Just a short post tonight.
GM Judit Polgar has got her ELO back up over 2700 and is now in - gulp - 40th place overall in the top 100 world players:
It wasn't that long ago, or so it seems (10 years ago perhaps?), that this rating would have had Judit well up in the ranks of the top 10. I am working from memory here and please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Judit Polgar's top rating ever was around 2711.
Today, there is no other woman in the top 100 chessplayers in the world. Judit is still the Gold Standard. Perhaps Judit will always be the Gold Standard.
Full list of Top 100 Players (all dudes except for Judit).
Top 100 Women (I'm only showing top 10 or so):
You see what the issues are here. Only THREE women in the entire world are rated above 2600 -- by the way, congrats to GM Koneru Humpy for her vaulting back into second on the women's list of highest-rated players! Meanwhile, the top female player (Judit Polgar) is nearly 100 points higher than the next two highest-rated female players in the world (Koneru and Hou), and the top male players have sprinted far far ahead, even leaving Polgar somewhat in their "dust." So, the gap between male and female ELO ratings is NOT closing.
This is entirely discouraging. Female chessplayers are still segregated in the female chess ghetto and will have no hope of breaking out and raising their ELOs unless they go totally Polgar and refuse to play in women-only events, and only play in Opens or Invitationals against usually higher-rated male players and earn their ELOs the HARD WAY.
But that means giving up relatively easy money, and potentially even starving if they have no other means of support other than their chess tournament earnings. Because as the statistics stand now, on the face of it at least -- male players will win the prize money, and the female players will go home empty-handed and hungry.
I understand the lure of potentially earning relatively easy money playing in women-only events; it can be a comfortable living for, say, the top 10 female players in the world, but it totally fricking sucks that they make less than 30 cents on the dollar for what a male player would make in a similarly-level event (top v. top). That alone should be enough to light a fire under the ladies' collective butts; but it hasn't been.
The situation shows no signs of resolving into anything better in the long run. Ratings have gone up all across the board; yeah, there are some more female GMs, but a lot more male GMs have been named during the same period I've been observing things from a distance (about 12 years now). Female players have some nice money events, but those don't hold a patch to what the top male players are making in a similar event.
The system sucks. Women, why are you laying down for it?