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Mr. Kasparov admits he was wrong on Women in Chess

Arguably the world's most famous chess player has admitted statements made in his 20s about women in chess were wrong. This is pretty unprecedented in chess that a former world champion publicly admits their opinion was not correct.

The Telegraph journalist, Leon Watson, no stranger to chess and its controversies, published an article titled "Garry Kasparov: I was wrong about women playing chess".

In response, Kasparov tweeted: "Yes, having your worst statements preserved and recycled forever used to only happen to a few. Now it's everyone!"

However, Kasparov apologized profusely but set the record straight on a further statement he made about women in chess and computers that he says he was correct on. He had predicted a computer would be World Champion before a woman would.

Ironically he was the first World Champion to lose to a computer in a chess match. I don't believe any women world champions lost to computers in a match, perhaps they were wise enough to avoid such matches. But there was actually a Women's World Champion who did win a match against a computer, IM Alina I'ami, former U-10 Women World Champion, in a match against Fritz, she was the victor in pretty convincing style.

Kasparov referred to the advancement of computers compared to humans. Last time I checked humans meant men and women, so a computer moving through the ratings from the 70's and 80's where the best computers were Master strength, through the 90s and 00's where they were Grandmaster strength, to nowadays when the best computers are chess gods with sky-high Elos of 2300 and above.

It is easy for Kasparov's comments to be condemned and the Kasparov of 2017 judged by the Kasparov of 1989, but coming back to the future he has reconsidered his position on the matter and published in his recent book Deep Thinking, that his views have changed.

There are still many in chess who have still have views on women that are not positive or progressive but have not apologized for them like Kasparov has but stand by them proudly.

I don't see men in Norway taking men in Argentina to task over the fact that they have no chess players who have ever been World Champion or any current male players who are within 200 Elo points of World Champion, Magnus Carlsen (FIDE rating list, December 2017). A huge chasm in playing performance.

All chess players are outliers in the population of men and women in the world, drawing conclusions about the progression of the relative performance of a selection of overachieving super elite men vs  a selection of overachieving super elite women seems pointless when you consider that the majority of chess players in the lowest FIDE Elo and the weakest rated chess players in the world are men. That's just poetic justice it seems.

Mr. Kasparov champions the equality of opportunity for women in chess. In his Commence Speech at Saint Louis University when receiving the Honorary Doctorate of Laws, he talked about this emphatically. This was in the wake of the gender in chess debate sparked by another well-known male chess grandmaster. He stood up for gender equality in chess and those inclusive and progressive views will be preserved and recycled forever, Mr. Kasparov thank you.

 Women have equal potential to excel in chess as their male counterparts. Maybe it's time we accept this as fact like Mr. Kasparov has.

United States