Gender and Chess

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) is blocking transwomen from competing in women’s chess tournaments.

No one has come out and said it, but it’s clear that this is rooted in the misogynistic belief that women are inferior to men when it comes to chess. As with the bans on transwomen in physical sports competition, the underlying assumption is that someone assigned male at birth is clearly “naturally” better at chess than someone assigned female, and transition doesn’t take away that advantage.

However, a person assigned female at birth who has won women’s chess competitions will lose their titles if they transition to male. Apparently FIDE is recognizing that a transman counts as a man, even before they transition.

I gather FIDE sees the act of transitioning to male as confirmation that the person is not an inferior being and therefore should not compete in an inferior category.

Transwomen, on the other hand, will not lose the titles they won in male competitions before transitioning. That this is ludicrous doesn’t change the reasoning.

Of course, none of this makes any sense. There is in fact no reason at all for chess competitions to be divided by gender, except for the fact that chess has been dominated by men and women’s competitions are a way for women to get their feet in the door.

The assumption that women are inherently inferior at the skills of chess is just another misogynistic tool for blocking their participation. Continue reading “Gender and Chess”