Found via the NYT, which has a giant article about attractive women who play in chess tournaments. The Times also points to the "Internet Chess Club" -- which makes me want to say "demented and sad, but social" (or demented and sad and not even social). It quotes a female chess player: "a large percentage of the comments [there] are about how hot the women are."
The Times tackles the issue of what to do when a male player accuses his female opponent of using her good looks to "distract" him:
"She was distracting... But there was nothing I could do. It was the beginning of April, right after spring break, and she was dressed appropriately for the time of year. It wasn't anything against the law. I told the guy, 'You are going to have to call upon yourself to overcome the distraction.' He ended up losing the game anyway, but I am not sure that was from being distracted."I don't play chess, and I've never watched a chess tournament, but I've seen some film clips and photos of grand players, and I imagine that the physical presence of the opponent always has an unnerving effect of some sort. And isn't each player aware of the things about him that are a bit disconcerting, such as very large size, audible breathing, or nervous ticcing? And then there's the subtle question of whether a player is doing it on purpose. It must be distracting just to get sucked into thinking about whether your opponent is doing it on purpose.