Controversial chess grandmaster takes on 20 women simultaneously

Female chess fans from as far away as Colombia have gathered in Auckland to take on one of the best players on the planet.

Renowned chess grandmaster Nigel Short took on 20 women players simultaneously in a bid to promote the game.

One fan travelled all the way from Colombia for one shot at her hero.

"It was amazing because I love chess so it was very nice to see him in person," Luisa Maria Restrepo Neme says. 

Despite his goal of increasing female players, Short has been under the gun recently for implying that women were "hard wired" differently to men when it comes to playing the strategic board game.

He says he does not regret the comments.

"I mean men and women have very different brains and that is just a simple biological fact," he told ONE News.

"I just said on average they don't play as well, and if you look at the top players in the world and you see 99 men and one woman then that certainly backs up what I was saying."

Vanessa Fairley says his comments inspired her to prove women could hold their own.

She was the last player standing, but could not get past the star.

"He was distracting me, talking to me," she says.

"Usually you're not allowed to talk in chess, by that stage he had outplayed me." 

Nigel Short is in Auckland for a tournament, but took the afternoon to back up his controversial claims that women just aren’t "hardwired" for playing chess. Source: 1 NEWS