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Why are they separating women's from men's championships? Are we supposed to infer something about difference in intelligence? I certainly just did!
I think that the main reason is that historically, the playing strength of top female chessplayers has been considerably less than the top male chessplayers, e.g., based on current ratings, the average top 10 male chessplayer is expected to win 78% of his games against the average top 10 female chessplayer, and the highest ranked female chessplayer peaked at only #8 in the world rankings. As such, a world title for females only gives females a chance to earn a world title.Originally Posted by nonoob
Of course, there are factors that contribute to this, e.g.,
- The pool of strong female players is limited, so ironically, the female-only tournaments perpetuate the reduced playing strength of the strongest females.
- Perhaps due to the popular perception of chess as a male sport, the overall pool of females is smaller than males. As such, the "pyramid" of talent for females is smaller than that of the males, hence the top of the "pyramid" is also lower.
- The desire, or external pressure, of women to raise a family takes time away from building a career as a professional chessplayer. Men tend to be seen as breadwinners, so this responsibility of say, taking care of children, is typically reduced.
I don't think it's really fair to give women a separate category just because women have traditionally done worse.
Otherwise, since Asians traditionally did badly at Olympics basketball (because they are shorter on average), Asians should get a separate category to compete in, too (BTW, I am a short Asian).
Height has so little to do with basketball it's almost a stereotype of the entire sport. I blame the fact that black people play it more, who, on average, are taller than a bunch of other ethnic groups. It makes it seem like only tall people can or should play.
I don't know if it's as much to do as people claim (I have no interest in basketball), but wouldn't a 6' person have some advantage over a 4' person in rebounding?
It's true that a lot of stereotypes like this are self-fulfilling prophecies (have you read Outliers: The Story of Success by Gladwell? very enlightening book, and has a whole chapter devoted to this), but I don't think this is one of them.
I'm gonna agree with both of you. Speaking out the side of my mouth since I have rarely ever played basketball, I just can't believe height and reach, long legged speed, etc, wouldn't be a clear advantage. However, I don't believe that is the reason black people in America have done so well -- contra the stereotype there, black people are not on average taller than white people. The difference is purely cultural, in the same sense that white people do not have some innate advantage at hockey, but they do dominate the professional field.
That being said, the difference between men and women chess players would also seem to be cultural, but I think traditionally "we" consider women universally disadvantaged and compensate with separate leagues.
At least around here, that is changing -- on the news tonight it was announced that the most recent testing in Ontario high schools had demonstrated girls did better, on average, than boys at Math and English, and were tied in Science. O_O
I think the boys are leading tho WRT "concussive head injuries in adolescence".
Last edited by MK27; 11-28-2011 at 10:08 PM.
If women are not given a separate category, then we won't see more than three women in world class tournaments that have substantial prize money and which can confer name recognition to winners, plus only one of the three has a non-negligible chance of winning anything. On one hand, this could encourage existing female players to improve to match the men. On the other hand, this could discourage girls from playing tournament chess and turning professional.Originally Posted by cyberfish
In the long run, it makes sense to abolish female-only categories and titles, but at the moment, I don't think such a move will serve the chess community well. A better move is to encourage organisers to invite more women to second tier international tournaments. That said, abolishing the woman grandmaster and woman international master title makes sense now since they are no longer needed to distinguish the accomplishments of strong female players.
The "short on average" thing changes the argument. If we accept that "short on average" really makes a difference in basketball, then a better argument is: is it fair to give women a separate category in sports where physical strength matters just because women tend to be physically weaker than men? If so, then we can say that it is fair for Asians to get a separate category to compete in too, at the Olympics for basketball.Originally Posted by cyberfish
That is a good point. I didn't think about that.The "short on average" thing changes the argument. If we accept that "short on average" really makes a difference in basketball, then a better argument is: is it fair to give women a separate category in sports where physical strength matters just because women tend to be physically weaker than men? If so, then we can say that it is fair for Asians to get a separate category to compete in too, at the Olympics for basketball.
What if, there is no physical difference? Like we would like to believe between men and women at chess?
Or say, Asians and Caucasians at math?
Last edited by MK27; 11-28-2011 at 11:03 PM.