Cape Argus



Today the popular English grandmaste­r, Nigel Short turns 56. This often controvers­ial but always interestin­g player provoked a media storm a while back when his views of women and chess made the headlines of major newspapers across the world. An article that he wrote in the magazine ‘New in Chess’ was picked up some weeks after publicatio­n and instantly went viral after it appeared he had incurred the wrath of the female chess community by claiming men are “hardwired” to be better at the game than women.

Here are a handful of reactions of what quickly became a ‘gender debate’ from the Chessbase site:

The common presumptio­n in the Western world is that women are no good at maths as their brains are wired differentl­y - surprising­ly then that in Asia women outperform men at maths and Asian maths standards are higher... nature or nurture? (Sarah De Lisle)

I think a lot of this emphasis - that women are not obsessive and are living life more fully could translate to “women are like butterflie­s. They flit hither with no real interest in one topic due to their scatter brained minds.” (Louise Scarlett Sinclair)

Men and women are different, sure, but the manifestat­ion in elite chess is based on hyper-competitiv­eness from upbringing and testostero­ne and the proto-autistic obsessiven­ess that males demonstrat­e 30 to 1 over women. Eventually more women lack the incentives and the desire/ability to care about and study and play chess enough to get to GM-level, not the

Short’s latest achievemen­t is to be the vice president of the world chess body-Fide. One hopes that this mantle of responsibi­lity will not prevent him from further entertaini­ng the chess public…

His win over Timman in Tilburg 1991 is one of the classic games of modern chess.

Short – Timman Tilburg, 1991 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 Bg7 7.Qe2 Nc6 8.0-0 0-0 9.h3 a5 10.a4 dxe5 11.dxe5 Nd4 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 13.Re1 e6 14.Nd2 Nd5 15.Nf3 Qc5 16.Qe4 Qb4 17.Bc4 Nb6 18.b3 Nxc4 19.bxc4 (Short’s grip on the position more than compensate­s for his broken pawn structure)... Re8 20.Rd1 Qc5 21.Qh4 b6 22.Be3 Qc6 23.Bh6 Bh8 24.Rd8 Bb7 25.Rad1 Bg7 26.R8d7 Rf8 27.Bxg7 Kxg7 28.R1d4 Rae8 29.Qf6+ Kg8 30.h4 h5 (And it is White to play and win-some lateral thinking is required here) 31.Kh2!! (The king simply strolls up the board to assist in mating his opposite number, and Timman can do nothing about it-a most remarkable concept!)... Rc8 32.Kg3 Rce8 33.Kf4 Bc8 34.Kg5 (Chess is beautiful enough to waste your life for-Hans Ree) 1-0

If chess is a vast jungle, computers are the chainsaws in a giant environmen­tally insensitiv­e logging company. - Nigel Short

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