Shelby Lyman on Chess: Pawn-in-Mouth Disease

Sunday, May 17, 2015
Hint and Explanation: 
Good (K)nights

Nigel Short, the usually witty and insightful English grandmaster, plunged off a very high cliff into a very dark void beset with more than a few pitfalls when he suggested recently that women’s brains were not suitable for playing chess.

He explained: “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 was not claiming, he said, that women’s brains were inferior, only different.

Less controversial explanations focus on women’s conflicting social roles and sexism.

Short received a sharp rebuff from Amanda Ross, manager of a chess club in London, who gleefully drew attention to Short’s record against the legendary woman player Judit Polgar.

“Judit Polgar, the former women’s world champion, beat Nigel Short eight classical games to three in total with five draws. … She must have brought her man’s brain,” Ross concluded with obvious glee.

A few days ago, Short was crushed by Garry Kasparov in a combination blitz, rapid match of 10 games in St. Louis, Mo., by a score of 81/2-11/2.

Was Short distracted by the lingering controversy?

Or, as Ross might conjecture, had he left his male brain at home?

Below is a win by Teimour Radjabov against Alexander Grischuk from the FIDE Grand Prix in Tbilisi, Georgia.



Radjabov Grischuk



1. e4 c5

2. Nf3 d6

3. d4 cxd4

4. Nxd4 Nf6

5. Nc3 a6

6. Bg5 e6

7. f4 Qb6

8. Qd2 Qxb2

9. Rb1 Qa3

10. e5 h6

11. Bh4 dxe5

12. fxe5 g5

13. Bg3 Nh5

14. Ne4 Nd7

15. Rb3 Qxa2

16. Be2 Nc5

17. Nc3 Nxb3

18. Nxb3 Bb4

19. Bxh5 Qb2

20. O-O Qxc3

21. Bxf7ch Ke7

22. Qf2 Kd7

23. Qb6 Rf8

24. Be1 Black resigns.



Solution to Beginner’s Corner: 1. Ng4ch Ke6 2. Nd4 mate! (So-Troff ’15).




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