Female chess grandmasters have become an increasingly popular hobby for female gamers, who seek out and enjoy the challenge of playing a game against other women.
Many women are keen to compete at the highest levels, and the female players who compete in the sport are often lauded as role models and champions for women.
But while female chess players have achieved significant success in recent years, it is unclear what is in it or how it is used to promote equality.
The International Federation of Chess (IFCC) recently published its annual ranking of chess stars, which placed Russia at number nine.
Russia’s highest ranked player is a 29-year-old Bulgarian who won the 2017 World Championship.
She is ranked 877, and her team mate is ranked 973.
But the IFCC’s rankings were not based on the top-ranked player’s results.
Rather, they were based on player ratings from a wide variety of other tournaments across the world.
In this year’s ranking, Russia’s female chess player was ranked 1270.
A top 10 list was published by the International Federation Chess Federation, with the US and China ranked ahead of Russia, and Russia in the top ten.
The IFCC also included a list of the world’s top female chess stars.
The list of female chess star rankings includes players who have not yet competed in the world chess championship, but are considered to be at the top of their field.
Russia was ranked 4th.
The first female chess ace of the 20th century was born, and this year she was ranked 1st in the World Chess Championship rankings.
It’s difficult to assess the role of chess in a country where chess is the official sport, said Aleksandra Koval, professor of media at Moscow State University.
“Chess is a very popular sport in Russia, but the problem is not only that it’s popular, but that it has a lot of female players,” Koval said.
“In this situation, we need to ask whether it’s being used in a way that promotes equality or in a negative way.”
Koval noted that many women in the Russian professional chess scene do not take part in tournaments or competitions, and that the Russian government has not made it clear to female players how to join the ranks.
“There are many reasons why they haven’t announced this, but it’s not something we should be afraid of,” she said.
The IFCC is the governing body of chess, and has recently been criticized for its failure to include women’s chess in its ranking.
In February 2017, the IFRC released its rankings of female grandmasters, which did not include a ranking for female players.
The US was ranked second, China third, and Japan fourth.
In June 2017, IFCCA president and CEO Maria Sirotkin was appointed to the board of directors of the International Chess Federation (ICAF), and announced the creation of a new “Chef, Chief Executive Officer and Director”.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Sirotakin said the new roles were created to help combat sexism in the professional and amateur game, which she said is being treated as a niche sport.
“We are in the process of putting in place the first gender-blind chess commission,” she told Al Jazeera.
“It will be an independent body.
We are working to achieve the objectives set out in the IFC constitution and the International Charter of Chess and will work to create a commission that is gender-sensitive and gender-equal.”
Klimentov is a senior research fellow at the European Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin.
He is a former chess player and is now a senior researcher at the Institute of Advanced Chess Studies (IAAS).
Klimenov told Al Jazeeras that he was surprised that the ICAF did not mention the issue of gender in its chess rankings.
“The ICAI is not a political organisation, and there is no political dimension to it,” he said.
He added that the organization is committed to gender equality and gender equity.
“I think that chess is a huge success for women, and I hope that we can have more equality in the game.
But there are challenges that are very difficult for women,” Klimanov said.
Al Jazeera’s Laura Gellman contributed to this report.