It is no secret that chess is played by considerably more men than women. The reasons for this are many but the question is how can women be encouraged to play (or return to) chess and is the situation the same worldwide? Hammersmith Chess Club is doing its bit by holding a chess month during May in which there will be various events to promote the game with women in mind. These include a series of lectures by Women’s FIDE Master Maria Manelidou, a women’s rapidplay tournament with £250 in prize money and special offers on membership for women players who wish to join the club during May. The initiative is supported by the ECF (see here) and Chris Fegan, ECF Director of Women’s Chess wrote: “It is (at least to my knowledge) the first ever such month-long series of activities specifically designed for women that an English chess club has ever put on.” Full details can be found on the Hammersmith Chess Club website.
As regards female participation in chess worldwide, there was a very interesting blog posted recently that is recommended reading for anyone interested in the topic. The article is entitled ‘The Best (and Worst) Countries to be a Female Chess Player” and is prefaced by this summary: ‘Female participation rates are higher in countries that are traditionally patriarchal. Various theories are discussed. Federations seeking to boost female participation should concentrate on teaching chess to girls in or before primary school, as well as encouraging young adult women to stay in the chess world.’
The article is too detailed to comment on further here but you might be surprised by the research and conclusions that the author, David Smerdon, provides. As a taster, try this question for starters: guess which of these countries have the highest percentage of female chess players: Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA, Vietnam.
Intrigued? Then read the article here.