Posts Tagged ‘English Ladies’ Chess’

The Fabulous 00s: Amour

July 19, 2009

Romance is in the air courtesy of


How are you? I saw your profile today at( and feel like contacting you.I feel we may become matches.(

)  is my contact. Kindly make a contact if you are that I can give you my picture for you to know who i am.

My name is Celine. I will appreciate it if you give a good responds.

Thanks and remain blessed.

(Remeber the distance,colour or age does not matter but love matters alot in life)

Enough Fluff, Some Chess

An amusing finish in an error-filled (making it more amusing) ICC 5 minute game:

aries2 – sekere  ICC 5 minute July 09

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. c4 e6 4. g3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 d5 6. Bg2 Nc6 7. O-O Bc5 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Qc2 Bb6 10. b3 O-O 11. Bb2 Bb7 12. Rd1 Re8 13. Nc3 Ng4 14. e3

Bxe3?! Instead of this violence, 14…Qg5! was a good move.  If white reacts correctly, he has an edge now.

15. fxe3 Nxe3 16. Qf2 Nxd1 17. Rxd1 f6 18. Na4 Qc7 19. Nc5?! On both the 18th and 19th move, white misses the strong 19. Qc5! This is an unusual counter-example to the chess precept that knights are better blockaders.  In this case, the knight maneuver to c5 is definitely second-best.

19…Rad8 20. Re1 e5 21. Nxb7 Qxb7 22. cxd5 cxd5 23. Qc5 Kh8 24. Rd1 Qa6 25. Rxd5? Weak.  25. Bxd5 is correct with balanced play.

25…Rxd5 26. Bxd5 Qxa2? 26…Qe2! was much stronger with a big edge.

27. Bc3? A comedy of errors.  27. Qc6 is equal.

27…Qb1+ 28. Kg2 Qc2+ 29. Kg1? Qd1+? 29…Rd8 would have been decisive.

30. Kg2 e4 31. Bd4?? What’s going on?  31. Bf7 is correct.

31…Qd2+?? 31…Qe2+! followed by e3 wins easily.  We now get to the fantasy tactic I had been trying to set up the whole time.

32. Kh3  e3 33. Qc6 Rd8 34. Qxf6!

A Cruncher

A Cruncher

After some thought, black gave up after this blow. 1-0

But to show how incoherent my play was, I thought 34…Rg8 was a defense here.  The point being 35. Bxg8?? gxf6! and it’s no longer mate!  However, after 34…Rg8, white has the obvious 35. Qf7 or even 35. Qe6 winning.  The latter leads to 35…Rb8 36. Bxg7+! Kxg7 37. Qf7+ Kh6 38. Qf6+ Kh5 39. Bf3 mate.

So in fact my 34th does win immediately (mate in 4 at most, actually).

When A Grandmaster is a Vehicle

Information about THETRUCK(GM) (Last disconnected Sat Jul 25 2009 04:32):

rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best

Bullet          2238  [8]    10     4     0    14

Blitz           2660  [8]    48    20     4    72   2677 (02-Aug-2008)

5-minute        2551         28     7     2    37   2567 (25-Jul-2009)

1-minute        2388  [8]    13     3     0    16


2: I’m getting old…

3: WIM strength at best

Pretty imposing!  OK I do battle with THETRUCK in a 5 minute game.

THETRUCK(GM) – Aries2(IM)   Sicilian Keres Attack ICC 5 Minute

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. g4 Nc6 7. g5 Nd7 8.  Bg2 I don’t like this move and would prefer not moving that bishop yet.

8…Be7 9. h4 O-O This quick castling setup, an old recommendation of Kasparov and Nikitin, is great in 5 minute as a time-saver!

10. Be3 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 e5 12. Qd2 Nb6 13. Bxb6 axb6 Black “pre-moved” this capture anticipating white’s 13th.  I have a big edge on time now and a decent position.

14. Nd5 Be6

Getting out the opening in good shape vs The Truck

Getting out the opening in good shape vs The Truck

15. Ne3?! Since the computer likes 15. a3 here, black must be all right.

15…Ra4!? An original activation.

16. b3 Rd4 Now the game revolves around this – can the rook be trapped for free or can black get an attack?

17. Qc1 f5!? Note on 17. Qe2 black had 17…Qc8! 18. c4 b5! with a good game.   My 17th move is not bad.  But the computer is fast to point out 17…Qc8! 18. c3 Rd3 hitting c3 and forcing c4:  19. c4 Qc5! and black has a small edge.

18. gxf6? A very bad miscue.  White had to take on f5 with the pawn after which he is all right; the game is even.

18…Bxf6 19. c3 Bxh4! A typical zwischenzug. At the time, I wasn’t sure what was going on since white had clearly steered for this.  But the computer says this is a decisive edge for me!  What could go wrong?

20. Rxh4 Qxh4 21. Qc2 Rd3? Even now, looking at it, it’s hard to see why the computer is so excited by black’s prospects after white’s 21st.  Its recommendation is something I never considered:  21…Rc8.  How bizarre that white cannot unravel effectively after that quiet move! This needs elaboration.  What’s the nature of black’s edge after 21…Rc8 (note the computer considers it a HUGE edge)?   Rybka 3 really outdoes itself here pointing out black’s crushing LONG-TERM advantage. A sample line:

21…Rc8!!  22. Ke2 b5! 23. Rc1 b4! (really aesthetic!) 24. c4 b5! 25. Qb1 Rf8! (black works with all the pieces) 26. Rf1 bxc4 27. bxc4 Bxc4 28. Nxc4 Qg4+!! 29. Ke1 Qxg2 30. Nd2 d5! 31. exd5 Rxd2 32. Kxd2 Rxf2 and white must resign – the truck hitting the proverbial rain of hail, shattering its windshield, it capsizes, and so on.    It’s amazing that white cannot unravel after this quiet 21…Rc8!! and the computer is rating black more than 3 points ahead.  Humans have much to learn from these humble programs! At first glance, it just looks like white has an extra piece and black has random chances, maybe.

22. Qxd3! Of course!  Black only has a tiny edge now.

21…Qxf2+ 23. Kd1 Qb2?! Not the best.  Correct was 23…Rg1+! 24. Bf1 Rf2! and if 25. Qxd6 Bxh3!, or if 25. Ke1 h5! in both cases black retains the initiative.

24. Rc1 Qxa2 25. c4 Bg4+? Another lame move.  25…Rf2! is correct with equal chances.  26. Rc2?? Qb1+! would be embarrassing for white!

26. Nxg4 Qxg2 27. Ne3 Qh2?! The continuation of a spiral down.  Black is oblivious to white’s idea.  Best was 27…Qf3+ or even 27…Qg3 and the issue is still open. However, the text has the benefit of setting up a devilish trap – see the note to my next move.

28. Nf5 g6?? The last straw!  I had mentally given up. After 28…Ra8!! once again black puts up quite unexpected resistance.  Believe it or not, white’s best is now 29. Qg3! trading the queens and keeping some ending edge – since he’s down on time in a 5 minute game the issue would be totally up in the air.  Attempts to attack the black king with 28…Ra8!! 29. Qxd6? are met with 29….h6! and the computer sees no advantage whatsoever for white, an amazing line!  The moral is that even really bad positions sometimes offer unusually strong defensive resources.

29. Qd5+ Kh8 30. Qxd6 Qh1+ 31. Kd2 Qg2+ 32. Kc3 Qf3+ 33. Kb2 {Black resigns} 1-0

Wow.  I had the feeling that I had missed chances, but only later did it turn out I had more than I thought!

The Danish Newspaper Columnist

Information about DrainYou(GM) (Last disconnected Mon Jul 27 2009 14:08):

rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best
Wild            1800  [6]    10    10     2    22   1800 (27-May-2001)
Bughouse        2422  [6]     2     0     0     2
Crazyhouse      2306  [6]   325   319     1   645   2306 (30-Sep-2001)
Bullet          2400  [8]  1119  1139   149  2407   2749 (04-May-2001)
Blitz           3097  [8]  2219  2010   394  4623   3173 (07-Jul-2003)
Standard        2388  [6]     1     1     1     3
5-minute        2625  [4]  7417  2809  1356 11582   2667 (14-Jul-2009)
1-minute        2231  [8]  5607  3498   560  9665   2504 (29-Aug-2002)

1: Not really in zen.
2: Don’t give lessons or takebacks (and don’t ask for ’em either)
3: Danish Champion 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 n 2009
4: I write a daily chesscolumn in Politiken.
5: Elo 2542
6: Very interested in playing (chess) outside Europe. Mess me a good offer or
7: Rabudja(GM) tells you: jeg ville hellere sælge stoffer end at spille skak
8: Poker is taking over – nothing to do about it.
9: Now with blog:

Name   : Sune Berg Hansen
Groups : Denmark GMs IBCO

Let’s see what happened when I tangled with DrainYou in blitz.

DrainYou (GM) – Aries2 (IM)  King’s Indian Attack

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. Nbd2 Nf6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1
b5 9. e5 Ne8 10. Nf1
Bobby Fischer’s old favorite.  I’m also defending in the old school style, emulating GM Uhlmann and others.  Black’s defensive line (using Ne8 to c7 gto b5) is surprisingly hard to break.

10…b4 11. h4 Nc7 12. N1h2 Nb5

When the Two Sides Ignore Each Other

When the Two Sides Ignore Each Other

It’s always fun when the two sides carry on with their own plans, oblivious to the other.  We see here it and we see it in sharper situations too, e.g. the Sicilian Dragon.  White now decides upon h4-h5-h6 and it’s unclear if that’s the best plan.  It certainly leads to lively play though.

13. h5 Nbd4 14. h6 g6 15. Bf4 Probably more accurate is 15. Ng4 f5 (probably more solid is 15… Nxf3+ 16. Qxf3 Nd4 17. Qd1 a5 18. Bf4 Bd7 19. c3 Nf5 20. Qc2
a4 with a tough struggle in prospect) 16. exf6 Bxf6 17. Nxf6+ Qxf6 18. Bf4 Nxf3+ 19. Qxf3 Bd7 20. Rab1 Rae8 21. Qe3 d4 22. Qd2 e5 23. Bg5 Qd6 24. a3 a5 25. c3 and white is happy.

15… a5 16. Qd2 Here, again, it’s probably more accurate to hurry the N to g4: 16. Nxd4 Nxd4 17. Ng4 although black has pesky defenses, e.g. 17…Ba6 18. a3 b3! 19. cxb3 Rb8! with counterplay.

16… a4 17. Bg5 Nxf3+ The thematic expansion 17… a3!? has a cute tactical idea:  18. b3 Bxg5 19. Nxg5 Nxe5! 20. Rxe5 f6 results in unclear play.

18. Nxf3 f6 Once again black has the good alternative 18… a3!? 19. b3 Nd4 20. Bxe7 Nxf3+ 21. Bxf3 Qxe7 22. c3!? with a full struggle ahead.  The text is OK.

19. exf6 Bxf6 20. c3?! Significantly better is 20. Bxf6! Qxf6 21. c4! and white has reasons to be optimistic.

20… a3! Maybe white missed or underestimated this.  Black strikes at the base of the pawn chain and white is very uncomfortable.

So far, so good

So far, so good

21. Bxf6 Qxf6 22. cxb4 axb2 23. Rab1 Rxa2?! Not very impressive. 23… Nxb4! 24. Ne5 Ra3 keeps pressure.

24. bxc5 Nd4 A crazy tactical line is 24… Ba6 25. d4 Rb8 26. Ne5 Nxe5 27. Rxe5 Qxe5 28. dxe5 Ra1  (apparently decisive) 29. Be4!! (saving the game!) dxe4 30. Qd7 Rxb1+ 31. Kg2 Rg1+ 32. Kh2 Rh1+ 33. Kg2 Rxh6 (a winning try, black can also give perpetual) 34. Qxe6+ Kg7 35. Qf6+ with a perpetual check this time by white!

25. Nxd4 Qxd4 26. c6 Ba6?? Fundamentally wrong. 26… Ra1 and nothing better for white than 27. Rf1 or 27. Qc2 Rf7! with equal chances.

27. Bh3! I completely missed that one.  But to show how back my last move was, white can also take 27. Rxe6 with a winning game!

27…Qxd3 28. Bxe6+ Kh8 29. Qb4 Qf3 30. Rxb2 Here I resigned since my game is dead lost and also I was disgusted going from “happy” to this in a few moves.  But white had a nicer shot, 30. Bf5!! mating!  For example, 30…Qxf5 31. Qd4+ Qf6 32. Qxf6+ Rxf6 33. Re8+ Rf8 34. Rxf8 mate.  A nice multiple interference tactic and a suitable punishment for black who left his king and back rank totally alone.

Some More Chess

Reylear (IM) – Aries2 (IM)  ICC 5 minute blitz; theoretical QGD 5. Bf4 line

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Be7 4. Nc3 d5 5. Bf4 c6 I like this solid way more than the loosening ….c5.  I achieved a good game with it OTB vs Georgian GM Guganishvili.

6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5(?!)  b6! 8. b4 I am not a fan of white’s early c5 and b4 as played. But black has to be accurate.  I am not; but then white is not in turn.. and we get an exciting blitz game!

8…a5 9. a3 A key moment.  This is the moment of truth for 7. c5.

Simplify on the queenside or not?

Simplify on the queenside or not?

9…axb4? My friend Rybka informs me that is wrong.  Correct is simply 9…O-O and 10…Ba6 with equality.  My move is an instructive mistake.

10. axb4 Rxa1 11. Qxa1 bxc5 12. bxc5 Ne4 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Nd2? A very bad mistake.  After 14. Ne5! black is intensely suffering. Such is blitz; white lets black right back into it… and more!

14…e5! 15. Bg3 exd4 16. exd4 Nf6?! 16…O-O is more accurate.  After 17. Nxe4 f5 18. Bc4+ Kh8 19. Nd6 f4, black is very happy.

17. Nc4 O-O 18. Nd6?! 18. Ne5 is correct with a small edge.

18…Nh5! The small edge is now on black’s side.

19. Be5 e3!? Interesting, but simply 19…Be6 20. Nxe4 f6 21. Bd6 Bd5 leaves white with a bad game.

20. fxe3 Bg5? A terrible followup.  Black had the obvious 20…Bxd6! 21. Bxd6 Re8 or 21…Qg5 with a good game in either case. I am playing like I have the Lights of Zetar occupying me (see next photograph).

21. Be2 Nf6 22. Qa3 Nd5 23. e4 Ne3 24. Kf2 f5?? This really was the last straw.  After 24…Be6 black keeps counter-chances.

25. Qa2+ Kh8 26. Nf7+ Now it’s quite over.  Boo.

26…Rxf7 27. Qxf7 Bh6 28. Bh5 fxe4 29. Qe8+ Qxe8 30. Bxe8 Ng4+ 31. Kg3 Bd2 32. Bxc6 e3

33. Bf3 Nxe5 34. dxe5 Bc3 35. Kf4 g5+ 36. Kxe3 Bxe5 37. c6 Kg7 38. h3 Kf6

39. Rd1 Ke7 40. Bg4 Ba6 41. Rd7+ Ke8 42. c7 Bf6 43. Rxh7 {Black resigns} 1-0

Playing a Romper

I had never heard of my opponent, Oliver Barbosa, before this ICC blitz game.  I later Googled and learned he is a Filipino IM and he is romping in the US. Sometimes it helps not to know a player; I am unfettered by prior knowledge and can play freely.  Everything was going well up to a point…

IM Aries2 – IM Spark ICC 5 minute blitz  French Defense, Gambit Variation

1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e5 c5 4. b4!? An interesting line, especially in blitz.

4…cxb4 5. a3 Qa5 This is certainly legal, but it would never cross my mind playing black.  A matter of “cultural differences” across many oceans?

6. Bb2 Nh6 7. axb4 Qxb4 8. Ba3 Qb6 9. Bxf8 Kxf8



10. d4 The computer says 10. Nc3 here is the best.   Weirdly, I get positional compensation after 10…Nc6 11. Bb5 and I gain dark square control.  For some reason, I reflexively went with 10. d4.

10…Bd7 11. Nc3 Nf5 Black was playing all these moves, which don’t look that great taken together, at lightning speed and I actually suspected he was a total patzer at this point.

12. g4 Ne7 13. Bd3 h5 Strangely, 14. g5! is the right move now.  14. g5 Nbc6 15. Rb1 with compensation.

14. Rg1?! hxg4 15. Rxg4 Nbc6 16. Nb5 Nf5 Here black had 16…Nb4! — a nice shot.  17. Nd6 Nc8! – a very computer-like line and black is well on top.

17. c3 Nce7 18. Nd6 Feeling frisky, I give up another pawn without much thought to gain e5 for the other horse.

18…Nxd6 19. exd6 Qxd6 20. Ne5 Be8?! 20…Nc6! is right, challenging the central horse.

21. Qf3 f6 A quiz position that is not hard to solve.

Unsound rook sac or not?

Unsound rook sac or not?

22. Rxg7?? My position (before this crude lemon) looked really juicy and full of promise.  The kind Tal in his heyday or Shirov now would love. Even though I spent some time here, I must have been in “beat the passive French player” mode.  Obvious is to bring up the reserves with 22. Kd2 and prepare to bring the other rook over to g1.   The chance that he will find the right defense in blitz (22…Rh6 23. Rag1 Qa3!!) is very small!  Black also has 22. Kd2 Nf5!? (another tough move in blitz) to reach approximate equality. The text is an unsound sacrifice of the worst kind (the unforced kind).

22…Kxg7 23. Qg3+ Bg6 24. Bxg6 fxe5 25. Bh5+ Kf8 26. Qg5 Rxh5 27. Qxh5 exd4 28. Qh8+ Ng8 29. Ke2 d3+ 30. Kxd3 Qf4

{White forfeits on time} Well, I guess I contributed to his “romping”.


Star Trek – The Lights of Zetar Episode (1969)

A cool special effect when Lt. Romaine is taken over by aliens.



Ladies’ (Women’s) Uproar (Brouhaha?) in Merrie Olde England…

I kid you not, this controversy is really happening. Seems more suitable for 1809 or 1909 rather than 2009 but here you go…

“As many of our readers presumably know, the 2009 British Chess Championships start in Torquay on Sunday. As many may not know, an apparent change to the status of women in these championships has caused some English chessplayers to emit shrieks of protest. The change has been described as “kowtowing”, as being “pushed around by politicians”: a poster on the English Chess Forum added that “I had hoped that English chess might escape unscathed”. Another, possibly with a problem rather wider than the one being immediately addressed, found himself invoking Patricia Hewitt, Margaret Hodge and somebody he called “Mad Hatter Harman” in a series of responses attacking “outdated” feminism and comparing the change to proposals to change the rape laws.

What, you may wonder, is this clearly controversial change that has caused these gentlemen such anguish? What injustice, what act of positive discrimination has caused them to react so angrily? What horror of political correctness could bring them to the point where they respond in such an outraged and aggressive tone? As English chess has not, apparently, “escaped unscathed” – to what degree has it actually been scathed? Have men been barred from the Championships? Have women been awarded bonus points for turning up? Have protesting men been threatened? Been beaten up by the police? Been dragged off to prison?

None of these. Not quite. What has actually happened, as I understand it, is that the name of the title for which women players are contending will no longer be that of Ladies’ Champion. We will now have a Women’s Champion instead.

Quelle horreur.

Now to my mind the only genuinely noteworthy thing about this change is that nobody thought to make it thirty years ago. Ladies is old-fashioned and outmoded, and for a reason: it’s the equivalent, not of Men but of Gentlemen, a term which nobody would think of using, in contemporary sport, in its capitalised form. These terms no longer describe the people for whom they were devised. That is what language does. It changes, over time, as the subjects of a language also change.

It’s not so important in itself. It’s just a small, overdue correction that somebody has finally thought to make. Had they not made the change now, nobody would very much have minded: they would surely, however, have made it in the end. As one sane voice on the Forum says:

While the change itself is rather inconsequential, this is no reason in itself not to do it if it’s appropriate

It could not be better put. It is a small thing but an appropriate one. A reasonable one.

Except in the minds of some chessplayers – to whom, apparently, it is neither appropriate or reasonable. It is an outrage, an imposition, a piece of grotesquery, an oppressive act to be compared with relaxing the laws on rape or murder, or even with taking people off to Nazi concentration camps. These are the terms in which people have, themselves, chosen to respond. These are comparisons which they have seen fit to make.

This is hysterical. But not in a good way.

Of course, the men who have responded in this way are keen, at the same time, to stress that they have nothing against women, indeed not, and nor in fact does any other male chessplayer that they are aware of. Writes one of the loudest protestors:

chess is open and welcomes people of all sorts

and that they are

utterly unaware of any male resentment to women playing chess

Utterly unaware is a good term, here, since they are also utterly unaware of the impression they are giving of themselves.

It is not really, if truth be told, a discussion about whether we should say ladies or women. That would be the issue if the responses were temperate, and thoughtful, and proportionate to the importance of the act. Proportionate is what the responses are not. Nor temperate, nor thoughtful. They range to the embarrassing to the wild and foaming. Some are extraordinary in tone. They are not just unreasonable but unreasoned. They are not the tones of a discussion or a disagreement. They are the tones of resentment and fear.

It’s true, the men who respond like this, with their resentment and their fear, are not bad men. Nor are they thoughtless, nor stupid. Except, that is, for the idiot who thought it would be an appropriate response to quote Pastor Niemöller. Really. Somebody actually did that. Some cretinous individual actually did that. Some cretinous individual actually thought it was appropriate to compare a change in wording of a sporting title to people being sent in their millions to Nazi death camps.

You know, I’ve long since abandoned the idea that chessplayers are necessarily intelligent, but even I was surprised. One sees the most extraordinary stupidity on the internet and I have seen my share in full, but even I was forced to ask myself – just how ignorant and stupid is it possible for somebody to be?

Still, with the exception of the idiot Alex Holowczak, they are not ignorant men (though given that one of them is a Sun journalist, not all have an aversion to ignorance as such.) I’ve seen most of them comment thoughtfully and usefully on other aspects of chess.

But though they are not ignorant men, they are men nevertheless. And it seems, as it has always seemed, that at the first hint of feminism, many men lose their heads. Or, at least, that portion of their heads which contains the qualities of thought and reason. In the face of feminism the thoughtful become fools. Foolish men, full of needless, ludicrous resentment at an enemy who is present only in their fearful imagination. Men who have no idea that their own reactions demonstrate that they, themselves, are the problem – the problem that they insist does not exist.

They think of “feminism” as “outdated”. Of course they do. And they show exactly why it is not.

Is it more ludicrous than it is extraordinary, or more extraordinary than it is ludicrous? Change the word ladies to women and some men respond as if they were being dragged off to the guillotine by a horde of wild-eyed feminists with Harriet Harman playing Madame Defarge. Or to an appointment with Valerie Solanas.

Hey ho. I really ought to be old enough not to be surprised by this sort of thing, but in truth I find it depressing, and troubling, especially if I think (as I do) that it reflects attitudes that are common within chess. I’m forty-four years old (old enough, it occurs to me, to have read Marilyn French’s novel almost when it came out) and I can remember what a struggle it was, years ago but lasting years, to allow women to refer to themselves as Ms, if they so wished, not Miss or Mrs according to whether or not they had a husband.

Long and loud was the shrieking whenever this small change was proposed. Great were the insults heaped upon the feminists who proposed it. Dire were the predictions of calamity for humanity if the feminists got their way. Frequent were the accusations of tokenism laid at the door of the feminists for apparently believing that all you had to do to change something for real was to change its name. (You might think that people could either be accused of tokenism or of threatening calamity, but not both at the same time. You might receive the answer: “Quite”.)

Of course, the usage Ms is now taken for granted, forms and forms of address have long since changed and nobody gives a damn if anybody prefers Ms, still less expects to heavens to fall when it does. If you’re much younger than I am, you probably can’t imagine what the fuss was about. Good. You’ve grown up in a world which is more grown-up – in that respect at least – than it was before. And similarly, in a few years somebody will understand what all this fuss was about. And the people who have written embarrassing things will be embarrassed that they wrote them.

So I hope. In the meantime, I hope these people do no damage. I hope, for instance, that the sheer stupidity of using phrases like “being pushed around by politicians”, when the namechange is suggested by one of the few political figures who cares about chess and has been supportive of it, does not have the effect of losing chess those few political supporters.

I also hope that I am mistaken that these clowns represent a serious current of thinking (or indeed “thinking”) within chess. It is never, of course, hard to find, on any subject, a small number of people speaking high-pitched paranoid nonsense on the internet, and it is tempting to believe that they represent no-one but themselves. I do not want to think, and I do not want other people to think, that chess – male-dominated though it is – is dominated by the sort of man who behaves like this. I do not want chess to be like that. I do not want chess to be thought of like that.

But I don’t know. If they react like this over something so unimportant – what are they going to be like about that really matters? If it takes something as small as this to bring fear and resentment so very quickly to the surface – what is really going on in the minds of some male chessplayers?

There was a question asked on the Forum.

What does substituting one word, “lady,” with another word, “woman,” actually achieve by way of improving the participation and profile of women in chess?

It’s not much of a question: as a rhetorical point it is a specious one, since nobody will be put off either. But what might well put women off – and Lord knows there are few enough of them in chess – is the reaction they get from men who play chess and the impression they get about what those men are like. They know that chess is overwhelmingly played by men – but what if they decide that it is not just overwhelmingly men, but whining, bitter and resentful men at that?

What will happen is that we have fewer of the women and no fewer of the whining, bitter and resentful men. What a depressing prospect that would be.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If English chess does what it needs to do. English chess needs to grow up.”

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