Humpy’s Gambit: How Koneru disturbed the male-dominated status quo in chess

Humpy’s Gambit: How Koneru disturbed the male-dominated status quo in chess

Koneru Humpy has nevertheless to observe The Queen’s Gambit. She has been receiving varied phone calls concerning the Netflix mini-series however has not got around to having a glance at the show that has place forth queries on women’s chess and also the treatment disbursed thereto over the years. however despite not having watched the series, Humpy is only too acquainted with its premise – a young lady collaborating during a male-dominated arena, getting down to modification the ability dynamics by winning, and also the modification in equations not taken too kindly.

The woman from state started her chess journey at the age of six and once she became the youngest girl participant within the world (at that time) at the age of fifteen, she was marked for greatness. however by winning open tournaments and changing into a force in chess, Humpy additionally disturbed the establishment that resulted in many insinuations on her credentials.

“At 15, I became a gramme however till then, the idea of gender barriers didn’t very occur to Pine Tree State. I became a gramme on the eu circuit. In those days, we tend to had only a few international tournaments in Republic of India. to urge exposure, my father took Pine Tree State on a visit to Europe for a number of months and that i would be taking part in unendingly over there. I won a title and came back to Republic of India,” Humpy told The Indian categorical as she recounted the start of a turbulent innovate her career.

It was only if she started winning that the critics came out of the woodwork, and what they’d to mention wasn’t terribly charitable. “At that point, even if i used to be a gramme, I wasn’t playacting during a stable manner. It’s quite traditional at that age to possess highs and lows. a number of my peers started criticising Pine Tree State by language that I didn’t have the quality of a gramme as a result of I hadn’t proved myself in Republic of India which I had compete in weaker tournaments in Europe to become a gramme,” same Humpy.

Koneru Humpy’s chess journey is replete with tales of men designedly, or accidentally, providing a platform for disrespect. (Express Illustration by Suvajit Dey)
Comparisons with Judit Polgar looked as if it would continuously realize their approach into conversations and also the women’s chess circuit, that has traditionally been seen as inferior to the men’s game, hoped that Humpy would bridge the gap between the 2 worlds. She might deal with the pressure of these expectations. however she wasn’t ready for the attack on her credentials.

“This was a amount once I was very mentally disturbed. Being a sportsperson, handling a win or a loss at a tournament was quite traditional from childhood. however this type of criticism was terribly new Pine Tree State. it absolutely was a tricky section. i used to be down in several tournaments and suffered for 6 months to a year. it absolutely was then that my father and that i came to the conclusion that I required to play in Indian circuit tournaments,” Humpy same, explaining her call to require half within the National ‘B’ in 2013 even if she may be a neighborhood of the National ‘A’ in a shot to quell any doubts concerning her worthy the gramme standing.

This then light-emitting diode to more grumbling. If she participated within the ‘A’ class, she was deemed to be not adequate and her gramme rating was same to possess been awarded through some deftness of hand. If she participated within the National ‘B’ set-up, it absolutely was decried as her taking a straightforward solution. There was no winning this battle of perception, however once Humpy finished second within the National ‘B’ set-up, by her own admission, she felt like that quashed any doubts over her qualifications.

Humpy’s chess journey is replete with tales of men designedly, or accidentally, providing a platform for disrespect. a number of the stories vary from outrightly desirous to defeat her (“Even although there have been some weaker players than Pine Tree State relatively, being a girl, they tried more durable to beat me”) to accidentally disrespecting her (“Once I compete a world tournament and had a unfortunate performance within the event. Afterwards, I got a ‘best women’s prize’). however despite the dearth of respect, if there’s one opinion of hers that has shock price, it’s her belief that men merely square measure higher than girls at chess.

ELO ratings appear to recommend constant – particularly once scrutiny prime|the highest} male player within the world (Magnus Carlsen: 2862) and also the top feminine player (Hou Yifan: 2658). Psychological journals and ex-players have attributed it to several factors, chief among them being the distinction in mental attitude between men and girls.


Numbers game
— in line with FIDE, there’s associate 84-16 magnitude relation of male to feminine registered chess players. In total, there square measure one,683 GMs WHO square measure men and thirty seven WHO square measure girls.

— the very best ELO rating ever achieved by a girl is 2735 by Polgar herself. She was, at one purpose, the eighth-best participant within the world.

— In 2002, Koneru Humpy became the youngest girl gramme at the age of fifteen years, one month and twenty seven days. Current women’s world No. one Hou Yifan poor that record in 2008.


When asked what she felt was the distinction between however the 2 genders play the game, the powerful women’s world fast champion offered a stimulating take. “I have seen male players show a wider repertoire of moves. They shift between openings very often and square measure quite aggressive in their sort of play. once it involves girls, there square measure several high players WHO have restricted gap moves, however the preparation behind those moves is deeper. A game between a girl and a girl is extremely totally different to a game between a person and a girl as a result of psychologically men shall attempt to build some extent therein match. So, the sport tends to become wilder.”

For associate wide raise in ELO ratings for ladies, the 33-year-old believes that chess tournaments completely for ladies should stop to be an everyday fixture as a result of separate tournaments for each genders build it troublesome for ladies to deal with the men’s circuit. “There ought to solely be open tournaments in order that girls ought to play with men and improve their game.”

But Humpy acknowledges the matter such a system can bring, as associate already skewered financial gap would possibly become even wider. “The award for men is sort of higher. It’s tournaments just like the World Championship and Candidates that facilitate girls professionals survive financially. Once they pop out these tournaments, professionally it’ll be terribly troublesome to survive with the men’s circuit solely. i feel it is sensible for them to stay a special monetary prize for ladies even in open tournaments.”

Judit Polgar on chess and girls
Judit Polgar is taken into account the strongest feminine participant ever. (Facebook/ChessBase)
Even before the Queen’s Gambit was created, many pioneers within the world of chess have spoken out concerning why girls aren’t at the highest of the sport, none a lot of thus than Judit Polgar, thought of the best girl player of all time. In associate interview with The Guardian last year, the Hungarian spoke on a good type of problems associated with chess and girls.

— Polgar on eager to contend against men: taking part in solely among girls wouldn’t have helped my development, as since i used to be thirteen, i used to be the clear much loved among them. I required to contend with the opposite leading (male) Grandmasters of my time.

— Polgar on why employment girls desires a recent perspective: ladies in chess aren’t treated constant approach as boys. Coaches and officers square measure target-hunting by potential successes in girls’ competitions, that square measure relatively easier to realize. folks tend to follow what the specialists advise.

— Polgar on Nigel Short’s comments on women’s chess’ inferiority: Short’s conclusion doesn’t rise to scrutiny, and also the burden of proof is with him. although girls do suppose and contend otherwise, we will attain constant achievements as men: be it in science, art or chess.


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