A COUPLE of weeks ago, October 14 to be exact, a Wall Street Journal article titled “Abolish Women’s Chess Titles” created a big stir that drew reactions from various web and blog sites. The author, Ms. Barbara Jepson, posited that awarding titles for women at lower levels of accomplishment is an “anachronistic and demeaning practice.” She views women’s chess titles as “gender-segregated,” which US international master (yes, that’s a chess title for men) Irina Krush described as “really a marker of lower expectations.”
The full article can be read from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703298004574457393421190888.html.
The Chess Connoisseur would have preferred to keep mum on the issue because the writer of the article is not known as a chess player and has used only the view of 25-year-old Ms. Krush as authority to add some chess credibility to her article. However, his attention was caught when Women World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, herself having a grandmaster title for men, strongly reacted to the WSJ article in her October 17, 2009 post, titled: “Abolish Women’s Titles? Ridiculous!” in her blog site, http://www.chessblog.com/.
Ms. Kosteniuk’s lengthy reaction is summarized by this statement: “The proposal of abolishing women's chess titles is absurd, sounds more like a title for a "yellow" newspaper rather than the Wall Street Journal to attract attention, and would hurt rather than help getting more girls and women to play chess.” (Emphasis by the Chess Connoisseur)
Ms. Jepson, who writes about music and art for the Journal, is researching child prodigies in multiple disciplines.
Ms. Kosteniuk is a co-chairperson of the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess. Her twin proposals: the annual FIDE Caissa Award for best female chess player and the annual FIDE Golden Women’s Tournament Organizer Award, were approved in the most recent FIDE Executive Board meeting held on October 12 in conjunction with the 80th FIDE Congress that took place in Kallithea, Khalkidhiki, Greece from October 11 to 18.