In Just 5 Moves: A Special Place in Heaven
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright (in-)famously said “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
But if you go back to its original context, as the former Secretary of State details, the central theme was not about unconditional identity politics. It is not a plea that “women should only support women.”
The initial, correct, and best interpretation (IMHO) of the quote is this (to paraphrase MKA): Once you have climbed the ladder of success, you should not push away from building and contributing to the ladder of opportunities for others.
The concept generalizes to more than just gender, though a phenomenal and moving example of the idea unfolded yesterday [Friday, Feb 3, 2017]. I found it mouth dropping and inspiring.
After just 5 moves, The “Queen of Chess” Hou Yifan threw a game of chess to her opponent Babu Lalith.
I know, I know… in the grand scheme of things happening today… it’s just a Chess game. But character reveals itself in moments big and small, and this was both.
The announcers at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess tournament thought she had “gone mental” or was drunk. They were aghast.
Hou Yifan, the topped ranked women in Chess by a large margin (at the age of 22!) had recently left the women’s circuit, to play a mixed circuit in order to challenge herself against the top levels of chess: the men’s field.
At this particular event, she had drawn 7 women players over 10 rounds, despite women representing a fraction of the playing field. These pairings, although they were correctly executed according to the rules in play, ensured that the field of women was narrowed quickly — by other women.
She later said:
It makes me really, really upset. Not just for me, but for the other women players.
We are chess players and of course when we are playing in a tournament we
want to show our best performance and create interesting games for the chess fans, for the people who love chess.
This does not appear to be a decision she took lightly.
I just hoped that attention could be coming to the final decisive round . And what I also hope [is] that the pairings — you know — for the future event should be like a 100 percent fair situation.
Yes “just” a Chess game, but symbols matter.
And some people walk the walk.