WOMEN BEAT MEN
Once the royal game of chess was a courteous affair. Because it was a rare possibility for contact between unmarried women and men, romantic notions developed. An idealised version portrays the woman as the superior player. First she beats the man in an encounter at the board. Then she consoles him by giving him her favours. This idea returns in the movie ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ centuries later. After Steve McQueen has been mated by Fay Dunaway, she gives him a long kiss. Tartakower conceived a new opening on a ship. Drunken and naked he entered the cabin of the Dutch women’s champion and spoke: "Your move!". Soft hands returned him to his own place.
No reliable information is available about the games of chess by noble ladies and courtesans. Playing will have been fast, because thinking is not gallant.
When chess becomes popular in coffeehouses and clubs, the female player disappears from the picture literally. Often women are not even allowed to be present. Generally, they are excluded from matches and tournaments in the nineteenth century. Excellent play is only known from Amalie Paulsen, the sister of Louis and Wilfried. She never played an official game.
Amalie Paulsen (1831-1869)
A tournament among women is played at the occasion of Hastings 1895. Easy criticism starts immediately.
Vera Menchik easily wins the first world championship for women in London 1927. She is invited for the great tournament Karlsbad 1929. Hans Kmoch announces to choose the occupation of a ballerina, if she scores more than three points. He is just saved from this fate. Menchik loses of the outstanding players usually. If she could have participated in the British championship for men, she might have won.
In 1968 Donner writes about the lack of intuition among female players. Apparently he misses the fifth place of world champion Gaprindashvili in Hastings 1964-65. She becomes the first female international grandmaster in 1978. Her successor Chiburdanidze and the Swedish Cramling also become feared gentlemen killers.
Chiburdanidze - Malaniuk
16. .. Kh8? 17. Bxh7!
The sisters’ Polgár start a new phase in women’s chess. They defeat many experienced players at an early age. The great star is Judit. She becomes the youngest grandmaster ever in 1991. For the first time a woman seriously competes with the top players.
Female players are a small minority in the chess world. Nevertheless, the participation by talented young women has become ordinary. A beating by a woman used to be terrible, even worse than the banging by a Belgian. Men prefer Yoshitoshi's view. Slowly the struggle versus a woman becomes familiar, but little Judit often has to experience the superior male stare, if she is lost.
Will a woman ever reach the first place? Do women play so poorly, because they menstruate at the end of the game? A long list of views on women and chess can be found in Queen’s move by Henriette Reerink. Only the opinion of Maja Chiburdanidze makes a useful and unbiased impression. She mentions the short history of female chess and the lesser physical stamina in a long session.
Women crush men in thirty games from Amalie Paulsen to Judit Polgár. It is the first sexist publication, ladies will like. The file can be downloaded: