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New Findings on Gender and Tactics Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
April 1, 2008
Recent studies show that women and girls are more likely to grasp the tactical nuances of pawn promotions, while men persist in solving checkmating problems more quickly, a finding that may go back to the ancient labor division between hunting and child-rearing. "What this means," said one chess coach, "is that to bring more women into the game, we need to equalize the time we spend on checkmating tactics and promotion tactics." In a pawn promotion tactics series, a group of 20 girls rated 1300 solved the 10 problems 60% faster than a group of 20 boys rated 1300. The boys solved checkmating tactics 75% faster. 

In the pawn promotion problem with the greatest differential, women and girls solved this problem 95% faster than men and boys of comparable ratings.

White to Move and Win

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Professor C.Mattis of the University of Paris, Texas, said, "Women are quicker with problems involving pawn promotion because they equate queening with childbirth. For women, a pawn is like a fetus they should protect and nurture till it gets to the 8th rank. Boys don't see it that way although they do 'get' checkmate, which is a lot like hunting down prey."

However, the verdict is not yet in on problems like the following one, which involve BOTH pawn promotion and checkmate.

White to Move and Win

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