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Norway Chess leads Equality revolution with a Vision for Women’s Tournament

Gender equality in all walks of life

The organizers of Norway Chess recently made a groundbreaking announcement, revealing their vision to host an all-female super tournament in 2024. They plan to provide conditions equal to their annual top-level competition, aiming to bring the same level of prestige to the women’s event. The tournament will feature the top female players, receive national live television coverage, and have a prize fund equal to that of Norway Chess. This is a significant departure from the custom of women’s prize funds being approximately half that of other events.

Let’s bridge the gap

The gender gap in chess is starkly evident when it comes to earnings among top players. In 2022, GM Tan Zhongyi, the 2022 Women’s Rapid Champion and finalist of the Women’s Candidates, was the only female chess player to earn over $100,000 in prize money, compared to 19 male competitors, 11 of whom earned over $200,000.

Norway, a country where gender equality is continuously improving, ranks second in the world with a score of 87.9 percent on the 2023 Global Gender Gap Index, showing a three-percentage-point increase from 2022. Benedicte Westre Skog, the project manager for Norway Chess, shared their progress towards realizing their vision in an article titled “One Step Closer to Pioneering Gender Equality in Chess.” She expressed their growing confidence in transforming their long-cherished dream into a tangible reality, stating, “The creation of an all-female super tournament alongside Norway Chess is within our grasp.”

Skog also mentioned that although remarkable strides have been made, they still need to secure a few more sponsors. Once that is accomplished, they can eagerly proceed with signing the world’s most talented female chess players. The anticipation is palpable as they approach this pivotal moment.

A strong message

The FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess expressed their support for these efforts, stating that Norway Chess is raising the standard for chess as a whole. By elevating the visibility and recognition of women in chess, they are sending a resounding message to the chess community and society at large. They emphasize the importance of acknowledging that talent and potential in chess transcend gender, and equal opportunities for female players should be fostered at every level. They believe in promoting inclusivity, diversity, and equal representation while dismantling gender-based barriers.

In their call to action for the event titled “Join Us in Being a Game Changer for Women in Chess,” the organizers share their belief that the tournament will inspire more women to become professional chess players. They believe that creating a tournament with the same prize fund conditions, professional services, TV coverage, playing venue, and more, as Magnus Carlsen and his competitors in Norway Chess, will contribute to a growth in interest for professional chess among girls and young women. They acknowledge that it may take time to see visible results, but they are determined to start somewhere and provide women with equal opportunities in practical terms as their male counterparts.

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