Quantcast
Connect with us

Chess queens battle for king’s ransom as prize money rises

Published

on

Two of the sharpest minds in women’s chess are doing battle this week in Shanghai with a world champion title on the line and a record prize fund as the game seeks to close the gender gap.

The 500,000 euros on the table in the showdown between holder Ju Wenjun and challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina is the largest prize fund in the nearly 100-year history of the Women’s World Championship.

ADVERTISEMENT

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) says it is a significant moment for women’s chess, which has long lagged behind the publicity, pay packets and participation of men.

The winner between the grandmasters from China and Russia — which will be determined over 12 game days in Shanghai and Vladivostok — takes home 300,000 euros.

The total purse is a 150-percent hike on the previous women’s championship match, according to FIDE, and the format of the competition has been changed to mirror the World Chess Championship, which is theoretically open to all but has been dominated by men.

“We are trying to increase the prestige of the women’s game and also close the pay gap with the men,” said Nigel Short, once one of the top-ranked players in the world and now FIDE vice president.

“It’s something that we are concerned about and we are trying to do our best to improve the conditions in particular for women’s chess,” the 54-year-old Briton said.

ADVERTISEMENT

AFP / STR Goryachkina called the changes to the women’s tournament “very positive” but said she was motivated by winning the title, not the cash

Moves to boost women’s chess came with the election of Arkady Dvorkovich as FIDE president in October 2018. He is a former deputy prime minister of Russia.

Speaking on the eve of Sunday’s opening game, rising star Goryachkina, 21, called the changes “very positive” but said she was motivated by winning the title, not the cash.

Shohreh Bayat, chief arbiter for the match between Goryachkina and the 28-year-old Ju, laughed off the notion that this is chess’s #MeToo moment.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the Iranian said: “There were many complaints from women players about the format of tournaments, such as this one, and the prize money.”

Bayat hopes that one day women will earn the same as the likes of Magnus Carlsen, the world champion and best-known name in chess.

ADVERTISEMENT

“In chess right now, if you compare their ratings, men are better players than women, there’s a big difference,” said Bayat.

The effort to improve the standing of women’s chess extends to having more female tournaments and more women as coaches and arbiters, Bayat added.

– Help or hindrance? –

ADVERTISEMENT

But the 500,000 euros for the Women’s World Championship match is still only half of the World Chess Championship prize fund.

And some believe that female-only tournaments hinder rather than promote equality.

“Perhaps there is an argument for scrapping girls-only sections and best girl prizes in junior tournaments,” said David Cox, a freelance journalist and contributor to the website Chess.com.

“After all, chess is a sport where men and women can compete on a level playing field, and that would push more girls to aim higher and keep trying to improve to be the best player overall, rather than the best girl.”

ADVERTISEMENT

There are various theories why men dominate the top 100 in the FIDE ratings.

Cox and Bayat believe a major factor is simply that there are significantly more men than women playing.

AFP / STR The winner between the grandmasters from China and Russia — which will be determined over 12 game days in Shanghai and Vladivostok — takes home 300,000 euros

At US Chess, only 14.5 percent of its 92,000 members are female, although that is more than double what it was in 2000 and a record high.

Jennifer Shahade, a two-time US women’s champion, believes that FIDE is on “the right track” with the significant increase in prize money.

ADVERTISEMENT

Shahade, women’s programme director at US Chess, said: “Building a strong base of female players is crucial to developing the game.

“I think chess is particularly crucial in a time of constant distraction, where the intellectual is de-emphasised in favour of the immediate and the visual,” she added.

“Men, kids, and especially women and girls, need the benefits of chess right now more than ever.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Trump is in a ‘fight-or-flight state’ over coronavirus: ‘Art of the Deal’ co-author

Published

on

On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," Trump biographer and "Art of the Deal" co-author Tony Schwartz laid out the president's state of mind over the coronavirus crisis.

"Let's understand Trump," said Schwartz. "Trump is the chief energy officer of this land. So, in other words, his energy has a disproportionate impact on all our energy. And he already raised the anxiety of people over the last four years considerably. He'll exploit fear if he thinks that serves him, or deny fear if he thinks that serves him."

"That's an important point," said host Ari Melber. "You're arguing, as someone who worked with him, that while we just heard about a public interest approach, you're saying you don't see him using public interest?"

Continue Reading

Facebook

‘No time for being patronized,’ say youth climate leaders as UK cops warn parents over Fridays for Future protest

Published

on

"Young people should not be underestimated—we have a voice and we are strong."

Youth organizers of a Friday climate protest in Bristol, United Kingdom said they have "no time for being patronized" after local police sent a letter to parents warning of inadequate safety measures for the upcoming demonstration, which teenage activist Greta Thunberg and thousands of others are expected to attend.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump spent 45 minutes talking with cast of right-wing play dramatizing ‘Deep State’ conspiracy theories: report

Published

on

The coronavirus emergency has given President Donald Trump one of the most daunting tests of his administration, with less than a year to go before he stands for re-election.

And yet in the midst of all the chaos, one thing the president found time to do on Thursday was meet with the cast of a bizarre right-wing play dramatizing the supposed "deep state" plot at the FBI to frame Trump in the Russia investigation.

According to The Daily Beast, Trump spent 45 minutes talking with the people behind "FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers," which focuses on the affair between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The leading roles of Strzok and Page were played by Dean Cain, the former Superman actor, and Kristy Swanson, who played the starring role in the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image