07 December 2014

Chess Stereotypes

The 'Chess in School' series has been bouncing from topic to topic for months now -- probably because it's such a big subject -- and although I should try to get it back on some sort of plan, that will have to wait until another time. The previous post, about 'Scholastic Club Starter Kits', was buried inside Carlsen - Anand, Game 11 (the final game of that historic match), and this post will change course again to chess stereotypes, specifically On the Danger of Chess Stereotyping by WIM Alexey Root and GM Denes Boros [uschess.org, aka Chess Life Online].

Alexey Root: When I was 15, I walked into an unfamiliar chess club at the same time as a male college student who I did not know. The student was asked by another club member, "Is that your girlfriend?" I was upset at the assumption that I was not a chess player.

What's the scholastic angle?

Denes Boros: I also make assumptions about chess players, especially children. In Hungary, where I am from, FIDE ratings are the best indicator of playing strength. So a young player without a high FIDE rating would usually be an easy win for me.

The comments to the article (no need to be a USCF member to read it, but required to comment) provide more examples.

'Race is also a big factor and there are countless examples of underestimating a player because of it.' • 'Players' games are often affected by the knowledge of the rating of the opponent.' • 'Several of my students have defeated much higher rated players who used inferior openings and tactics against them looking for the "easy" win.'

The authors conclude, 'We hope to continue our collaboration with a scholarly article on this same topic for the Journal of Chess Research.' I touched on the journal some time ago in one post appropriately titled Journal of Chess Research, then in another titled The Riddles of Chess. It's time to return for a follow-up look.

No comments: