A Shortage Of Women Chess Players

by Connie Torrisi

Chess Player

by Connie Torrisi
(New England, USA)

I am not a professional chess player. I am a middle-aged female chess lover and player. I have been playing the game for over forty years. I have played postal correspondence chess, college chess, small local OTB tournaments, email and online chess. In all those years, I have met few other female players. I recall how intimidated I felt when I played in a local tournament for the first time many years ago. I walked into a hall filled with male players and less than a handful of female players. The men were friendly enough, but it seemed like they did not consider me, a woman, as a "real" opponent.

The greatest number of female players I have encountered has been in the past two years, since I started playing email chess through the United States Braille Chess Association and another group called Blind Chess. Yes, I am legally blind, but that has never quelled my love for the game. Unfortunately there are no local tournaments near enough to my home where I could play OTB games.

Personally, I feel that American girls are too concerned with make-up and boys to devote time to chess. Once married, women don't have the time to devote to the game because their husbands, as well as society in general, still expects them to be more interested in housework and child care than exercising their intellect through chess. Of course, women all over the world are shackled by similar social expectations.
Perhaps in the future, the number of women in chess will increase to the level where they will become a force to be reckoned. But, sadly, I think it will take quite a long time for this to happen, if ever. As long as the social forces dictate what interests women should pursue, women in chess will remain a tiny minority.


About the Author

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