When your opponent is a woman. How to survive it.

Sorry ladies, this article is just for men. But, ok, you can read it too if you want. Do not say that we did not warn you.

Third round of the tournament, you did not begin very well because you did not sleep enough or because it was too hot or because that day you did not bring your favorite pen or because you got out of the wrong side of bed those days. Summary: you lost the first 2 games. You arrive to the chess club and you check the pairings. No surprise: you play on one of the last boards, yes, that one next to the restrooms where it stinks and people bothers all the time. You check then the name of your opponent and it is a woman.

You just go to your board and you see this:

woman chess
Your opponent today!

OMG! You just want to resign and go home. Or maybe resign and invite her for a drink. But you have dedicated too much time to chess in your life to do such things. You have to win my friend. She is rated just 1850 and you are supposed to win easily. You take a seat, offer your hand and try to simulate that nothing special happens. It is only chess.

But we all know that this is not the truth. It is highly unpleasant for a male chess player to play against a female chess player. Which are the feelings crossing our macho minds?

  • Women cannot really play good chess. They are too emotional. I just need to use my rational male brain. If you think so, read this. But you can also think like Nigel Short if you want. Just do not let your girlfriend know.
  • She is good looking, maybe I can use the post-mortem to invite her for a beer.
  • She is not good looking, but I am desperate and I can use the post-mortem to invite her for a beer anyway.
  • I will be really embarrassed if a low rated woman beats me. But I am playing so badly that maybe I should offer a draw anyway.
  • I cannot concentrate…I am looking all the time down her neckline.
  • Maybe if I lose or if I offer a draw I have more chances of success with her later.
  • Does she have a boyfriend? Maybe her boyfriend is also playing here?
  • What was this look? I think she likes me.
  • …..and hundreds of other stupid thoughts….

But being a girl playing chess is definitely also a challenge, specially in some countries. You develop your hobby or your profession in a world of men, where you compete directly with these men. Is that an advantage or a disadvantage? We believe that in our western society it is an advantage because:

  1. Not having a great level you can stand out, which makes no sense if we are intellectually equal. We just need to compare the list of our top male players with the list of our top female players. But we also respect the opinion of Alexandra Kosteniuk, who, we have to say, lives most of the time in our country.
  2. Almost all men face concentration problems when they face female opponents. It is absolutely clear that men perform worse when they play against women. The psychological challenge is not easy to overcome.
  3. Women can, and in many cases we all know that they do, use their female condition go get concessions. We all know about girls that get free lessons, but there are worse things. There are known cases of sex in exchange of half a point or in exchange of a full point and even girls going into serious relationships with a much higher rated male chess player in order to boost their own careers. It is sad and embarrassing, but it happens more than we think.
  4. In the end, living in a world where 90% of the participants would like to sleep with you, even if you do not like the candidates, is a potential source of many favors. And, as we all know, if it can happen…it happens. Women who play chess can learn the art of manipulation much easier than women who do not.

But let’s go back to you and your game. What should you do? It does not matter what we advice, you will contaminate your mind with any of the stupid thoughts we described above. You will. The only thing that you can do is fight these stupid thoughts a bit, but do not be too hard on it because then it will be even worse. Facing a female opponent at chess will always be a challenge for a man. We are supposed to be more competitive, but women understand competition in a different way, maybe in a deeper way. This article may frighten you.

Anna Sharevich
Worst scenario: you play against Anna Sharevich. You will have a hard time in all senses my friend.


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