KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: The Natural Superiority of Male Chessplayers ?!

I was once asked by a female visitor to our chess club just why do men chess players think they are superior to women–period? Gosh! What a loaded question!!  This was before we in America probably ever heard about obstacles faced by the family Polgar who came along– three girls taught by their father to play chess– exhibiting a terrible talent by each child who, each in turn during similar ages, mowed down just about all adversaries in national and international play among women while representing Hungary.  Being homeschooled and pressing upon each by their parents to excel in chess was a parental experiment to prove that with proper training and education, youngsters could prove superior at earlier ages than what was commonly thought up to that time.  Another fallacy was broken: Kids love to play chess for fun. A number of great chess teachers thought previously that a child should not start to study chess seriously until the age of about thirteen. (Nimsowitsch in My System).  By that age, the Polgar sisters achieved national and international fame and the chessworld sat in awe at the play coming from the sisters.  There can be no doubt that their successes spurred many more boys and girls to take up chess with parents and schools discovering  a new occupation called “the chess coach”.  Chess was covered in news magazines and other literature which brought into the ranks of adherents with the expectation that if the Polgar family could achieve like they did, then “my Johnnie or my Sally could, too, with proper instruction.  TV programs began to take notice. Thus, boys and girls alike were often seen in major tournaments sitting across from each other ready for combat, many representing school teams while hordes of parents screened off from the playing area due to the noise some generated to the chagrin of their children.  One tournament organizer said the kids were better behaved than the parents!

Had I at the time been aware of these events, my answer would be readily backed up by fact, even if the Polgar experiment proved a rare oddity at the moment.

My explanation therefore followed the evidence that was voiced by scholars of high learning that men in general were superior to women in chess.  No woman had reached the Grandmaster title, let alone enormously skillful chessplay often seen at the critical moments of a chess battle.

She gave me a wry look: “But!” ( I confess to never remember meeting a woman who came up with more “buts.”). How to continue to give a decent and near as correct assessment to answer her question which, by now, I recognized as simply seeking an expert opinion; I held no wisdom other than from brief reads or in conversation with those who possessed such wisdom that I could relate.

It is my opinion in playing through thousands of chess games by a host of Grandmasters across the world, that there is a large assortment of replies to moves that vary among them as to choosing a correct plan.  Maybe there is no correct plan but only the assessment of various positions on the board that allude to the Grandmasters’ disposition at the time.  Maybe such a dilemma confuses the female player into wrong decisions where men see the illogical thought processes by women that reflects the inability to concentrate on different types of intellectual problems.  This, in turn, might lead to making fun of a woman’s skill.  Hey! Don’t quote me on that comment.

There is a whole lot of difference in attitudes and socially motivated concerns of women of different ages that range from desire for education, dating, having a desire for romance during highschool and later college. Such social interplay between the sexes lead to maturity and choosing wise choices once leaving the nest.  Single women usually find 26 to mid 30s as a time to view marriage and seeking a husband to form a family and have children.  Of course there is no set pattern as emotional love can enter the picture at any adult age.  A woman’s thoughts are deeper and more realistic sometimes.

Going back to the Polgar experiment, all three young ladies eventually married.  Sofia, who both Susan and Judit considered the strongest of the three in Susan’s book, Breaking Through, decided to marry and raise a family devoting limited time for competitive play as a member of the Hungarian Olympic team.  Susan was former world woman champion and runs a school for girls in chess. Judit is married and a mother as well and continues to play in male tournaments with considerable success.

The last decade saw a huge influx of female players in world tournaments and a recent entry by women from China who are dedicated to representing China with superior results in both men and women events.  The top young ladies in the chessworld today have sharpened their skill level and have made many contributions to theory and literature.

FIDE has made strides in bringing chess to third world countries. The western countries of Canada, Great Britain, France, United States and most of South America have fallen behind in the female category for top women players and quality women tournaments.

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