The chess world is a fairly conservative culture; open to women competing with men, yet strangely patriarchal in terms of history. It is not gaming pe se, but rather considers itself a sport, or more precisely bigger than any description could contain. And they are probably right. The relation between sexuality and chess has always been a minefield; T.S. Eliot wrote a section of the Wasteland devoted to it, about the black and white separation where the eroticism is either untouchable or coarse and vulgar. No middle ground.
The more you play, the more that becomes apparent, like Huxley’s book “The Doors of Perception”. It might sound strange but chess games can be beautiful,stylish, aggressive,even violent, humorous, chaotic and sometimes even lyrical: but always emotionally charged. Its said the game was imported form the east, so its Babylonian roots, though not manifest, may be present.The chess board-like type of magic square design isis said to be not unknown in Kabalistic and occult circles. In addition chess is the favorite game of the mythical goddess Isis or Ishtar, and a variation of the game was played by Aleister Crowley….
…While many get upset about any mention of sex in chess, implied sexuality is tolerated. Who can forget one of the most sexually charged chess scenes in film history, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1968), where Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway stare longingly at each other while fingering the chess pieces? Yet, chess fans were so happy to see chess on the big screen that the implication was “forgiven” in light of the notoriety that our game/sport/art garnered….
…I’ve long held that chess would gain in popularity if it had more colorful (dare I say it: sexually charged) players who could grab the attention of the man/woman off the street. Once people see that chess is not just for nerds, but also for real people who love all that life has to offer, more people might give it a serious try.( Jeremy Silman )Read More: http://www.jeremysilman.com/chess_raves/sex_and_chess.html a
“In chess the debate is different: whether there should exist female-only tournaments at all.
There are two relevant distinctions between tennis and chess. The first is that in our culture discussion about cognitive skills is far more sensitive and value-loaded than that about physical prowess. The second is that in tennis
n are excluded from men’s tennis and vice versa. But in chess, while men are excluded from women’s tournaments, no woman is ever excluded from a chess tournament simply on the basis of her sex. The best female chess player in history, the Hungarian Judit Polgar – who at one stage reached the world’s top ten – has eschewed female-only tournaments.
Why men beat women at chess is a contentious question. Some answer nurture, others nature, still others, a combination of the two. But the science has to be worth undertaking: any rationale for all-female tournaments ought to be responsive to its findings. If ‘nurture’ is the main explanation, then the justification for all female chess tournaments will be similar to the justification for sex separation in tennis. But if the main explanation is nurture, and we can look forward to a possible world in which there is no significant gap between the chess accomplishments of men and women, then the issue becomes how best to reach this world….