Chess commentator sacked after "chess is maybe not for women" remark

Originally published at: Chess commentator sacked after "chess is maybe not for women" remark | Boing Boing


According to a friend who is a chess coach at the elementary school level, this misogynistic attack on girls in chess starts early. She says that the youngest kids are evenly split between boys and girls, and by the 2nd or 3rd grade, it’s dominated by boys - in part because the boys start to push girls out by their behavior and partially because of the larger culture around tournaments, which are still dominated by older men who hold pretty sexist views (much like on display here). She’s doing her best to push back against that, but she’s only one coach in one place.

Systemic misogyny is pretty strong in the chess world, in other words.


When your first day is your worst day. And your last day.


A Woman taught me to play chess, so he’s very wrong about that.


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TV commenting is maybe not a job for shitweasels?


There was even a whole critically acclaimed Netflix miniseries about it.

(And even that show was justifiably accused of misogyny since they included a historically inaccurate line belittling the accomplishments of real-life chess grandmaster Nona Gaprindashvili.)


And then these same old farts tut-tut about what a shame it is that young people these days aren’t interested in chess.


My friend watched it and liked it… I have not gotten around to it, but heard it downplays the misogyny a bit, by having them accept her when she wins, which that only enrages misogynists, as we all know. And all the stuff with the real Grandmaster, too.


I saw it and it had a generally positive message about women in chess (the main character is brilliant, driven and flawed in all kinds of complex ways) but the throwaway line where a character incorrectly states that Gaprindashvili had “never faced men” was a real head-scratcher to say the least.

It would be like making a movie about a fictional Black baseball star in the early 1950s and then having some passing line where a commentator says “oh look, it’s Jackie Robinson! He’s the most celebrated player in the Negro Leagues but he’s never played against a white man…”


And Netflix has settled the court case, after claiming that it had no merit. Netflix settles lawsuit with chess champion over 'The Queen's Gambit'


I’m beginning to wonder if chess is for people with social skills enough to recognize that they are playing other people.

This is not a people problem… it’s a problem with some of the men in the sport. Let’s be specific here and not just assume that it’s a bunch of nerdy weirdos that are the problem, but instead recognize it as a society-wide problem with misogyny. :woman_shrugging: There is not a single women (whether they admit it or not) who have not had to deal with systemic misogyny in their lives. Every single one of us, no matter what profession we end up in, or what we’re doing with our lives, have had to deal with this kind of thing at some point or another. It’s pervasive and systemic.


This is fair and I should’ve been more careful in how I worded my post as this is certainly another instance of deep seated societal misogyny. In relation to chess, I have been around some higher level chess matches and am comfortable saying that the worst is often unfortunately tolerated.

I had hoped to draw a connection between this and the previous story of CM acting much like a spoiled man-child but you are correct to smack me into acknowledging that they are two distinct issues. Thanks. :slight_smile:


Wait, is he accusing her of cheating with a remote control anal vibrator or is there some other definition of “playing like a man” in play here?

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I think what they really meant to say was, “commentating is definitely not for me”.

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Gosh, really. Thanks for pointing out how systemic misogyny works… as clearly, my lady brain struggled to understand it, even though I deal with it in my own life. Thanks for correcting me, and explaining my own struggles back to me. :+1:


As I said above, my friend who is a chess coach also plays competitively and often discusses these issues with me. The problems with misogyny in chess are just some of the same stuff women have to face in any aspect of our lives. It’s a universal problem, as I was just explained to after already having said it…

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Yep. This book, by definitely-not-a-man, improved my game tremendously with just one pass through it!