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Women vs. Men

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Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Tuesday, 02 March 2010

by Natalia Pogonina for her Tuesday column

There is nothing that disgusts a man like getting beaten at chess by a woman.
Charles Dudley Warner

Playing in mixed events is enjoyable since it allows one to learn more about chess and psychology, and to improve more rapidly. So why, one might ask, are women often segregated? The problem is that most organizers dont support female players by introducing special prizes for women. Therefore, each time you play in a mixed event, you have to be ready to bear expenses and earn nothing, which is not what a chess pro is looking for. As a result, most strong female players prefer to participate in tournaments that can offer them a chance to gain a title and win a prize. The obvious drawback of this is that its harder for them to progress just imagine that you are regularly beating 2000-2400 FIDE players and learning hardly anything instead of clashing with the titans! Thats also one of the reasons why there are so few GMs among women. You just cant obtain the norms no matter how well you perform, unless there is a certain percentage of GMs among your opponents. And where would you get those in a female tournament?

Nonetheless, if one can afford it, its always nice to face top male grandmasters. Today I would like to share with you one such encounter. My opponent for this game, GM Igor Glek, is a very strong player, winner of about 100 international tournaments. In 1996 he was rated 2670, good for 12th place in the world rankings. I understood perfectly well that he was a favorite against me, but what strategy should I pursue? Sometimes people try to play solidly and wait until the opponent starts incorrectly pressing for a win. Usually this strategy doesnt work out that well. However, if you like to stay on the defensive, that could be an option. On the contrary, I am an active player who values experience and the opportunity to learn something new more than rating or tournament points. Anyway, in the long run the active approach brings more dividends.

Our game is an example of exciting attacking chess; I hope you will like it:

Natalia Pogonina - Igor Glek

P.S. You can find some more of my thoughts on the topic of women and men in chess in a special article.

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Comments (2)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 21:48 02 2010 .
I have no title :-)
"I am an active player who values experience and the opportunity to learn something new more than rating or tournament points." 
2. Written by Fadi on 05:29 03 2010 .
I have no title :-)
since i'm not an international active player, it's my first time to think about what you said. i believe that you are correct, and at least top 20 women should always join male GM's tournaments.

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