Checkmate by the patriarchy

Yifan Hou is the 87th ranked chess player in the world.

What is the difference between Yifan and the 86 chess players higher up the ranking?

Yifan is female.

If ever there was an illustration of the pernicious and mendacious nature of the patriarchy, this must be it.

Where is the diversity in the world of chess? What on earth is FIDE planning to do about this egregious imbalance between the genders? A disparity as shocking as this makes the gender pay gap pale into insignificance.

Bill’s Opinion

The next time you hear a discussion about the patriarchy, gender pay gaps or gender bias, ask the protagonist for their opinion on the fact that the highest ranking female chess player is languishing down in the 80s on the world ranking.

Ask them, for example, whether this is explained by one or several of the following possible reasons;

  1. The rules of chess are, in some way not yet obvious, biased towards men or against women,
  2. Parents and teachers are deliberately or unconsciously dissuading girls from taking up the board game,
  3. Girls are put off by the masculine and aggressive toxic male culture surrounding an ancient board game consisting of moving 32 pieces around a grid.
  4. The male and female brain differs slightly such that, at the extreme ends of the statistical distribution, an obvious divergence occurs.
  5. Another reason which you haven’t yet thought of but would be very open to hearing about.

Reason 4 seems the most likely contributor to the objective and observable fact that, at the elite level, the best chess players are men.

Could Yifan finish you or I off in half a dozen moves on a chess board? Without a doubt.

Could she beat the number one ranked man? Not a chance.

In other news, the vast majority of prisoners convicted of violent crime are men as are most firefighters. That’s probably something to do with duh patriarchy too, no doubt.

7 Replies to “Checkmate by the patriarchy”

  1. I could be wrong, but it seems as if the clamour for equality of outcome is most obvious where the most money for the least risk is on offer. Although the pressure for more female participation in front line combat roles is a counterpoint here.

    I have been impressed by the increase in female traffic control technicians for roadworks interruptions. But haven’t seen if this extends to concreters, or crane drivers. I suspect it has not. Or truck drivers.

  2. I heard an interesting little fact a few weeks ago, during the World Cup fever briefly affecting the UK (Well, only England, actually). There is a strong campaign to get the women’s national team taken as seriously as the men’s side. It turns out that the women play practice matches against Sixth Form boy’s teams. They often win, of course; these are the best women football players in the country. But not always. The national team is sometimes defeated by 17 and 18 year old youths.

    1. Regular school teams or representative level?
      My anti-Wendyball prejudice clouds my judgement of this fact; my default position is that it’s a girls’ sport anyway so wouldn’t the two genders compete quite well anyway?
      More logically though, speed and stamina diverge at the higher ends of the distribution across men and women.
      Are you old enough to remember the Battle of the Sexes tennis matches?

    2. The same thing happens in women’s hockey. The Canadian national women’s team plays against Junior A boys (okay, young men – age 18 to 20, with some players somewhat younger). They have to play a ‘women’s rules” game (significant limitations on body contact), and the women can be competitive – but not against the best teams. Note that Junior A is not the top tier of junior hockey – that’s either Major Junior or possibly US NCAA Division I college. The Canadian women are one of the two best women’s teams in the world, with them and the US being head-and-shoulders better than anyone else.

      1. Ice Hockey, presumably?

        The differences between Olympic records amuse me too; the .22 rifle prone target event doesn’t instinctively seem an sport where bigger muscles and bones would be an advantage, but there is a difference nonetheless.

          1. Well, without wishing to get all jingoistic about things, we happen to be conversing in a language called “English”, not “Canadian”……

            Saying that, have you ever asked an Australian what they mean by “footy”?

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