Susan Polgar uncovers ‘endless cycle’ of sexual harassment, driving girls out of chess

There is something worse than cheating in chess. The great teacher Susan Polgar has denounced on social networks that she suffered abuse as a child, something that altered her social behavior, although it did not prevent her from becoming a legend. “When I was younger and starting to develop physically, I was sexually/physically harassed/abused,” says the chess player and promoter, who has probably done more for women’s chess than anyone else in the world, including the fictional Beth Harmon. Although Judit Polgar is the best chess player in history and the most famous of the three sisters, the achievements of the oldest of the Polgars are no less impressive. And they arrived earlier. The American of Hungarian origin was the first player in history to achieve the triple crown; that is, she won the World Championship in classical, rapid and blitz chess. In addition, she has twelve Olympic medals, five gold and four silver, and was number one in the women’s world ranking at age 15. Her own government tried to thwart her career, as she refused to participate in tournaments for girls and defied tradition by joining the male ones. Even the International Federation did not accept the audacity of the three girls who tried to break the gender barrier from Budapest. FIDE only thought of giving away Elo points to the rest of the players to balance the world ranking, which Susan was leading comfortably. It happened in 1986, with the support of the Hungarian Federation. Judit says that she affected her sister a lot, that she went from number one to number two. Related News report Yes Chess, threatened by cheating: a report destroys the career of Hans Niemann, 19 years old Federico Marín Bellón Smart contact lenses, graphene glasses, undetectable earpieces and other technological advances, some of them military secrets, facilitate the work of those who want to win at any price. Meanwhile, paranoia has been unleashed after the Carlsen-Niemann scandal Judit, younger, found the path somewhat smoother, she was always able to play against men and achieved the milestone of entering the absolute top 10. Susan had to be ‘content’ with winning several women’s world championships. Now, she has decided to tell the lesser-known sexism she suffered. “To avoid problems, she tried to look as simple as possible,” explains the chess player, who has lived in the United States for years. «So, they branded me as fat/ugly. When it was me, the unwanted sexual advances started all over again. It’s an endless cycle for many women in chess.” Youngsters Who Surrendered In another message, Polgar poses a question: “Do we honestly believe that Carlsen, Anand, Kramnik, Topalov, Kasparov, Karpov, Fischer, Spassky, Petrosian, Smyslov, Botvinnik, Tal, etc. faced the same problem?” . With her words, the former champion opens a debate that had been under the rug for too long. “Personally, I know many women who have walked away from chess because it is simply not worth dealing with this nonsense year after year,” she comments in another message and in response to the solidarity of a chess player. Susan Polgar is not the only one who has changed her wardrobe in the world of chess for reasons beyond her control. In a recent interview with ABC, Judit recounted that he had advised a young Hungarian woman to dress less provocatively: “Maybe I shouldn’t have said it, but I think it’s practical advice and of course she can ignore me. It’s just my experience. I know that people look at girls differently if they dress nicely and that it is easier to succeed if you have good looks, but in a big company, for example, you can be fired the first day for dressing inappropriately» . All this coincides with the proliferation of sexist comments by fans and even by some grandmasters, such as Ilya Smirin, FIDE’s official commentator at the Women’s Grand Prix, accused of uttering offensive phrases at the end of September. The veteran Israeli player of Belarusian origin, once one of the top 20 in the world, said live that chess “may not be for women” and praised a female chess player for “playing like a man.” Fiona Steil-Antoni, who was commentating the games with him, wriggled out of the situation and gracefully changed the subject, but it was clear that she was very uncomfortable. She first tried the dialogue, which was impossible. Steil-Antoni asked: “Only men can play well?” And he replied: «No, no, but he is playing with style, with positional style… But hey, I am always curious, why women can play between men but men cannot play with women in women’s tournaments? It’s an interesting question.” Grandmaster Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova summed up the general malaise: “Isn’t this a pure form of discrimination? How can such a man work on the official FIDE broadcast of such an important women’s tournament? The American Jennifer Shahade went further: «How disgusting to see such sexism in the broadcast of a women’s event! Fiona did a great job in an awkward conversation that she should never have been in.” Banned by FIDE FIDE apologized “unreservedly” and said the comments were “very disgraceful”. “Although we have great respect for grandmaster Ilya Smirin as a chess player, the views he expressed live are completely unacceptable, offensive and do not represent any of the values ​​that FIDE stands for,” the Federation said in a statement. made it clear that Smirin would no longer comment on games for FIDE. The aforementioned still did not understand anything, since he declared to the BBC that he was “slightly puzzled”. “I didn’t say anything really bad, I didn’t want to insult or hurt anyone,” he said. The presence of Nigel Short in the structure of the Federation has not gone unnoticed either. The British grandmaster and former child prodigy, who was already Vice President of FIDE, has just been appointed Director for Chess Development. Many remind you of a controversial article about the biological differences between men and women. It is a complex text, but some of his sentences weigh like a slab, even more so out of context: “The brain of men is better programmed for chess,” he wrote. Harmful exhibitionism or promotion of chess Meanwhile, chess is experiencing another heated debate, after a journalist asked why so many experts were following the discreet British player Tallulah Roberts. “I have nothing against chess and sex streamers; It’s a free world, but do we really need to endorse this? She received an avalanche of criticism. Lula herself, 24, denounced last year that she had suffered “unpleasant incidents” at a tournament in Reykjavík. Her defenders praise her work to spread chess. Player and photographer Maria Emelianova believes that she is bread for today and hunger for tomorrow, since such frivolity will scare off sponsors in the long run. “Chess has nothing to do with showing your boobs,” she says. “I love girls who support girls,” Lula replied.


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