Former chess world title challenger Nigel Short has been condemned by leading female players after claiming “we should just gracefully accept” that women are not as good as men at the game - or driving.

Mr Short, originally from Wigan but now living in Greece, told the magazine New in Chess that men and women were different.

Why should they function in the same way? I don’t have the slightest problem in acknowledging that my wife possesses a much higher degree of emotional intelligence than I do.

Likewise, she doesn’t feel embarrassed in asking me to manoeuvre the car out of our narrow garage. One is not better than the other, we just have different skills.

It would be wonderful to see more girls playing chess and at a higher level, but rather than fretting about inequality, perhaps we should just gracefully accept it as a fact.

Amanda Ross, who runs the Casual Chess club in London, said it was “incredibly damaging when someone so respected basically endorses sexism”, The Daily Telegraph reported.

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