.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago

Quite so. And, in further reply to our friend, I did say, “in the aggregate”.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago

Quite so. And, in further reply to our friend, I did say, “in the aggregate”.

Melissa Martin
Melissa Martin
11 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

When necessary.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

In a different way.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

You never played Judit Polgar…..

Romi Elnagar
Romi Elnagar
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I think you are “on to” something here. This may well be one of the reasons why women don’t do so well in competitive sports, and chess. Pity that we don’t have sports where “winning” involves making friends and COOPERATING with the opposite team.

Last edited 11 months ago by Romi Elnagar
John Solomon
John Solomon
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

What happened to ‘the female of the species is more deadly than the male’?

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

You never played Judit Polgar…..

Romi Elnagar
Romi Elnagar
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I think you are “on to” something here. This may well be one of the reasons why women don’t do so well in competitive sports, and chess. Pity that we don’t have sports where “winning” involves making friends and COOPERATING with the opposite team.

Last edited 11 months ago by Romi Elnagar
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago

Chess is notably ruthless and aggressive. Female psychology, in the aggregate more given to cooperation than to confrontation, to care than to competition, doubtless flinches from the killer instinct, the will to dominate and even humiliate an opponent which the game involves.

Susan Scheid
Susan Scheid
11 months ago

Someone has noted that the legal foundation for the FIDE determination need not rely on biological difference, but merely on the issue of underrepresention. The cite given was to the Equality Act 2010, section 159 (1) (b), which states:

159Positive action: recruitment and promotion

(1)This section applies if a person (P) reasonably thinks that—

(a)persons who share a protected characteristic suffer a disadvantage connected to the characteristic, or

(b)participation in an activity by persons who share a protected characteristic is disproportionately low.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/159

This appears to me to be the best rationale for FIDE’s decision at the present time.

Last edited 11 months ago by Susan Scheid
Richard M
Richard M
11 months ago
Reply to  Susan Scheid

That may be legally correct but is under-representation – just on its own – morally right as grounds for exclusion of trans-women, do you think?

It’s only my opinion, but I believe women have an absolute right to protected single-sex spaces based on legitimate grounds like safety, fairness, dignity, same-sex attraction etc. In the absence of such grounds, surely we should lean into inclusion as much as possible?

Under-representation of women in chess may well be an issue, but probably one most effectively addressed by encouraging more women to play.

Of course, FIDE may conclude from their analysis of the evidence that there are other significant reasons for men’s dominance in chess, e.g. a biological advantage. In which case the grounds of fairness for protecting the womens category would apply.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

When the top female players are regularly beating the top male players, then you can argue that sex based categories are no longer needed. However until then, whether it’s nature or nurture it appears that women have a disadvantage over their male counterparts, therefore we should stick to the open and female classes

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

In that case you will have a men’s category.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

With only open and female categories, if female players excel they will dominate all of chess and males will never win.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

But females aren’t dominating are they? If they were then yes you’d maybe switch the categories to open and biological male but it isn’t the case

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

But females aren’t dominating are they? If they were then yes you’d maybe switch the categories to open and biological male but it isn’t the case

Sacha C
Sacha C
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Thank you, such a simple clear and helpful response.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

In that case you will have a men’s category.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

With only open and female categories, if female players excel they will dominate all of chess and males will never win.

Sacha C
Sacha C
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Thank you, such a simple clear and helpful response.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

When the top female players are regularly beating the top male players, then you can argue that sex based categories are no longer needed. However until then, whether it’s nature or nurture it appears that women have a disadvantage over their male counterparts, therefore we should stick to the open and female classes

Richard M
Richard M
11 months ago
Reply to  Susan Scheid

That may be legally correct but is under-representation – just on its own – morally right as grounds for exclusion of trans-women, do you think?

It’s only my opinion, but I believe women have an absolute right to protected single-sex spaces based on legitimate grounds like safety, fairness, dignity, same-sex attraction etc. In the absence of such grounds, surely we should lean into inclusion as much as possible?

Under-representation of women in chess may well be an issue, but probably one most effectively addressed by encouraging more women to play.

Of course, FIDE may conclude from their analysis of the evidence that there are other significant reasons for men’s dominance in chess, e.g. a biological advantage. In which case the grounds of fairness for protecting the womens category would apply.

Susan Scheid
Susan Scheid
11 months ago

Someone has noted that the legal foundation for the FIDE determination need not rely on biological difference, but merely on the issue of underrepresention. The cite given was to the Equality Act 2010, section 159 (1) (b), which states:

159Positive action: recruitment and promotion

(1)This section applies if a person (P) reasonably thinks that—

(a)persons who share a protected characteristic suffer a disadvantage connected to the characteristic, or

(b)participation in an activity by persons who share a protected characteristic is disproportionately low.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/159

This appears to me to be the best rationale for FIDE’s decision at the present time.

Last edited 11 months ago by Susan Scheid
j watson
j watson
11 months ago

Read something somewhere that Grandmaster status strongly correlated with age when person started to play the game and practice – younger the better. And the science suggestive additional neuronal connections pertinent to the spatial awareness and recall in chess stimulated best in the young (less than 12yrs of age I think) as brain develops. Didn’t from recollection mention any sex differences but sample clearly heavily male biased.
Fascinating.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
John Murray
John Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Interesting, if true. Judit Polgar was raised to be a chess prodigy by her parents, so she would fit with that hypothesis (her older sister also made full Grandmaster as well I think, but did not go as high against men as Judit did (Judit was world top ten at one point)).

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

Yes the question may be – are there social factorsat play that enables more young boys to start Chess at an earlier age, and hence have the neuronal development in greater numbers than girls? I think one just needs to be inquisitive as we remain in the foothills of understanding brain development.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

Judit has two older sisters. Sofia smashed me once in a blitz game, but she stopped at IM, not grandmaster.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Women may not be on average quite as strong as men at chess today, but there are some great female chess commentators today (Judit Polgar’s one, Jovanka Houska’s another). And they work very well with the male commentators with great mutual respect. Definite signs that female chess is growing fast and quite likely the gap with male players will close.
Chess fans will know that the semi-finals of both the mens and womens world cup start tomorrow ! Both worth following.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Women may not be on average quite as strong as men at chess today, but there are some great female chess commentators today (Judit Polgar’s one, Jovanka Houska’s another). And they work very well with the male commentators with great mutual respect. Definite signs that female chess is growing fast and quite likely the gap with male players will close.
Chess fans will know that the semi-finals of both the mens and womens world cup start tomorrow ! Both worth following.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

Yes the question may be – are there social factorsat play that enables more young boys to start Chess at an earlier age, and hence have the neuronal development in greater numbers than girls? I think one just needs to be inquisitive as we remain in the foothills of understanding brain development.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

Judit has two older sisters. Sofia smashed me once in a blitz game, but she stopped at IM, not grandmaster.

John Murray
John Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Interesting, if true. Judit Polgar was raised to be a chess prodigy by her parents, so she would fit with that hypothesis (her older sister also made full Grandmaster as well I think, but did not go as high against men as Judit did (Judit was world top ten at one point)).

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

Read something somewhere that Grandmaster status strongly correlated with age when person started to play the game and practice – younger the better. And the science suggestive additional neuronal connections pertinent to the spatial awareness and recall in chess stimulated best in the young (less than 12yrs of age I think) as brain develops. Didn’t from recollection mention any sex differences but sample clearly heavily male biased.
Fascinating.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago

I don’t know of any strong transgender chess players.
Certainly none that could beat Hou Yifan.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago

I don’t know of any strong transgender chess players.
Certainly none that could beat Hou Yifan.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago

It would seem to me that chess is one of those competitive games that could support gender outliers. So a female genius could well emerge – the Netflix miniseries/novel fan The Queen’s Gambit fantasised about this – but reality may care to differ. Too many contingencies perhaps to produce an all-conquering female Grandmaster in the face of a herd of competitive, highly focused and possibly autistic (savant) males which goes full circle back to a fictional imaginary.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago

Trans people are .003% of the population. What percentage of media attention would you calculate and why the disparity?

Last edited 11 months ago by Jerry Carroll
Sacha C
Sacha C
10 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

Because the narrative and actual policy development affect everybody, with this article specifically referring to how women are affected, who are 51% of the population.
The disparity is in your understanding of the nuance of debate and not media representation.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
11 months ago

Sorry, but this article fails to convince me that women’s chess should even exist, given that the game is purely mental. Okay, women have only a short history in chess, so of course the top ranks will mostly be men, but women have overcome imbalances like this in job after job. Make chess a unisex game, and the trans problem goes away.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Gore

As the article notes, at most levels chess is a unisex game. I haven’t played for over 30 years, but at club and county level it always was. There just weren’t many women (at least in the UK). The top/professional level is an exception – for now.

Sacha C
Sacha C
10 months ago
Reply to  Alan Gore

Your comment fails to convince me that your comments should even exist.
Did you grasp the concepts? You refer to a short history in chess and overcoming imbalances without addressing the points at all.
The difference in rankings indicate that, for whatever reason, there needs to be separate Sex-based classes at top levels, if women want to compete at that level. You might not give a hoot, but they clearly do.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Gore

As the article notes, at most levels chess is a unisex game. I haven’t played for over 30 years, but at club and county level it always was. There just weren’t many women (at least in the UK). The top/professional level is an exception – for now.

Sacha C
Sacha C
10 months ago
Reply to  Alan Gore

Your comment fails to convince me that your comments should even exist.
Did you grasp the concepts? You refer to a short history in chess and overcoming imbalances without addressing the points at all.
The difference in rankings indicate that, for whatever reason, there needs to be separate Sex-based classes at top levels, if women want to compete at that level. You might not give a hoot, but they clearly do.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
11 months ago

Sorry, but this article fails to convince me that women’s chess should even exist, given that the game is purely mental. Okay, women have only a short history in chess, so of course the top ranks will mostly be men, but women have overcome imbalances like this in job after job. Make chess a unisex game, and the trans problem goes away.

Mike Buchanan
Mike Buchanan
11 months ago

It’s so refreshing to see some acceptance of innate gendered differences. Feminists’ denial of significant differences in gender-typical brains is only one of their most ludicrous denials.
Where men and women compete on a level playing field – metaphorically, but sometimes literally – at the top levels men will always beat women. That’s the simple reason there are women’s sports and even pastimes such as chess.
It would be interesting to read an article by Julie Bindel on this chess issue. I doubt we’ll see one because she isn’t a big fan of male superiority, however undeniable, as here.
Mike Buchanan
JUSTICE FOR MEN & BOYS
http://j4mb.org.uk
LAUGHING AT FEMINISTS
http://laughingatfeminists.com

Tom W
Tom W
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Buchanan

Innate sex differences

Sacha C
Sacha C
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Buchanan

Oh Mike I looked at your links and you are foul. I really didn’t know there were people like you displaying their toxic little ideas in public. Really stomach churning.

I cannot even imagine how much laughing feminists around the world do about you. Just think, for every feminist you poke fun at on your sad little website there are a thousands laughing hard at you. I’m going to watch your video on photography again, over 8 minutes of pure comic genius. Are you this hilarious on a day to day basis? Ridiculous personified.

Mike, we are laughing at you, not with you.
You make me want to laugh till I puke.

Tom W
Tom W
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Buchanan

Innate sex differences

Sacha C
Sacha C
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Buchanan

Oh Mike I looked at your links and you are foul. I really didn’t know there were people like you displaying their toxic little ideas in public. Really stomach churning.

I cannot even imagine how much laughing feminists around the world do about you. Just think, for every feminist you poke fun at on your sad little website there are a thousands laughing hard at you. I’m going to watch your video on photography again, over 8 minutes of pure comic genius. Are you this hilarious on a day to day basis? Ridiculous personified.

Mike, we are laughing at you, not with you.
You make me want to laugh till I puke.

Mike Buchanan
Mike Buchanan
11 months ago

It’s so refreshing to see some acceptance of innate gendered differences. Feminists’ denial of significant differences in gender-typical brains is only one of their most ludicrous denials.
Where men and women compete on a level playing field – metaphorically, but sometimes literally – at the top levels men will always beat women. That’s the simple reason there are women’s sports and even pastimes such as chess.
It would be interesting to read an article by Julie Bindel on this chess issue. I doubt we’ll see one because she isn’t a big fan of male superiority, however undeniable, as here.
Mike Buchanan
JUSTICE FOR MEN & BOYS
http://j4mb.org.uk
LAUGHING AT FEMINISTS
http://laughingatfeminists.com

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago

What an I’ll thought out and poorly argued position.
The rationale all along for separating men from women in sports has been physicality.
Now mental abilities are also being invoked.
This doesn’t sit nicely with the feminist mantra that women can do anything that men can do and there is no difference between the male and female brains.
The feminists book I am currently reading dedicates several chapters to discredit the argument that male and female brains exist.
Now this white knight for biological females comes along and knocks down the tottering edifice of feminist theory.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Or perhaps, DH is simply basing her article on the evidence and your book is presenting you with a skewed opinion?

Must admit, i was surprised by her stance but having read her arguments they seem cogent enough. Females can choose to compete against males at chess if they so wish.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Richard M
Richard M
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

“Now mental abilities are also being invoked”

If those “mental abilities” are substantially driven by sexual dimorphism and significantly impact the activity in question, then why shouldn’t they be relevant?

“This doesn’t sit nicely with the feminist mantra that women can do anything that men can do”

That position was never sustainable once the reality of biological male bodies in women’s sport intervened.

However, there is an important distinction between equal performance and equal respect.

The England Women’s football team could not compete against the England Men’s football team because of sex-based performance differences. But their achievement in reaching the World Cup final is worthy of equal respect.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

So you accept the existence of male and female brains?

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Personally yes, I believe that on average make and female brains do behave in slightly different ways. Granted there will always be some crossover, same as their is with physicality but I think their are differences mentally between the sexes

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Are those differences (if they exist) innate from birth or result from the way neuronal connections develop based on early exposure to various phenomena?
And obviously if more the latter than that is changeable.
Neuroscience and the current thinking on brain development is fascinating. Undoubtedly it’ll further evolve and it’s moving at a rapid pace.
Being definitive now doesn’t strike me as a particularly wise stance in light of that.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Agree that we probably don’t know for certain today about the “why”. Likely we will get a much stronger sense in the next decade or so. And – as ever with science – the answer will be whatever it is. Regardless of what we wanted it to be.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I’ve no idea if it’s nature or nurture, if I’d have to guess I’d wager it’s a little of both. Bit of a chicken and egg scenario in that did social norms come about because of the differences in the brains or did the brains adapt to social structures.
However it’s caused though currently females appear to be at a disadvantage, therefore until we know the reasoning behind it their category should be protected in the interest of fairness.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Agree that we probably don’t know for certain today about the “why”. Likely we will get a much stronger sense in the next decade or so. And – as ever with science – the answer will be whatever it is. Regardless of what we wanted it to be.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I’ve no idea if it’s nature or nurture, if I’d have to guess I’d wager it’s a little of both. Bit of a chicken and egg scenario in that did social norms come about because of the differences in the brains or did the brains adapt to social structures.
However it’s caused though currently females appear to be at a disadvantage, therefore until we know the reasoning behind it their category should be protected in the interest of fairness.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Are those differences (if they exist) innate from birth or result from the way neuronal connections develop based on early exposure to various phenomena?
And obviously if more the latter than that is changeable.
Neuroscience and the current thinking on brain development is fascinating. Undoubtedly it’ll further evolve and it’s moving at a rapid pace.
Being definitive now doesn’t strike me as a particularly wise stance in light of that.

Richard M
Richard M
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

“So you accept the existence of male and female brains?”

I certainly accept the possibility in principle. Though I’m not a medical doctor, psychologist, or evolutionary biologist so I wouldn’t claim any expertise in the specifics.

Put it this way: evolution can self-evidently create physical dimorphism. Men are, on average, taller, stronger etc. So I don’t see why, at least in principle, evolution can’t create cognitive dimorphism.

It seems to me that even those who claim not to believe in any differences between men and women often do really, because they usually ascribe negative cognitive and emotional characteristics differently to men and women (e.g. they typically take it as read that men are naturally more aggressive).

If I were asked to create a working hypothesis, I would guess cognitive differences work a bit like physical differences in that the two sexes overlap. For example, if you arrange every physically able man in a line fastest to slowest. Then in a parallel line do the same with the equivalent group of women. The fastest woman will be standing next to something like the 2,000th fastest man, but will still be faster than the vast majority of men.

Just a working hypothesis.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I do.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Amazed how many feel informed enough on the latest in neuroscience to be so definitive in answering your question WS? Isn’t the only intelligent position to be inquisitive?
‘Now Galileo are you not accepting the Sun orbits the Earth’ said the Inquisitor.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Personally yes, I believe that on average make and female brains do behave in slightly different ways. Granted there will always be some crossover, same as their is with physicality but I think their are differences mentally between the sexes

Richard M
Richard M
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

“So you accept the existence of male and female brains?”

I certainly accept the possibility in principle. Though I’m not a medical doctor, psychologist, or evolutionary biologist so I wouldn’t claim any expertise in the specifics.

Put it this way: evolution can self-evidently create physical dimorphism. Men are, on average, taller, stronger etc. So I don’t see why, at least in principle, evolution can’t create cognitive dimorphism.

It seems to me that even those who claim not to believe in any differences between men and women often do really, because they usually ascribe negative cognitive and emotional characteristics differently to men and women (e.g. they typically take it as read that men are naturally more aggressive).

If I were asked to create a working hypothesis, I would guess cognitive differences work a bit like physical differences in that the two sexes overlap. For example, if you arrange every physically able man in a line fastest to slowest. Then in a parallel line do the same with the equivalent group of women. The fastest woman will be standing next to something like the 2,000th fastest man, but will still be faster than the vast majority of men.

Just a working hypothesis.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I do.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Amazed how many feel informed enough on the latest in neuroscience to be so definitive in answering your question WS? Isn’t the only intelligent position to be inquisitive?
‘Now Galileo are you not accepting the Sun orbits the Earth’ said the Inquisitor.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

So you accept the existence of male and female brains?

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
David Renton
David Renton
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

there comes a point where gendered sports, become do we want to watch the less capable players.
While there are just reasons to segregate women/men from physical sports. Chess, Darts, Snooker, and E-sports less so.
It’s not much different from having a separate spelling bee, for people who are not that great at spelling.

Surely we are interested in the best Chess Player, not the 150th-best player.
It’s very condescending isn’t it, look Women are just not as good at Chess, so here have your little competition that no one is interested in

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  David Renton

For what it’s worth I’ve found watching the Lionesses get to the Women’s World Cup final multiple times a more joyous experience than anything associated with Men’s football. Can’t quite articulate why. Maybe because they seem closer to us normal folks and thrill of seeing the joy that finally getting some equality in respect infectious. Been noticeable too that the spirit in which the games are played, highly competitive, but without some of the gamesmanship prevalent in the Male game. Hopefully will stay that way.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I’ll articulate it for you then. The English soccer team always chokes on penalty kicks and especially harry Kane. So yes you don’t want to follow a losing team. On the other hand, the English women’s team is doing very well so sure it gives one national pride that they are winning. But then go look at premier league versus the woman’s equivalent and there is no comparison – and guess what? The attendance at premier league games is no doubt well over 10-fold that at the equivalent women’s games.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

For sure, success has led to more following the journey of which I am one. But that has a benefit doesn’t it as it would for whichever country was having this success.
Women’s football some way to go of course to be anywhere near the reach and depth of the men’s game, but could you have imagined 7million watching a Women’s semi-final when we were kids?

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

For sure, success has led to more following the journey of which I am one. But that has a benefit doesn’t it as it would for whichever country was having this success.
Women’s football some way to go of course to be anywhere near the reach and depth of the men’s game, but could you have imagined 7million watching a Women’s semi-final when we were kids?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I’ll articulate it for you then. The English soccer team always chokes on penalty kicks and especially harry Kane. So yes you don’t want to follow a losing team. On the other hand, the English women’s team is doing very well so sure it gives one national pride that they are winning. But then go look at premier league versus the woman’s equivalent and there is no comparison – and guess what? The attendance at premier league games is no doubt well over 10-fold that at the equivalent women’s games.

Gareth JustGareth
Gareth JustGareth
11 months ago
Reply to  David Renton

I would love to watch a spelling bee for people who are not that great at spelling. Sounds hilarious, if frustrating. “Please spell ‘cacographer’…”

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  David Renton

For what it’s worth I’ve found watching the Lionesses get to the Women’s World Cup final multiple times a more joyous experience than anything associated with Men’s football. Can’t quite articulate why. Maybe because they seem closer to us normal folks and thrill of seeing the joy that finally getting some equality in respect infectious. Been noticeable too that the spirit in which the games are played, highly competitive, but without some of the gamesmanship prevalent in the Male game. Hopefully will stay that way.

Gareth JustGareth
Gareth JustGareth
11 months ago
Reply to  David Renton

I would love to watch a spelling bee for people who are not that great at spelling. Sounds hilarious, if frustrating. “Please spell ‘cacographer’…”

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I think the issue really is as follows. To be a top chess player you have to be well outside the average and located in the tiny right-most wing of the Gaussian chess ability distribution. If that distribution is wider for men than for women (as it is for IQ, for example), then there will be more men in the extreme wings than women (similarly, when it comes to violent crime the ratio of men to women is probably at least 10 to 1 if not more).. It’s really a matter of simple math and statistics. In other words, for regular level amateur club chess players, there is probably minimal to no difference, but at grandmaster level the differences are amplified hugely, with the result that there may be 5-10 times more men than women at a particular super high level. That’s really the key because if you take the top 10 players, for example, there may be one woman to 9 men, so it would hardly be surprising that a man is #1.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Or perhaps, DH is simply basing her article on the evidence and your book is presenting you with a skewed opinion?

Must admit, i was surprised by her stance but having read her arguments they seem cogent enough. Females can choose to compete against males at chess if they so wish.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Richard M
Richard M
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

“Now mental abilities are also being invoked”

If those “mental abilities” are substantially driven by sexual dimorphism and significantly impact the activity in question, then why shouldn’t they be relevant?

“This doesn’t sit nicely with the feminist mantra that women can do anything that men can do”

That position was never sustainable once the reality of biological male bodies in women’s sport intervened.

However, there is an important distinction between equal performance and equal respect.

The England Women’s football team could not compete against the England Men’s football team because of sex-based performance differences. But their achievement in reaching the World Cup final is worthy of equal respect.

David Renton
David Renton
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

there comes a point where gendered sports, become do we want to watch the less capable players.
While there are just reasons to segregate women/men from physical sports. Chess, Darts, Snooker, and E-sports less so.
It’s not much different from having a separate spelling bee, for people who are not that great at spelling.

Surely we are interested in the best Chess Player, not the 150th-best player.
It’s very condescending isn’t it, look Women are just not as good at Chess, so here have your little competition that no one is interested in

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I think the issue really is as follows. To be a top chess player you have to be well outside the average and located in the tiny right-most wing of the Gaussian chess ability distribution. If that distribution is wider for men than for women (as it is for IQ, for example), then there will be more men in the extreme wings than women (similarly, when it comes to violent crime the ratio of men to women is probably at least 10 to 1 if not more).. It’s really a matter of simple math and statistics. In other words, for regular level amateur club chess players, there is probably minimal to no difference, but at grandmaster level the differences are amplified hugely, with the result that there may be 5-10 times more men than women at a particular super high level. That’s really the key because if you take the top 10 players, for example, there may be one woman to 9 men, so it would hardly be surprising that a man is #1.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago

What an I’ll thought out and poorly argued position.
The rationale all along for separating men from women in sports has been physicality.
Now mental abilities are also being invoked.
This doesn’t sit nicely with the feminist mantra that women can do anything that men can do and there is no difference between the male and female brains.
The feminists book I am currently reading dedicates several chapters to discredit the argument that male and female brains exist.
Now this white knight for biological females comes along and knocks down the tottering edifice of feminist theory.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw