Iran, head-covering, chess.

March 27, 2017 at 5:31 am 4 comments

In October I wrote about the World Women’s Championship being played in Iran, with female competitors being forced to wear head coverings. Some women boycotted the tournament. There is always an argument made at such times that women should agree to play, it doesn’t really mean anything, so why not? Obviously, however, it does mean a lot and to make that point, the Iranian player  Dorsa Derakhshani has been banned from the National Team for not wearing a hijab during the Gibraltar Open earlier this year. Details here.

Ironically, she was quoted in December saying

I’m definitely not conservative in this issue but I think we shouldn’t make such a big deal out of it. Those who really oppose these measures for political reasons are free to stay away. This really doesn’t help anybody and would truly be a pity for the event itself! Full interview here.

Many would disagree with her on this. And it’s all very well to say that women can stay away and some did, but at large professional/financial cost. It’s the world championship they were forced to boycott, not a tournament of no significance.

Overall, the point must be made: how has it helped anybody in Iran, chess players or others, for women from other countries to have aided in legitimising this method of subjugating women?





Entry filed under: chess, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

Applications of Chess Theory Geller The bravery of a coward, the importance of fear.

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Elham  |  March 27, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Legitimising this method of subjugating women probably won’t help anybody except the Islamic government of Iran to once again show its fake credit of legislations to the world. The fact is they are making great effort to make life harder and harder for women. The legislators who are men and a few women (who are men more than man) have no slightest understanding of chess and the last thing in the world they think about is women’s sport, one should never expect them favors to change the rule – it’s the world women’s championship and why on earth in a place where all people are women they should have hijab.
    If I was from another country and wanted to attend a competition in a place where some rules with no logical reasons were preferred to my ego and my talent and my request due to have my primal right to choose my own cloth was rejected with aggression I wouldn’t go in that country for sure.
    I think it’s FIDE responsibility to take this issue more seriously.

    • 2. cathyc  |  March 27, 2017 at 9:35 pm


  • 3. mannyrayner  |  March 27, 2017 at 5:42 am

    If one were to defend the policy of forcing players in the recent tournament to wear the hijab, one could argue that without this rule the tournament could never have been held in Iran in the first place, and that having it there might have helped Iranian women chess players.

    It would have been more convincing though if one of the Iranian women had done reasonably well. But all three of them were eliminated in the first round… possibly they would have done better playing somewhere else?

    • 4. cathyc  |  March 27, 2017 at 5:45 am

      Conspiring in the subjugation of women by agreeing to wear the items which symbolise the subjugation is not helping Iranians, females or males, chess players or others. The event should have been boycotted by everybody. FIDE should be ashamed of itself for trying it on.


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