Because there isn't enough scandal in the chess world right now, grandmaster Ilya Smirin uttered sexist remarks while commentating the FIDE Womens' Grand Prix on Tuesday—among them an admission he thinks chess is "maybe not for women"—and was promptly fired.
The federation apologised and called Mr Smirin's comments offensive and embarrassing. Belarusian-born Mr Smirin – who was once ranked one of the world's top 20 players – was making his debut as an English-language commentator in Astana, Kazakhstan. …
Mr Smirin went on to appear to admit that he had privately said "chess is maybe not for women". Fellow commentator Fiona Steil-Antoni said to him: "You're saying, you know, 'chess is maybe not for women'," and Mr Smirin replied: "I didn't say it openly… in private, private conversation." And he also seemed to admit saying another female player – Grandmaster Aleksandra Goryachkin – had been "playing like a man".
The following quote is like gallows humor. This guy should cut Matt Bors a check.
I'm always curious, why can women play among men but men cannot play with women in women tournaments? Interesting question
Below, the tape. Note that "Woman Grandmaster" remains an official title with a lower rating requirement to Grandmaster.
There is apparently much debate over the need for "womens" FIDE titles, along all the obvious lines. Women account for 39 of about 2000 GMs, but the sport has few women playing to begin with and they appear more or less randomly distributed in the rankings. IIRC two women are currently in the top 100, and Judit Polgar was top 10 before her retirement. Here's a game where Polgar gave Smirin a thrashing.