Woman National Master

Yelizaveta Orlova – © Monica Chung

Canada being the 2nd largest country in the world, surprisingly only has 60 active female players. The Canadian Chess Federation has decided to add two new titles hoping to raise more interest in women chess. The titles are WNCM (Woman National Candidate Master) and WNM (Woman National Master).

Currently as of today (April 8, 2013), I am a Woman National Master! 

Here is a post made by Bob Armstrong, one of the players in Canada. He also includes a statement made by one of my close and great friend, Iulia Lacau-Rodean.

“National Women’s Master/National Women’s Candidate Master

At the recently concluded CFC Spring Governors’ On-line Meeting, a passed motion created the new CFC titles: Women’s National Master (2100); Women’s National Candidate Master (1900). There was some debate about the helpfulness of these titles to the progress of women’s chess in Canada. The mover of the motion, CFC Governor from Windsor, Vlad Drkulec, Masters’ Representative, posted in favour of this motion, seconded by the CFC Women’s Coordinator, Iulia Lacau-Rodean:


Iulia Lacau-Rodean – © Egidijus Zeromskis

“This is the current usual cutoff range for qualification for the Canadian woman’s Olympiad team. The hope is that this would encourage more women and girls to continue to participate in chess for a longer period of time and also to give recognition to the women and girls who have attained this level of performance in Canadian chess.

Currently in Canada we do not have the level of female representation in chess tournaments and CFC membership that are seen in the United States. My observations in Windsor are that the level of chess interest in girls is about the same as that of boys but over time they become discouraged from playing by the observation that there are few other girls playing. It is hoped by making the top Canadian women more visible by offering this recognition that girls will continue playing chess in an effort to attain the additional titles and achieve similar recognition as the top titles.

Initially I thought to offer intermediate titles which would require norms in the 2200 level range for the WNM title and 2000 range for the WNCM title but after consultations with my co-sponsor and with governors have amended the levels to where they are attainable by Canada’s top women and girls (Ed.: 2100 & 1900). Once the WNM title was set it made sense to make the WNCM title levels two hundred points below the higher title to be consistent with all of our other titles. For the most part implementation of this would merely require editing the web page that currently lists the NCM title holders to include the title Woman National Master and the web page that currently lists the class A titled players to include the Woman National Candidate Master title. Women that wish a printed certificate could ask for one for the usual charge with the Women’s National Master title certificate being offered for free as is the usual practice for the National Master title.”

Scarborough CC Treasurer, Ken Kurkowski, on CMA Chesstalk, nicely analyzed the two sides of the debate on this motion: 

“With this issue there are two approaches, the Principled and the Pragmatic.

The Principled argument accepts that women cannot compete with men on equal terms in physical sports, but finds the idea that women are ‘inferior’ in mainly intellectual pursuits to be offensive. Hence the view that women’s titles and separate competitions in chess are inappropriate.

The Pragmatic view (mine) is that, for whatever reason (and this is an entirely separate debate!) there are far fewer strong female chessplayers than male. If we eliminate separate treatment, high level chess would become like motor sports, with a handful of women (e.g. Danica Patrick in NASCAR) competing against a large majority of men. Is that what we want? Why not do something to encourage more women to compete (and CONTINUE competing), while still allowing (and encouraging!) the most ambitious and talented ones to compete alongside the men?”

The motion passed: Yes – 21; No – 5; Abstain – 5.

The National Master Title is 2200. The new Women’s National Master Title is only 2100. Similarly, the National Candidate Master Title is 2000. The new Women’s National Candidate Master Title is only 1900.”

I’d like to inform everyone that I think the new titles is a great idea to raise interest in women chess, specifically in Canada!

Many young girls stop playing chess at the age of puberty–I am sure that Canada is not the only country witnessing this. Having these new woman titles, might influence the decision of these girls to keep going in their chess career. In Canada we have  many girls who are lower than 1900. Why not strive for the WNCM title? Or if you are just below 2100, keep playing so that you can get your WNM title and keep going towards the top! If Females get more ambition they will start fighting for the normal titles (Male titles).

Here is my opinion towards the people who were really against having such titles in Canada and around the World.

1) Competitions have ALWAYS been separate between Males and Females. Since chess is in the ‘Olympics’, it is known as a sport. If the competitions are merged, they are called Co-op competitions.

2) In the world, and especially in Canada. There is much less women playing chess than men. It is quite sad, but this is the truth. The separate titles in Canadian chess and International chess has been a great way to advertise more females to play. The Female chess population has been growing dramatically but not to the extent of Males yet.

3) People sometimes wonder why the titles for women are much easier to get than male. Well, here is one example–Currently, the highest Woman chess player is rated 2696 (Judit Polgar) and the highest Male chess player is rated 2872 (Magnus Carlsen). That’s almost 200 rating points difference right there, which happens to be the rating between the Female titles and Male titles.

Thank you for reading this post!

Once again, I am really happy to have gotten the opportunity to be one of the first females in Canada to get the Woman National Master Title.

I really wish this will be a new start to Women Chess in Canada, and I will be trying my best to help in any way to accomplish this goal!

2 thoughts on “Woman National Master”

  1. I think the whole notion of seperate titles for women is silly. There is no physical barrier to playing chess; its all in your head

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s