Rex Sinquefield and Jennifer Shahade take on Chess Gender Imbalance

Rex Sinquefield and Jennifer Shahade writing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

In the U.S. Chess Federation, which has almost 100,000 members, there are nearly eight times more male players than females. Thus, at all skill levels, there are about eight times more men than women. Though the numbers sound grim, there actually has been a major increase in female participation. In the past decade, female U.S. chess membership has risen by almost 70 percent.


Club co-founder Jeanne Sinquefield, nee Cairns, is working to widen the base through her work with Scouting BSA, which in February welcomed girls to its programs. We conducted the first-ever chess merit badge workshop for girls just a couple of days later at the chess club.


And still, at the highest levels today, there are no female players. In a tournament like the Sinquefield Cup, which is held each August in St. Louis and features the top 12 players in the world, no women currently qualify by rating — the numerical, constantly recalibrated measure of a chess player’s strength.

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