Former chess world title challenger Nigel Short has been condemned by leading female players after claiming “we should just gracefully accept” that women are not as good as men at the game - or driving.
Mr Short, originally from Wigan but now living in Greece, told the magazine New in Chess that men and women were different.
“Why should they function in the same way? I don’t have the slightest problem in acknowledging that my wife [Rea] possesses a much higher degree of emotional intelligence than I do,” he said.
“Likewise, she doesn’t feel embarrassed in asking me to manoeuvre the car out of our narrow garage. 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.”
Amanda Ross, who runs the Casual Chess club in London, said it was “incredibly damaging when someone so respected basically endorses sexism”, The Daily Telegraph reported.
She also pointed out that former women’s world champion, Judit Polgar, had beaten Mr Short before.
“She must have brought her man brain. Let’s just hope Nigel didn’t crash his car on those days, trying to park it,” Ms Ross said.
“At least this resolves the age-old debate as to whether there’s a direct link between chess-playing ability and intelligence. Clearly not.”
And leading British player Sabrina Chevannes said women were regularly subjected to sexist remarks at tournaments, prompting some to quit.
“Chess definitely has a problem with sexism, I have faced it all my career,” she said. “I’ve been asked if I want to play in the junior section; I’ve even had men refuse to believe I’m there to play.”
Mr Short responded to Ms Ross on Twitter, claiming: “You seem to suffer from incomprehension. Men and women do have different brains. This is a biological fact.
“Furthermore, I never said women have inferior brains. That is your crude and false attempt to caricature me.”
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