Who said chess players haven’t got it? The boys versus girls “Battle of the Sexes” event at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2018, might not prove anything, as each player took turns to expose weaknesses in the opposite sex. I may be letting the side down, whichever side my irreverence falls on at this particular moment.

Before I continue; I’d like to point out that Tradewise have done nothing untoward – without their sponsorship, there wouldn’t be a tournament – whatever we feel about how advertisers and publicists operate; the taxpayer cannot pay for everything in this life – companies like Tradewise come to the rescue and provide us with a fabulous event, which we now get to see online – such are the advances in technology and access to things most of us never even knew existed until recently. Indeed, the Tradewise sponsored event in Gibraltar involves more women players on a level playing field, than almost any other tournament worldwide. We have to understand Gibraltar Chess Festival is leading the way in respecting the quality of women’s Chess. It’s a fantastic achievement. This is how it should be… shouldn’t it?

For me, the Battle of the Sexes is the biggest war raging on planet Earth, and it should stop. It may have been a fun event, but it highlights various issues society is attempting to address. Perpetuating such ideas however innocently, only exacerbates an age old problem.   

In turning the chessboard into a dance floor afterwards, the spectacle seemed to give rise to what looked like slightly inappropriate behaviour – as the sight of an aging Trump-like buffoon whispering into an attractive young woman’s ear, looked like an offer of his hotel room number!

Well who knows if she was really into him? 


I was almost expecting a scantily clad chess-boxing bout, between Terry Marsh, the Fighting Fireman and promoter Frank Warren to break out – but it seems this is how real Chess Players let their hair down. Narrowly avoiding some pimp lurking in the background ready to slip them performance enhancing Rohypnol I might add – “I said Ritalin you fool!”

Drugs testing for our Chess superstars will soon be the norm, maybe for our club players too? There’s always a party-pooper – as Gossip columnist; this time it happens to be me. We might laugh at what seems too perverse to associate with an innocent night of fun in Gibraltar – but it’s not me that’s gone too far, but society. Is everything ruined or are we just cynics at heart? 

The Chess World needs to lead the way in promoting equality, and it cannot even separate the boys from the girls – or does it? As usual; we find the distinction being made between Prize Money for the men and for the women – we have a male World Champion, a female World Champion – but how do women ever reach the dizzy heights of the male counterparts if competition is constantly being separated? True – the Tradewise event and other Competitions do allow for the token female here and there – but come on; as long as there is the distinction between GM and WGM, I have a problem with society and the way men think. That’s what we’re actually talking about – men have organised society at every level so that women can either play along with it, or get sidelined, pushed out of genuine equality.

Some people allow sexism to continue by appeasement or compliance to unfairness – but just because it continues, doesn’t make it right. And WGMs attending the Women’s World Chess Championship in Tehran 2017 and agreeing to wear the hijab, sadly doesn’t help matters either – those players might as well have appeared topless in St Louis, Paris or London. Sure, people need to respect Laws of a Country, tradition and even religious belief – the point is; nothing ever changes until people boycott things which fly in the face of reason.

Is reason of conscience to be left to Nazi Paikidze and other women Chess players? Every woman that attended the thoughtless FIDE event in Tehran undermined the fight for everyone’s equality and gave credence to the concept of exploitation. Just because women can earn a living pole dancing doesn’t mean it should be encouraged. Examine the reasoning and we are not talking about going against Muslim belief; we’re talking about something deeper at its core; we’re talking about men, and how maleness rules the roost as if it’s acceptable in modern day life to salivate over a sordid cockfight. But in a society which fails to legislate against cruelty to animals, what more can we expect from those that sit in judgement of human behaviour and fail both men and women – the very same judges that can be found stuffing dollar bills into the cleavages of female chess players, if only in their wildest nights of complete fantasy – when others tell us we live in a secular society and mask over the uneasy truth that we stray further from truth regardless of how far we come as thinking individuals. Apparently, you can’t fight City Hall, or any other Governing Body, because everywhere we look, it’s a stupid man’s world! 

It may only be an 8×8 board of 64 squares – but more often than not, Governing bodies are mainly formed of 64 male dominated squares, whose Queens are meant to be seen and not heard, to never float the boat of the rock of Gibraltar, upon which all who sail in her, are led by social pressure and expectation to conform to male ideals.   

The world might dispute what reasonable behaviour actually is – but to my mind; asking women to cover themselves or uncover themselves for the benefit of what men want, is frankly an appalling nod to the idea men say what goes and what doesn’t – and like any pimp; if he says she’s a goer, it doesn’t make any difference if she’s an Internationally renowned Chess player enjoying the dance floor; women are still targets of the most derisory male injustice. It will not change until we all change. We’re chess players – we’re supposed to lead the way because we’re apparently intelligent.

The King is dead: long live the King! Don’t we know the Queen is all powerful? No, that will never do – she’s just keeping the throne warm for the next male heir. We’re equal but different, it’s obvious – men appease women just to shut them up until control is back in male hands – as if life is a game of chess in which female protagonists mud wrestle for the entertainment of a society which hasn’t got a clue how divisive the Battle of the Sexes really is. The usage of such symbolism therefore sets back human evolution centuries. People reduce themselves to this truth. These are our exploits. This is who we are – Chess Players that sometimes throw off our inhibitions yet still dance to the tune of male puppeteers. Girls just wanna have fun – men just wanna play! Sadly, regardless of gender – we’re all on the game. The most ancient game of all… we don’t have to play by the rules – we actually formulate our own – we just need to rid ourselves of the male preponderance to govern this corruption of the thinking man’s species. Only then will we see equality, fairness, and the greatest prize of all; justice.



Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa at 10 years old is the youngest IM in history, At the 2016 Isle of Man International, he defeated GM Axel Bachmann when playing the Black pieces; in only 18 moves! He achieved another milestone recently, defeating his first 2700 Grandmaster, David Howell.  



Magnus Carlsen was knocked-out of the FIDE World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia – which has seen other notable top players fall – so much so, that Carlsen was at the time of printing this early in September 2017, the only plus 2800 player in the FIDE rankings. 


Anton Kovalyov broke the FIDE Dress Code by wearing shorts as the picture below appears to show. They look more like pyjamas to me? 

Anton Kovalyov minutes before the incident. Amruta Mokal

Participants signed a players’ contract with the organisers in which it is written that there is a dress code for the event. World Cup regulations state rule: 3.13.4 – Players are requested to note the requirements of FIDE Regulations C.01 (Article 8.1) in respect of their dignified appearance at all times during the World Cup.

In the FIDE Handbook, the specific paragraph says:

8.1 The Commission on Chess Publication, Information and Statistics (CHIPS) stresses the need for all chess players to take more care in their personal appearance. The image of the chess player should be a dignified one, and dressing properly would not only show respect for the game, but also to sponsors, potential or otherwise, to make it worth their while to spend their money.

Other federations have banned other attire such as slippers, sleeveless T-shirts and vests in their tournaments. Unkempt and greasy hair is greeted with admonishment, as well as those wearing old or torn jeans.

If this is the case, half the participants in our local leagues, including myself, fall foul of these FIDE instructions. Are we even fit to call ourselves chess players? Am I unfit to represent the image of “Chess” on the World Stage – if only I was good enough that my Jacamo Cargo Shorts might become an issue – mine even come with zip pockets that have no discernable use. Admittedly; there are no flies on Anton Kovalyov! Those pyjama shorts definitely fit into the category of ungentlemanly conduct – but while he is a young man who seeks to feel comfortable, it won’t only be the authority who felt uncomfortable.

I think the point is: that maintaining standards is important when the world’s media watches on, and pyjamas present the wrong image; that Chess is an important and respected activity. After all: we can’t have people falling asleep at the board – not like some of those old dears we see dotted around Chess Clubs for whom the sight of cleavage for example, might well be something up with which they cannot put!

The youth of today know not what they are doing wrong; one might wonder? Live and let live, I say… however, read the small print – some rules are meant to be broken, but put some pants on man; put the mouse back in the house Mr. Kovalyov. Carlsen who?

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