‘Ridiculous’: Chess federation roasted for banning trans women


Rainbow chess pieces illustrating a story about World Chess Federation trans ban
Image: Pixabay

The international governing body of competitive chess has come under fire for banning transgender women from competing in women’s events and stripping titles from some trans players.

The International Chess Federation, or FIDE, put out new guidelines for transgender competitors this week. The guidelines state players who have transitioned to female have “no right” to compete in women’s events until FIDE officials complete “further analysis” of the “issue”.

FIDE said a review could take up to two years.

A FIDE spokesperson said the “absence of regulations previously caused ambiguity” when registering trans players to compete.

The spokesperson added that FIDE officials need time to study “rapidly developing” legislation on trans issues “without rushing it.”

“Any further decisions related to admission of the players to official FIDE women events require a more thorough analysis that will be done and further decisions taken by the Council,” the spokesperson said.

“Meanwhile, the transgender players are allowed to participate in the open section of the official FIDE chess tournaments.”

‘Don’t use trans women as scapegoats’

But the new guidelines have been roasted online. Many are pointing out the awkward implication of the new rules suggesting that cisgender men are smarter than cisgender women.

“Really? Chess?” the US-based National Center for Transgender Equality tweeted.

“This is so insulting to cis women, to trans women, and to the game itself. It assumes that cis women couldn’t be competitive against cis men — and relies on ignorant anti-trans ideas.”

FIDE chess champion Yosha Iglesias, who is a transgender woman, blasted the new guidelines on Thursday.

“If you want to help women in chess, fight sexist and sexual violence, give women in chess more visibility and more money,” Iglesias tweeted.

“Don’t use trans women players as scapegoats. We contribute to the development of women in chess. We are women in chess.”

Iglesias is referring to an open letter from female chess players earlier this month blowing the whistle on “sexist and sexual violence” in pro chess. Over 100 female players have signed the letter.

Chess federation’s trans ban somehow not a parody

Woman Grandmaster and two-time US Women’s Champion Jennifer Shahade also criticised the trans ban, saying the policy is “ridiculous and dangerous”.

“It’s obvious they didn’t consult with any transgender players in constructing it… Start from scratch with better consultants,” Shahade said.

UK MP and chess champ Angela Eagle added, “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.

“This ban is ridiculous and offensive to women.”

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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1 Comment

  1. Michael
    24 August 2023
    Reply

    There have only ever been 3 varieties of Chess, I have found anyway entertaining or could ever engage with. Space Chess {STAR WARS) & Wizards Chess {HARRY POTTER}. & in particular the musical CHESS from brilliant minds of Bjorn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson with Tim Rice. What they all have in common, is it only requires an audience of various people to sit in a theatre & enjoy the story via the music, singing & action. So just where is there any overbalanced advantage, should Transpeople exceptionally gifted in playing tournament level CHESS?! How come they can just rule something so severe without providing any genuine proof.

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