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Nigel Short says men 'hardwired' to be better chess players than women

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GM Nigel Short pooped a pile of male bovine excrement.

I didn't know whether to put this under psychology or under humor.

It is true that there are more male grandmasters than female grandmasters. But it is also true that there are more males than females in chess clubs by approximately the same ratio. There is no statistical evidence of difference of ability between men and women to develop skill at chess.

Some decades ago Miss Vera Menchik played against the best male chess players in the world. Alekhine wrote of her that she is an absolute exception, that there never was a woman like her before and never will be another woman like her. Since this 'absolute exception', several women arose in the Soviet Union of grandmaster strength, and then the Polgar sisters, 3 female grandmasters in one family, and more.

I thought by now the predjudice against female chess players was a thing of the past but it still comes up now and then.

Altho there is no difference between men and women in talent to play chess, there seems to be a difference in interest in competitive chess. How else can the ratio of men to women in the chess clubs be roughly 25 to 1? (And it probably would be greater than 25 to 1 if you exclude the women who are there mostly to meet men; see the breakdown by age.)

I know of 2 theories to explain this. It is possible that both theories are true.

Theory 1:

Competitive chess is combative. It is not so much for fun as for blood (figuratively speaking). Men are more combative than women. Women are more nurturing. So goes the theory.

Theory 2:

Men are more into game playing and silliness than women. Like Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble and the water buffaloes. In that cartoon series, the men act like children and the women are the sensible ones. What is so important about chess?

In connection with theory #2, it may be not coincidental that Objectivism was worked out by a female philosopher, not a male philosopher. Objectivism is a philosophy for living life on this earth here and now, down to earth, practical.

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Men are more combative than women and the same attribute can be seen in other species as with tom cats. As I have mentioned before when I was studying to be a teacher a film we watched showing the differences between the sexes goes back to the toddler stage or earlier in every culture they highlighted including the Japanese. I saw no difference in American and Japanese toddlers. Only later do cultural differences appear.

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Male Chess grandmasters and men who are skilled in highly-abstract thought in general are a very significant MINORITY of overall men, too (the same is true for women).

Calling this a Male/Female issue obscures the fact that we are not dealing with the general population. We're dealing with outliers.

It is plausible (and arguably probable) that the sexes may differ in terms of the likelihood of producing outliers in certain areas, but this doesn't say anything about the "typical" members of either sex.

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I learned to play chess from my high school sweetheart. Within a month, he couldn't beat me. He threw a tantrum, and we had a huge fight. The kind of fight that sends a 16-year-old girl into a he-doesn't-love-me-my-life-is-over spiral. My dad's reaction was that I should let my fella win at boys' games. I didn't play chess again for years, and when I did it wasn't exactly distasteful, but there was no fun in it at all.

Theory 3:

Girls are taught (overtly or covertly) that chess is a man's game and thus not for them. Boys are taught that there's shame in getting beat by a girl. And round and round it goes.

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I learned to play chess from my high school sweetheart. Within a month, he couldn't beat me. He threw a tantrum, and we had a huge fight. The kind of fight that sends a 16-year-old girl into a he-doesn't-love-me-my-life-is-over spiral. My dad's reaction was that I should let my fella win at boys' games. I didn't play chess again for years, and when I did it wasn't exactly distasteful, but there was no fun in it at all.

Theory 3:

Girls are taught (overtly or covertly) that chess is a man's game and thus not for them. Boys are taught that there's shame in getting beat by a girl. And round and round it goes.

That is insane!

I have started chess clubs in several places and always got girls/women involved.

When I was on the school board that I proposed that chess be taught in the first, or, second grades to all children.

You would have thought that I had proposed teaching calculus in kindergarten!

abbypreviewWY.jpg

Denker Champ Abby Marshall reveals why she's going for World Youth gold, the desserts she fears and how she feels about being called the "rocking teenage girl next door" in print. Update: Abby to play on board one in round two against Anastasia Savina of Russia (2401). Catch that and other games featuring Americans at 8 AM EST Nov.12, on the live game link.

Before I left for Turkey for the World Youth, I sat down with a reporter from the Daily Press, a local newspaper in my hometown Newport News, Virginia to talk a little about the tournament and what I’ve been up to.

Normally, I really dislike reading things about myself because I feel at worst it will be incorrect and at best it will tell me something that I already know. But this time, I am at a loss; I have no idea how to categorize this recent article.

No summary could do it justice, which you can see from the opening:

"Young Abby Marshall may look a lot like the rocking teenage girl next door.

But underneath her trademark T-shirt beats the heart of warrior — one whose remarkable displays of grit, cunning and ferocity on the 64-square battleground of chess have generated international admiration."

It is totally hilarious. It’s not like I wore anything flamboyant or made up stuff. What terrifies me is that I heard there is a billboard in Newport News with my picture on it that people can see driving down the highway. Omg.

We had her at our chess club in Gloucester Virginia.

Not only is she a great chess player, she is a wonderful teenage young lady who is tough as nails on the board.

I had a great chance to spend a few hours with her and just talk chess and being a teenager.

Plus she and I loved and played the Kings Gambit openings because of it's power and scope.

Her dad was also an amazing parent and was being both a protector and champion for her being raised as a regular girl.

It was a treasure meeting her.

http://www.uschess.org/content/view/9846/554/

A...

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I learned to play chess from my high school sweetheart. Within a month, he couldn't beat me. He threw a tantrum, and we had a huge fight. The kind of fight that sends a 16-year-old girl into a he-doesn't-love-me-my-life-is-over spiral. My dad's reaction was that I should let my fella win at boys' games. I didn't play chess again for years, and when I did it wasn't exactly distasteful, but there was no fun in it at all.

Theory 3:

Girls are taught (overtly or covertly) that chess is a man's game and thus not for them. Boys are taught that there's shame in getting beat by a girl. And round and round it goes.

Dad should have told you to kick the boy in the balls, especially him. Then the fun could have continued. Another boy seeing that might have fallen in love with you. Boys love a balls kicker.

--Brant

this is metaphorical--for most cases

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Male Chess grandmasters and men who are skilled in highly-abstract thought in general are a very significant MINORITY of overall men, too (the same is true for women).

Calling this a Male/Female issue obscures the fact that we are not dealing with the general population. We're dealing with outliers.

It is plausible (and arguably probable) that the sexes may differ in terms of the likelihood of producing outliers in certain areas, but this doesn't say anything about the "typical" members of either sex.

How do you know this? I'm skilled in highly-abstract thought but not chess. Chess requires tremendous powers of concentration and memory. Highly-abstract thought is easy--or so it seems to me. It's a matter of interest. To make that kind of thinking work for you is what requires real effort or you're just the guru on top of the mountain not making things happen in the downtown of a life.

--Brant

OL guru

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There is a definite shortage of female chess grand masters. The FIDE in no way prevents women from competing so the shortage of women grand masters is either a cultural artifact or the men who play chess are better at it.

There is also a very small number (non-zero) of top line women mathematicians and women theoretical physicists. They exist but in much smaller numbers than their proportion in the population. Why? Either there is a cultural barrier or the men who are in the theory business are better at it.

Be aware that men relate better to objects than women (in general). So that might be a clue.

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Be aware that men relate better to objects than women (in general). So that might be a clue.

Bob, what do you precisely mean by this?

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Be aware that men relate better to objects than women (in general). So that might be a clue.

Bob, what do you precisely mean by this?

Boobs?

--Brant

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There is a definite shortage of female chess grand masters. The FIDE in no way prevents women from competing so the shortage of women grand masters is either a cultural artifact or the men who play chess are better at it.

There is also a very small number (non-zero) of top line women mathematicians and women theoretical physicists. They exist but in much smaller numbers than there proportion in the population. Why? Either there is a cultural barrier or the men who are in the theory business are better at it.

Be aware that men relate better to objects than women (in general). So that might be a clue.

There is a definite shortage of male nurses, male elementary school teachers, and male stay-at-home parents. There is no entity preventing them from becoming any of those things. It must be a cultural artifact or women are better at being nurses, elementary school teachers, and stay-at-home parents.

:smile:

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Why are any of us allowing the marxist's to control our semantic into classes, groups and niche issue psychos?

More male astronauts.

Way way more female mothers...close to 100% would be my guess.

However, we would of course have to commission to spend millions to confirm that!

A...

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Boobs?

--Brant

Machines and planets.

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abbypreviewWY.jpg

look at that! The eyes of a killer. She is an Amazon.

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abbypreviewWY.jpg

look at that! The eyes of a killer. She is an Amazon.

Agreed. She radiates intense intelligence and yet she and her parents have worked out a way that she could still be a teenager.

Wonderful young lady and a killer chess player.

Look at pitcher Harvey for the NY Mets and you will see the same look.

Bob Gibson had that look and if you crowded his plate he would literally throw at your head.

A great competitor.

A...

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Michael, in person she was a joy.

When I walked by her board and watched her opening with the King's Gambit and knew I was in love. It is my favorite opening.

Also, Bobby Fishers. He advocated it in a 1961 magazine. She used it a lot also. It is extremely quick developing and from a Kingside castle position middle game position unveil a power open file rook when the night moves.

The ability to put extreme pressure on the Kingside castle position rapidly and through out the mid game is astonishing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King%27s_Gambit,_Fischer_Defense

The King's Gambit John Shaw - Quality Chess
http://www.qualitychess.co.uk/ebooks/King%27sGambit-excerpt.pdf

Here is a fascinating statement, I have never read Shaw:

However, the switch makes sense when one realizes that King’s Gambit players are extremists – it is all or nothing. And there are none so virtuous as a reformed King’s Gambit player.

Beautiful analysis. The therapeutic value of the perfect game. NO LUCK, NO WIND. NO REFS. Just your mind against the others.

And no excuses if you lose.

Love the game.

A...

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King's Gambit. Like single wing football which one hardly sees anymore. Just the boring old "T" formation.

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King's Gambit. Like single wing football which one hardly sees anymore. Just the boring old "T" formation.

You are dating yourself Bob...

http://2000footballplaybooks.com/offense/1/t-formation/15/2000-t-formation-by-football-plays/877/

A...

Go Knute Rockne

"Four years of football are calculated to breed in the average man more of the ingredients of success in life than almost any academic course he takes."

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/k/knute_rockne.html#zjv2qjXOmJ1W0JY8.99

By the way, another huge gap that Ayn, and by extension, many Objectivists followed, is a disdain for sports and that is another major problem with spreading the ideas.

"Most men, when they think they are thinking, are merely rearranging their prejudices."

"We can all be geniuses because one definition of genius is the infinite capacity for taking pains."

"Football is a game played with arms, legs and shoulders but mostly from the neck up."

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I think Deanna's experiences show that culture probably plays SOME part in this. I mean, let's face it, many women are often told to act like bimbos because that will mean boys won't be frightened of them (the mere thought of giving into this belief system is what makes d'Anconia slap Dagny across the face, btw. It clearly happens to at least some women in our culture).

On the other hand, biology may play a role. Spatial reasoning (imagining objects moving in 3d space) seems to be (in general) a little more advanced in males, whilst verbal reasoning seems to be (in general) a little more advanced in females at the same ages. Of course, culture may play a part in this too since we encourage females to play all those "Mean Girls"-esque social politics.

At the ultra-high-end of the outliers spectrum it is still possible there may be a biological predisposition towards one sex or another.

Still, I think it is frankly irrational to try and boil things down to one exclusive factor. It also reeks of determinism. Clearly the differences between the sexes are most rationally understood through a bio-social interactionist lens. Nature and nurture both play a role, as do factors at the individual level.

I would reject the idea that the "real" difference is zero, but on the other hand I don't think "Mars/Venus" is true either. I think the Danish describe the sex difference as "The Little Difference," i.e. its there but its modest and hardly the end of the world. I think that's probably the most rational attitude to take. Its there in aggregate but its not massive and there's variance around that and really its no massive deal.

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White male sexist racist repression obviously...

oops, did not include the new talking point ... insert .... and privilege...

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