26 March 2023

The Dark Side of Women's Chess

In this video GM Nakamura reads the Wall Street Journal article, How Sexual Assault Allegations Against a U.S. Chess Grandmaster Went Unaddressed for Years (wsj.com). The article was subtitled,

Numerous women have accused elite player and coach Alejandro Ramirez of misconduct. Two bodies that run chess in the U.S. allegedly knew of accusations for several years.

It started,

When former U.S. women’s chess champion Jennifer Shahade alleged on social media last month that she had been sexually assaulted by a prominent grandmaster named Alejandro Ramirez, she had no idea it would set off a broad wave of additional allegations.

Kudos to WGM Jennifer Shahade for bringing the allegations to light. Kudos to Hikaru Nakamura for using his high-profile streaming platform to inform the broader chess public.

Horrifying Chess Scandal (23:07) • '[Published on] Mar 7, 2023'

This isn't the first time we've seen this sort of behavior in the series on The Sociology of Chess (November 2016). See also The Dilemma of Women's Chess (July 2020). On that post, Kevin Spraggett commented,

Sexism, discrimination and FIDE's "laissez-faire" attitude towards female empowerment allow for volumes to be written about what is wrong with chess, in particular, and modern society in general.

I'm not sure what GM Spraggett meant by that comment. Are there more stories like the allegations against GM Ramirez waiting in the wings?

For another serious discussion of the latest story, this one by top players GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Cristian Chirila, see Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Alejandro Ramirez (youtube.com; C-Squared Podcast #026). At one time Ramirez worked for Caruana.

The title of this post echoes the title of an earlier post The Dark Side of Scholastic Chess (October 2014). I ended that post saying, 'Sexual predators are often cunning people'. I could have added that it's too easy to pretend that nothing is happening.

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