On ChessWorld, in the chess forum, we had a discussion about male/female players. The question was… are men
better at chess….? and some wondered why men are/were better… Some people think chess is a male game. I didn’t play chess when I was at school, although I could play, as there were always only boys playing…as I said before on my blog… I felt intimidated by those boys giving me the look of…”hey… you’re a girl…and you play chess!”… as if it’s actually a boy’s game…I think nowadays boys/men have accepted that chess is also a girls/female game and that we can actually also play the game, and sometimes even a bit better…also, I think it’s just a matter of statistics. For some men on the site, it’s even hard to lose a game to a woman! I experience it every now and then and quite recently had again such an experience of a male player that couldn’t handle the fact that a female was beating him.
We have also two tournaments going…where there are equally male/female players in both… I’m in the one tournament…and in this tournament the outcome looks positive for both sexes…in the other tourney it seems to be the females that will walk away as the winners…How do you feel? Are men better…is it a male game…what’s your opinion?
On THIS LINK you can follow the discussion about male/female chess on CW. This forum link will open in a new window.
In the following chess game, I played white. My opponent – this game was played more than six months ago, before this entry - was about 400+ ahead of me although he’s actually a 2000+ player, which means he would then be 800 ahead of me. He resigned at the end. You can click on the link and it will open in a new window to play through the game. I think it was also a bit of luck on my side. He wasn’t really impressed with the fact that I was beating him. Then, best of all, the game got more attention in the chess forum as an annotated game with a title: “Underdog wins”…Here is the game link ….Nikita1 vs. No6
This chess art is a brilliant piece of art by Roger Morin
I came across a site with very useful information… a very extensive site where you can read more about the research/study that was done about the female/male chess player! Read here an extract and you can follow the link to read the entire article! There is more to read than just this extract… you will not regret reading more!
After examining the data the researchers made four statements summarized below:
They found that men and women differed in chess ability in all age groups even after differences like frequency of play (read: level of training) or age were taken into account. The disparity between men and women in ability exists at the beginning and persists across all age groups. At least ostensibly this would lend credence to the ability distribution hypothesis in the sense that it suggests the mean ability between men and women are innately different. The last piece of data looks at whether that is true.
They found no greater variance in men than women. It had been suggested that since science selects for individuals at the upper tail of the distribution, a higher variance in men than women might explain their greater representation. However, the researchers found that — with respect to chess — if anything in most age groups women had a higher variance then men. Upper tail effects do not explain the differences in the numbers of grandmasters.
They found that women and men do not drop out more or less frequently when ability and age are factored out. For example, if you are not very good at chess you are more likely to stop playing tournaments, but girls and boys that are equally good are equally likely to stop playing. This strikes a blow at the differential dropout hypothesis.
Finally, here is the interesting part. If you look at the participation rate of women and relate that to performance, you find that in cases where the participation rate of women and men is equal the disparity in ability vanishes. Basically, this means that in zip codes where there are equal numbers of men and women players there is no great disparity between male and female ability — and certainly not a disparity in ability large enough to explain the difference in the numbers of grandmasters…read moreHEREabout the research/study.
Update: 26Dec 2008: You can read on THIS LINK new info on a new “gentle“ research that was done by a chess player from the Oxford University to prove that it’s only statistics when it comes to male/female GM’s…the link will open in a new window.
On this pdf-link you can read more about male/female chess players and the personality of chess players.
Click on here to find out if you have a male/female brain. The link will open in a new window.
I had this chess game in this post annotated, here is the annotation if you’re interested.
1.e4 e5 2.d4 d5!? Playable, but not the best. Black can’t afford to mimic White’s moves, especially when it comes to centre Pawns. The obvious (2…exd4) is best.
3.f3 Weakening the King’s position. Best is simply (3.dxe5 dxe4 4.Qxd8+) and Black loses the castling priviledge, although with the Queens off the board this isn’t too critical.
3. … Bb4+ Wastes time, as White will simply interpose the c-pawn and the Bishop will have to retreat. Best is (3…exd4).
4.c3 Bd6 5.exd5 exd4 6.Qxd4 Nf6 7.Bg5 O-O Since the shaky first three moves, both sides have played quite well, but here (7…Nbd7) is better, as White will now be able to shatter Black’s King’s position.
8.Bxf6 gxf6 [8...Qxf6 may be safer, if not better, for if 9.Qxf6 gxf6], Black has the same Pawn formation as in the game, but White’s main attacking piece (the Queen) is gone.
9.Bd3 Qe7+ Since White can cover the check with a developing move, it may have been better to start chipping away at the White centre with (9…c6). Also worth considering is (9…Be5).
10.Ne2 b6 11.Be4 An unnecessary moving of the same piece twice in the opening. White should complete her development with (11.Nd2), followed by castling (Queenside being safer in this case, because of the semi-open g-file).
11. … Bb7 Logical, given his previous move, but (11…f5) would’ve forced White to retract her last move.
12.c4 Another unnecessary move, as the d-pawn was amply protected. White should once again have played (12.Nd2).
12. … Nd7 It’s hard to knock a move that develops a new piece, but (12…Be5) was stronger here.
13.Nd2 White finally makes this move, but as long as the c-pawn is no longer preempting c3, this Knight would be better placed there.
c5?? Once again, (13…Be5) would have been an uncomfortable move for White to face. The text is a blunder which should lose a piece.
14.dxc6 Be5? Wrong time for this move now, as it just compounds his previous error. Better is (14…f5 15.cxb7 Rab8 16.Bd3) etc.
15.Qd3?! Good enough to maintain the advantage, but (15.Qxd7 Qxd7 16.cxd7 Bxe4 17.Nxe4 Bxb2 18.Rb1 Be5 19.f4) is much stronger.
15. … Bxb2? Here Black had a chance to avoid the worst with (15…Nc5 16.Qc2 Bc8 17.Bxh7+ Kg7).
16.Rb1 Good, but better is (16.cxb7 Rae8 17.Rb1 Nc5 18.Qe3) etc.
16. … Ne5 (16…Bxc6) is probably better, although Black would still be losing.
17.Qc2 Ba3 Again, (17…Bxc6) is better, but perhaps Black was trying to confuse the issue.
18.cxb7 White now has an overwhelming advantage, and should win with reasonably careful play.
Rab8 19.O-O Prudent, but White should have played (19.Bxh7+) while the opportunity presented itself.
19. … Bc5+ 20.Kh1 Qd7 Here Black might have tried getting rid of the thorn in his side with (20…f5 21.Bxf5 Rxb7).
21.a4 There’s still no reason why White can’t play (21.Bxh7+).
21. … Nc6 Seals off White’s b-pawn, but (21…Ng6) would have saved Black’s h-pawn …
22.Bxc6 … except that White doesn’t seem to want Black’s h-pawn for some reason.
Qxc6 23.a5 Worth considering is (23.Qe4).
23. … Rxb7 Black finally eliminates White’s advanced Pawn, but is not yet out of the woods. For one thing, he’s still a piece down.
24.a6 More of an annoyance move than anything else. (24.Ne4), with the idea of exchanging off Black’s Bishop, is better.
24. … Re7 25.Nf4 (25.Ne4) is still probably the better move, but the text isn’t bad, either.
25. … Be3 Flashy, but inconsequential.
26.g3!? A bit dangerous. With (26.Nd5) White would be assured of eliminating Black’s Bishop.
26. … Bxd2?! Obliging White by exchanging the Bishop himself, thinking only of winning the c-pawn. Something like –26…Rd8– is probably better.
27.Qxd2 Qxc4 Black regains a Pawn, but the real threat was White moving her Knight to h5, followed by Qh6 threatening mate in two. Therefore, (27…Re5) is safer.
28.Ra1 Fortunately for Black, the above-mentioned threat doesn’t occur to White.
Qc6 29.Kg2 Once again, [29.Nh5 would force 29...Re5, then 30.Qh6 threatens mate in two, so Black would have to play 30...Rxh5], losing the exchange.
29. … Rd7 30.Qc1 Offering the exchange of Queens, which isn’t a bad idea, as White is a piece ahead.
Qxc1 Black should have avoided the exchange of Queens by, say, (30…Qb5).
31.Raxc1 Rd2+ Black gets more mileage out of this move than he should.
32.Kh3 Better would be (32.Rf2), when Black would either have to exchange Rooks or retreat.
32. … Ra2 33.Nh5 White trades her a-pawn for Black’s doubled f6-pawn, not a good deal as Black will now have two connected passed Pawns. Better is (33.Ra1).
33. … f5 Of course, Black doesn’t have to let the forward f-pawn go easy, but it would have been better to take the a-pawn.
34.Nf6+ Once again, better is (34.Ra1).
34. … Kg7 35.Nd7 Rd8 36.Ne5 Here White might have tried [36.Rc7, and if 36...Rxa6, THEN 37.Ne5].
36. … Rdd2 Black doubles Rooks on the second rank, normally a very strong manoeuvre. However, it’s stronger when White’s King is still on the first rank.
37.g4!? Much safer would be protecting the h-pawn with (37.Rh1).
37. … Rxh2+ 38.Kg3 Rag2+ It was at this point that Nikita asked me to look at this game. My comment at the time (not giving her any actual advice as to which move to make, of course) was, “If you can avoid checkmate in the next few moves, you may have a chance at winning.” Prophetic, as it turned out.
39.Kf4 Ra2?! Back to attacking the a-pawn, but he should have first played (39…fxg4).
40.gxf5 The natural move to make, but (40.Rc7) is much stronger.
40. … f6? Gives White the game. (40…Ra4+) would have made a fight of it.
41.Rc7+ Kg8 42.Rg1+ Rag2 Forced, as —42…Kf8 43.Rf7+ Ke8 44.Rg8– is mate.
43.Rxg2+ Rxg2 44.Nd7 Rg7 It makes little difference what Black plays now.
45.Rxa7 b5 46.Ra8+ A bit of a slip. (46.Nxf6+) would have won quicker.
46. … Kf7 47.Nc5 And now (47.Rf8+) is stronger, but White is wrapping up the point.
47. … Rg8 48.Ra7+ And here exchanging Rooks was quicker, but it would be hard for White to lose this game almost regardless of what she plays.
Kf8 49.Rxh7 Even better would be [49.Ne6+), but the text is still good enough to win, as Black can’t stop White from queening the a-pawn. Black rightly resigned at this point.
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