Saturday, March 11, 2006


Two Questions Arise from the US Championship

The US Championship finished and a detailed report is here. They combined the men and the women's events into one event, where the top female gets the Women's crown. Surprisingly, there was a 1667 rated player, Kelly Cottrell-Finegold, wife of IM Ben Finegold in the mix. Unfortunately, she went 0/9. In this thread here, Cottrell-Finegold is criticized for playing a rook down against rook down against a GM. This leads to two questions.

First Question: (the easy one), is it rude not to resign heavily down, especially against a much higher rated opponent?

Chess Pundit's take: Everyone has the right to keep playing. Unless you are a beginner, I say, go ahead and resign, especially if you are in a tournament when you have games to play that day or the next day. I feel it's best just to cut your losses and rest. It is foolish to play futilely down, expending energy, then have to jump right into another game. Of course there is one player who never ever ever resigns at my club. I also feel it is perfectly acceptable to get 3 queens before checkmating him.

Second Question: What's your opinion of gender segregation in chess? Top ten ranked Judith Polgar is known for refusing women's only events (see question 11). However, that strong attitude is far from universal.

Chess Pundit's take: It's good to encourage girls (and all kids) to play chess. (There are a lot of valuable lessons for kids in playing chess...for another post). For girls to take interest, they need role models, and perhaps women's only events are needed to help push it into the "spotlight." However, unlike basketball, chess is not a physical activity, so women do not have some natural physical disadvantage. It can create the appearance that women cannot compete with men because they aren't as smart and need their own special events.

Recently making a buzz in the "chess world" was Jennifer Shahade's "controversial" book "Chess Bitch." She decries gender disparity, but uses the same disparity to sell a book and write articles for newspapers... something that a 2350 rated male could never do. I can see leading to a discussion of why women generally aren't as good at chess, and I think the Susan Polgar beautifully answers that question in #10 of this interview. In closing, I think of the due course of time, a woman will eventually win the world championship and then gender segregated events will naturally fade away.

I'd love to hear your take on these questions.

Question 1. As long as it is within the rules it can't be rude. Chess is war you know. When I'm behind, I usually resign when all venom is disappeared from the position. If I notice though that my opponent is irrated by my attitude, I continue to play on, because irritation is a bad advisor.

Question 2. I consider the brains to be a biological computer. I can't imagine a single reason why that would work worse in women compared to men. Hence the urge to compare the performance of men and women in chess looks rather silly to me.
If there is a difference in performance then that must be attributed to other causes.
"something that a 2350 rated male could never do"

How many male 2350-rated players can boast of a degree in journalism from NYU?

Shahade is uniquely qualified to write about chess professionally, and the main reason is not her gender. :)
I missed this and I doubt this ever gets read so I'll keep it short.
1) Against a GM I think it is silly to play on, I wonder how much time she took. I think this is especially true since she really shouldn't have been in the tournament to begin with (this is regarding the way she got her "invite." Additionally, since she lost 9 games, and still collects $2000 bucks: does our dues pay for that prize fund?)

2) Patrick, I think Christopher was pointing out that not too many people would care to pay $ for a 2350 male chess player to write articles. I would also assume that there are quite a few 2350 male players that are quite capable of writing ariticles with or without a journalism degree and the only reason she could write that book is because she writes about the gender issues that a male wouldn't dare to....
To answer the question, I don't think there should be gender segregation but if female chess players want to play in those types of tournaments (and S. Polgar says they do) then go right ahead.
Have you read Chess Bitch? I wonder if its any good. (the chess artist was good, have you read that?)
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