Nigel Short, one of the greatest British chess players, ignited a feminist fury after saying that men are better “hardwired” for the game than women.
When asked by New In Chess magazine about the lack of women playing chess, Short responded with this egregious piece of commentary:
“Why should they function in the same way? I don’t have the slightest problem in acknowledging that my wife possesses a much higher degree of emotional intelligence than I do.
“Likewise, she doesn’t feel embarrassed in asking me to manoeuvre the car out of our narrow garage. One is not better than the other, we just have different skills.
“It would be wonderful to see more girls playing chess, and at a higher level, but rather than fretting about inequality, perhaps we should just gracefully accept it as a fact.”
Amanda Ross, who runs the Casual Chess Club in London told the Daily Telegraph,
“Judith Polgar, the former women’s world champion, beat Nigel Short eight classical games to three in total with five draws,” she said.
“She must have brought her man brain. Let’s just hope Nigel didn’t crash his car on those days, trying to park it. At least this resolves the age-old debate as to whether there’s a direct link between chess-playing ability and intelligence. Clearly not.”
Short responded to the statement on Twitter:
Short’s remarks highlight a common misogynistic attitude within the world of competitive chess.
Sabrina Chevannes, a British women’s international master, said the overwhelming sexist culture and male dominance within chess has led to a surge in dropouts from female chess players.
“Unfortunately, I do think there is a lot of sexism at every level of chess, from beginners right the way up to the top. We have to admit that it’s there. It has been present throughout my entire chess career and will be present for years to come. Nigel’s views are pretty representative of most of the men who are competing in chess.”
The idea that women and men have different brains reaches beyond the chess community into all facets of life and careers, where certain characteristics and job fields are designated by gender rather than a person’s qualifications and skill set. This forces women (and men) to succumb to gender roles and pushes them away from pursuing a career they want and allowing them to be their full, real selves.
Men and women are different but there are different ways of thinking and fighting still achieving the same results :) http://t.co/IPsiP8NJJ1— Judit Polgar (@GMJuditPolgar) April 20, 2015