Friday, March 30, 2012

Sexism in Chess?

This blog is just a little lighthearted silliness about a silly little game, so I try to stay away from my sometimes dark thoughts on religion and politics, even chess politics. But sometimes some trivial item that is, silly, shows up that one tiny comment is hard to resist. So this time I won't.

What is it with all the different rules for how women and men play chess?

A rule for how many buttons of a female player's blouse can be left unbuttoned? A big hullabaloo about that recently. Are you serious? And this morning I'm reading about the European Senior Teams Chess Championship, now underway in Rogaska Slatina, Slovenia.

Being a certified senior citizen myself, I thought I'd check this out. Turns out my man Viktor Korchnoi is on top board for Switzerland, Wolfgang Uhlmann likewise for Germany. Sounds like my age group. Heck, with about 600 more ELO points, a Swiss chalet, and a better back I might qualify. So I checked. I couldn't believe the age restrictions.
"Entitled to participate are men from the ECU Chess Federations who shall have reached the age of 60 and women who shall have reached the age of 50 years, by December 31st of the year in which the tournament will commence."
Last time I checked the stats, males have shorter life expectancies than females. But there must be some rational explanation for this age discrimination. Could it be that, perhaps as in the case of the blouse buttons rule, allowances are being made for differences in upper body strengths?

I need another cup of coffee.