- FIDE has banned trans women from competing in women’s chess events.
- The decision has been met with outrage from some international players.
- Trans women chess players say the ban will cause “unnecessary harm”.
The International Chess Federation, or FIDE, has decided to prohibit trans women from competing in women’s chess events, a decision that has sparked outrage among some international players and advocacy groups.
The federation said: “Change of gender is a change that has a significant impact on a player’s status and future eligibility to tournaments, therefore it can only be made if there is relevant proof of the change provided.”
“In the event that the gender was changed from a male to a female the player has no right to participate in official Fide events for women until further Fide’s decision is made,” it added.
The worldwide chess governing body, based in Switzerland, stated that individual cases would necessitate “further analysis” and that a judgment might take up to two years.
As transgender athletes require comparable physical activity, various sports and authorities attempted to develop policies for them. Chess, on the other hand, is a different story.
Yosha Iglesias, a trans woman professional chess player, said the regulation will cause “unnecessary harm” to trans players and women.
Iglesias, who has the FIDE rank of chess master, went on to say that “this appalling situation will lead to depression and suicide attempts.”
Jennifer Shahade, a woman grandmaster and two-time US Women’s Champion, also slammed the FIDE’s policy, calling it “ridiculous and dangerous.”
Shahade said: “It’s obvious they didn’t consult with any transgender players in constructing it… I strongly urge FIDE to reverse course on this and start from scratch with better consultants.”
“There is no physical advantage in chess unless you believe men are inherently more able to play than women — I spent my chess career being told women’s brains were smaller than men’s and we shouldn’t even be playing,” UK MP Angela Eagle stated.
“This ban is ridiculous and offensive to women,” she said, who was a winner of the 1976 British Girls’ Under-18 chess championship.
FIDE reiterated in its ruling that trans guys who had previously won women’s titles would have their titles revoked.
Chess is a sport, according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The UCI, which controls cycling around the world, agreed last month to restrict transgender women from competing in women’s events.
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