Chess grandmaster Nigel Short: "men 'hardwired' to be better chess players than women"

Unless it’s a test of upper body strength, or a test of obstreperous sexism, then no, it’s not possible. In this case it was the latter, and Short wins! Also, I just spelled obstreperous right on the first try, how sweet is that?


Please explain the difference. It looks like you’re just using more words to say the same thing.

You do realize that the “natural differences” explanation has been (and continues to be) used as a basis for discrimination? It’s ideologically loaded, so even if you could untangle the “nature” from the “nurture” (spoiler: you can’t), I still wouldn’t be that quick to make categorical statements.


According to Doug Carlson, who was my best friend in fourth grade, Nigel Short’s defeat at the hands of a girl means that he is now, himself, a girl. Since Mr. Short is already well versed in Fourth Grade Gender Analysis, his defeat is doubly painful because girls are stupid and yucky.


What, you think this guy is some master of words?

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Let’s put this weakness in perspective: of the 1444 grandmasters listed by FIDE, 33 are women, but from what I can find out only three or four are black. America offers some 87 people, enough that there should statistically be about a dozen who are black, but there aren’t; the entire continent of Africa is the only one that is scarcely represented.

So one could say the “weakness in the black’s game” is even more startling, and there are certainly lots of factors that explain the difference. Would we then excuse someone like Short assuming blacks are simply hardwired not to achieve the success of other races? I hope most of us would recognize the circular reasoning and harm in that kind of declaration and condemn it. Let’s not excuse those who short women that way either.

And also, let’s remember that being good at one thing does not mean you know much about others.


Infection with girl cooties is a pre-game disqualifier in at least one FIDE member body.


I don’t think it works like this. When you are talking highly stratified activity, you often find that this stratification doesn’t scale linearly. If there were 20:1, we might have been lucky to actually have found that there are two in the top ranks. Quite often, in areas like this…you find that the minority outliers are pretty much tokens and skew the results. We’d have to get much higher than 20:1 (or whatever the real number is) and see how things scale to get a real read. I think the better choice would be to look at estimated percentages around the median of women vs. men, not at the high end.

That said, I kinda do think women are hardwired not to be better chess players. Mostly because it is a rare exception to find women engaged in pointless pursuits that do nothing to promote humanity, that focus on made up rules, to solve a problem that didn’t need to be solved, and could be better done by computers.


Damn. That’s a burn.


You’ve done all the work, why throw it away? If the status-quo represents a gender bias such as you’ve described, why would you try to infer any further conclusions regarding potential capacities based on differences in neurology from such a noisy signal?

5/10, would come again, shows promise.



Last post 5 hours ago. Joined 6 hours ago

Welcome aboard! Hope you enjoy your very brief stay here at BoingBoing because somehow I doubt we’ll ever see you in any other thread ever again.


That’s where I’d put some research effort. How much more ‘spare’ time do boys and then men have compared to women, which can be devoted towards getting great at something. Polgar isn’t necessarily the best woman player ever, but she is the one who’s been able to allocate the most time to becoming great at it. There are probably other - potentially better - female players out there who just never had the time to get great at it.

I can’t believe we’re having this conversation again. Fucking Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus bullshit.


The question and title-edit games are pretty much dominated by men. Take me and @japrohaig out of the mix and it evens out a bit.

Did we miss the contradiction where he cites his wife’s difficulties with driving as evidence of innate differences between men and women, but dismisses Judit Polgar’s solid defeat of him in a chess match as a mere anecdote?

EDIT: defeat of him.


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I know right… I’m getting kind of bored of them, too.


Wait… you’re not? Does that mean I shouldn’t send you your official cynic’s club membership kit?

The title “Grandmaster” is too similar to “Grand Wizard” for my taste.

If I had a bitcoin for each time a chess champ said something douchey…

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I suppose that is a rather pointless pursuit, but I wasn’t under the impression that it was a competition for anyone other than yourself and @japhroaig.


I’m guessing that his thinking goes along the lines of “Polgar defeated me once; my wife drives poorly all the time” moving it from anecdote to repeatable experiment.

Not that it does.