46 Comments
Aug 24·edited Aug 24

“The baffling, unnecessary decision by the International Chess Federation to bar trans women from competing in women’s chess tournaments”

As your post acknowledges the really baffling thing is segregating Chess by sex. Once that has occurred, barring genetic males from the female division is not exactly “baffling” but its certainly as idiotic as the whole system. And definitely hateful. However, the push really needs to be to get rid of sex based differentiation in this activity. My take has always been that because sports are sex segregated, it makes sense to bar genetic males ( anyone with at least one Y chromosome) from female divisions). But only at highly competitive levels. Otherwise there’s not enough at stake to cause harm to trans women by banning them. Grade school sports and intramurals should permit trans girls/women to play on female teams.

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Having been a chess federation member and taking part in many tournaments, I can tell you that the number of female participants is minimal at best. If you eliminate the women's chess tournaments then you may as well forget about encouraging the participation of women in chess. The field is so dominated by men (for whatever reason) that it's sad.

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if I recall correctly (a big if): Comic books: 12 cents each, so 48 cents. Candy bars: 5 & 10 cents each; I chose the cheaper ones, so 15 cents. Topps baseball cards (5/pack plus the slab of so-called gum): 5 cents each, so 10 cents. Fritos: 10 cents. 7-ounce Hires root beer (if I returned the previous bottle and applied the refunded deposit to the new bottle): 7 cents. Just 90 cents. But my allowance in 1961 was 50 cents, with 10 cents deducted for Sunday School offering and 10 cents for savings, and Dad was the pastor so I couldn't shoplift. Sigh. (That local market still stands. Now it's a cannabis store. And who stole the cent symbol from the keyboards of America??)

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Any complaints about sex in chess should have been voiced decades ago, like Judit Polgar did. And the only way to deal with it and not to seem bigoted is to eliminate men’s and women’s recognition and be open. But I don’t remember you calling anyone a bigot in chess until now. The current push by males who transition to play alongside women wants it both ways: keep the female tournaments but let males who choose identity as women play in them. Maybe that conflict is what is opening people’s eyes to the issue with f separate sex classes in chess.

PS there are good reasons for separate tournaments currently, at a high level, but that’s for another comment.

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Aug 24Liked by Eric Zorn

I mean chickens are birds, which are the last vestiges of dinosaurs. So shouldn't it be chickens are re-taking over the planet?

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Sorry to pile on, but ... Buckingham Fountain. Every summer night lots of people (100?) show up to take pictures and enjoy the spray and light show. Weekends bring the bridal parties and quinceañeras for photographs. People are voting for the fountain with their photos.

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I got a chuckle out of "A stiff drink at Ceres Cafe" as a Chicago experience. My husband was a trader, and I am sure there were many stiff drinks on bad days. A trip to the CBOT was one of the top requests made by visiting friends and rellies. Alas, no more.

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Thanks, JoanP! Will seek a related solution on my Android phone and my Windows PC.

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Why separate sex classes for elite chess is reasonable:

1) it is currently understood that there are cognitive differences between the sexes, and spatial cognition is the most well-recognized instance. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-31704-y#

2) chess is a highly spatial mental game, vs poker or bridge, which require memory and mind-reading.

3) small differences in the population means of naturally distributed traits produce dramatic population differences at high thresholds.

A small difference of means leads to 10-1 or 100-1 ratios at the extremes of the curves.

4) competitive chess, even at the club level, is at a high threshold; high enough to expect multiple men for each women. Prize-money chess is insanely high threshold, where we would expect, and see, 100 to 1 ratios of men to women.

5) IF women want to compete for prizes with some expectation of winning, they could reasonably try to create female-only tournaments.

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I have participated in equestrian sports since I was ten years old. For the most part, competitions are not divided by gender. After all, a 1200 lb animal with a flight response, is stronger than any human, and we can all get dumped off on an equal basis. There are women polo teams, but there is no reason why a trans woman couldn't compete on a women's team, or vice versa. The biggest competitive advantage in polo is a large bank account.

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While I appreciate the links in the Charlie Myerson section, I would like them to identify the source of the stories. I don't have a Facebook account and so when I click on items that are from Facebook I can't see them. Adding a "FB" or some such identifier would be useful.

Thanks.

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Regarding women in chess, I wish the article added the rationale for the decision. It simply states the consequences of changing gender in regards to previous competition. A new competitor who is trans gender can opt to sign for the newly adopted gender without disclosing the he/she is transgender so it’s inaccurate to say that trans cannot play as women. In addition, one could argue that just like physical differences, men and women’s brains do function differently in their emotions and risk-taking, something that affects play. I’m trying to be more nuanced, not defend or support the federation’s decision.

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founding

Randy Rainbow is not only a consummate satirist, but a great producer. Love ‘im. But I don’t understand his business model. Grants from George Soros?

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The new property transfer tax proposal is a bad idea that might pass because it will be sold as a 'screw the rich' tax. If it passes, I expect that it will distort the market by creating an incentive to subdivide buildings. Rather than sell a building for more than $1 million, the seller can sell it in parts. For example, a $1.5 million three flat could be sold as three $500,000 condos or more likely $750,000 a piece. As we saw in the 80's an apartment building typically sells for a multiple of its price as condos. Similarly, office buildings have been subdivided and condo-ized.

I would also like more clarity on the homelessness problem that needs to be addressed. Is it the 6,000 counted by the Census (and the city) or the 68,000 claimed by housing advocates. It is particularly important given that $100 million is $16,700 for each of the 6,000 but only $1470 for each of the 68,000. The city currently spends about $214 million annually on the problem. https://www.chicagohomeless.org/cch-statement-mayors-budget-adds-significant-new-resources-for-combatting-homelessness-but-dedicated-revenue-still-needed/

As EZ previous interviews have shown, it is far from clear how well spent and how well coordinated this spending is.

This also does not count the more than $100 million the city has spent YTD on asylum seekers and the expected $20 million per month continuing cost.

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Bring Back Idea Oven

1) Every TV needs a button that will send a signal to your lost remote controller.

2) Every TV should come with a built-in Camera so we can use it for Zoom/Teams/FaceTime calls.

3) Can our streaming services stop asking who's watching or prompt us to pick a profile? just use the last one and let us change it if we need to.

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