Luchenko was the first truly decent opponent she faced in Russia


The build-up to the Luchenko match showed how all of Beth’s other male opponents either underestimated her, grew angry with her, or behaved condescending toward her.Just before her game with Luchenko, Beth defeats two men: Hellstrom and Shapkin. Hellstrom angrily storms away from the table without a word, leaving Beth alone and disrespected at the table.

The tournament announcer notes that her next opponent, Shapkin, “was very decent, very civilized, and took his loss with grace, even though Harmon’s win over him was decisive and merciless.”

But Shapkin doesn’t shake Beth’s hand. Instead he frowns, then stands up, and reaches out to gently kiss Beth’s hand.It’s a nicer gesture than Hellstrom’s, but the moment still doesn’t sit right. It honestly feels like an over correction. Shapkin is still treating Beth differently than he would a male opponent.


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