Monday, March 9, 2009

GM Susan Polgar Appointed to FIDE Commission

An announcement earlier today at Susan Polgar's website: Susan Polgar has been appointed a co-chairman of the FIDE Commission for Women's Chess (GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, current Women's World Chess Champion, is the other co-chairman). The Commission is filled with the names of illustrious female chessplayers as its members: Stefanova, Chiburdenadze, Xie June, Garprindashvili, etc. It is an interesting match-up of personalities in the co-chairs. While both of these GMs have been active in promoting chess among females, GM Kosteniuk has not hesitated to use her looks and sex appeal to advance her goals and this has caused some groans among her female peers. GM Polgar's approach has been to promote girl-only events at which girls from gradeschool to high school can feel comfortable, playing in a congenial atmosphere which, nonetheless, does not lack for competitiveness, without having to deal with their male counterparts. Personally, I don't find anything objectionable in Kosteniuk's using her looks to advance her objectives; on the other hand, I do understand the objections of female chessplayers to being objectified in sexual terms by male chessplayers. It takes a strong-minded female to put up with the slings and arrows flung about by testosterone-charged boys (and grown men who act like boys). It adds an extra layer of distraction that has to be dealt with, until one learns how to shrivel a male with a look at his crotch and a disdainfully raised eyebrow.

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