The difficult task of promoting chess
WHEN BEGGARS CHOOSE…
The photo below of Canadian chess talent Alexandra Botez appeared in the Ottawa Citizen last week. The lovely Alexandra is no stranger to my blog readers and any Google search will reveal that Alexandra is as much admired for her natural beauty as for her many chess achievements, both in Canada and internationally.
HOWEVER, some corners have raised the question of the cleavage in the above photo. ”Is this how chess should be promoted?” queried one reader. Another remarked ”Is ‘Any publicity for chess is good publicity’, true or not? I’m not convinced.” Even the father of Alexandra joined in ”Except for the “comedy content” I don’t see any value added to Canadian chess by that picture.”
I have a different take on women-chess: VIVE LA DIFFERENCE! Chess has for so long been maliciously stereotyped by Hollywood and popular literature as a NERDY game that often brings on madness if one plays long enough, that we should WELCOME with open arms any attempt that works to dispell the nasty stereotype that hurts our game.
If a female has a magnificent smile or an eye-catching cleavage then what does it matter if she plays chess , tennis or is just out walking her poodle? In the modern world–whether you agree or not with its shallow and often superficial values–IF YOU HAVE IT: FLAUNT IT!
As an aside–but not completely unrelated— the stereotype of chess IS changing because of the increase in the number of females taking up the game. Whether we like it or not! It is just a fact of LIFE. Chess may be a beautiful game, AND it helps a LOT if you are also a beautiful player!
Canadian master Yeliz’ Orlova
Take the online community , for instance. Eric Hansen has a FACEBOOK page that has just over 200 followers. Eric is currently the NUMBER ONE player in Canada, very close to becoming only the third Canadian ever to break 2600 (after myself and Bluvshtein).How does the number one player in Canada compare with Canada’s top female players?
NOT SO WELL, I AM AFRAID! Even though Eric could probably beat them all–in a simul– blindfolded while holding his breath , Ashley Tap , Alexandra Botez and Yelitza’ Orlova all leave poor Eric in their dust: Ashley has more than 10 times Eric’s followers: 2810. Orlova has 2007 followers, while Alexandra has just slightly less than 800 followers.
You go figure that out! Everyone agrees that chess NEEDS to be promoted, but not everyone can agree on just HOW to go about doing that promoting…I suggest that beggars can not be choosers. Pretty smiles and boobs go a long way in diplomacy: why can’t it do the same in chess?
America’s greatest (?) diplomat of the 20th century (Kissinger) admiring the generous female attributes of Dolly Parton. “Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.”–Henry Kissinger