Where's Bobbi Fischer?
July 13, 2015
Published online at Aeon
Little girls sign up to play chess in droves.
So why are so few of the world's top players women?
Here’s a story my father likes to tell. When I was five, my family spent several months living in Barbados. Since we were in a rental house, there weren’t many games or toys around, save for the beat-up travel checkers set we’d packed in our suitcase. The hours I didn’t spend in school learning to add a ‘u’ to the word color, or inspecting shells on the beach, I spent playing checkers, first with my family, and then, when they got sick of it, with the visitors who straggled through our cinderblock bungalow. One of them, a computer science professor, thought he’d humour my parents by playing with their sunburned kid. I destroyed him in two games. ‘I told you she was good,’ said my father. ‘Yes,’ said the professor, ‘but the second gameI was trying.’