Chess Grandmaster Says There Is Gender Inequality In The Game Because Men And Women Are ‘Hard-Wired Very Differently’

British chess grandmaster Nigel Short is responding to criticism after recently arguing that inherent differences in men’s and women’s brains may explain why there are fewer female chess champions than males ones.

“Men and women’s brains are hard-wired very differently, so why should they function in the same way? I don’t have the slightest problem in acknowledging that my wife possesses a much higher degree of emotional intelligence than I do,” he wrote in the February issue of New In Chess magazine. “One is not better than the other, we just have different skills.”

“It would be wonderful to see more girls playing chess, and at a higher level, but rather than fretting about inequality, perhaps we should just gracefully accept it as a fact,” he added.

Short defended his comments in an interview with Sky News on Monday. “Men have brains which are 10 percent larger,” he said. “They also have considerably more gray matter. Women have very, very much more white matter.” He acknowledged sexism is a probably an issue in chess, but maintained that there are inherent differences between the sexes.

Short is right that there are some differences between men’s and women’s brains, said Jordan Gaines Lewis, a doctoral candidate in neuroscience at the Penn State College of Medicine, but the chess player seems to have overstated their influence while downplaying possible societal issues.

“Brain connectivity studies have shown that males and females, generally, do differ in certain brain structures,” and this may account for men and women excelling at different cognitive tasks, she told The Huffington Post. “But experts also believe that we can’t necessarily rely on anatomical variations alone to explain gender differences in behavior.”

Judit Polgar, a top chess player who briefly held the record for the world’s youngest grandmaster and has beaten Short in —> Read More