Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Zatonskih Bags Championships

Really rubbing salt into Irina Krush's wound, international master Anna Zatonskih has clinched her second straight US women's championships title with a round to spare. This time there is absolutely no dispute. No playoffs. No controversial rulings. No tantrums.

Anna scored 8.5 points from nine games, dropping just a single draw to Camilla Baginskaite. Krush, on the other hand, managed just 5.5 points and even ended her run with a loss to Tatev Abrahamyan in the ninth and final round.

Meanwhile, over on the Wall Street Journal, Barbara Jepson argues that it's time we dumped women's chess titles.

The time has come to drop gender-segregated titles for women, which make even less sense today than when they were introduced in 1950 (WIM) and 1976 (WGM). "I don't see their benefit," says 25-year-old IM Irina Krush. "Women's titles are really a marker of lower expectations." Ms. Krush, part of the bronze-medal-winning American women's team at the 2008 Chess Olympiad in Dresden, tied for third place with 18-year-old rising star Alisa Melekhina in the U.S. Women's Championship, which concluded yesterday at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. Top-seeded IM Anna Zatonskih, 31, won first prize.

In some idealistic future, it might be best to phase out such separate tournaments for females as well. But those events remain valuable at this point for several reasons. "All-girls tournaments allow participants to make friends, share hotel-room expenses, and compete in Open tournaments," says two-time U.S. Women's Champion Jennifer Shahade, author of "Chess Bitch," an informative and entertaining history of women in the game. "So rather than take women away from mixed competition, I think they actually encourage them to compete in the end."

Read more in Abolish Women's Chess Titles.


Anonymous said...

I think something needs to be done about at the low level titles. I know WFMs and WCMs with ratings in the 17 and 1800s.

The gap between their skill an those of male FM holders (2200-2300) is huge.

Perhaps moving the rating requirement to at least 2000 would give them more meaning.

Anonymous said...

GM and IM titles are very elite.

Women titles and the FM (which is a girly title some players even refuse) are a nice touch to reward aspiring players.

The level at which these titles are awarded could be looked at though