Reigning US Women’s Chess Champion Nazi Paikidze took a principled stance against participating in the upcoming Women’s World Championship in Iran. She believes requiring all 64 players to wear hijab is discriminatory and unacceptable. Her campaign page on change.org, states, “We demand that FIDE reconsider its decision to award the Women’s World Chess Championship to Iran.”
The campaign has gathered over 15,000 signatures and has been featured prominently in many mainstream media venues, including The Telegraph, the Washington Post, Fox News, CNN and The New York Post. The Post included an interview with US Chess Federation Board President Gary Walters. “We absolutely support Nazi Paikidze. Women should not be oppressed for cultural, religious or ethnic reasons.”
Walters added to his comments there and told US Chess News, “US Chess wholeheartedly supports Paikidze. She has taken a principled position of which we can be proud. Last week, US Chess delivered a letter to FIDE asking it to clarify any dress or other behavior that may be imposed upon the participants by the host government or federation. We reminded FIDE that the forced wearing of a hijab or other dress is contrary to FIDE’s handbook, as well as against the International Olympic Committee’s principles, an organization FIDE has sought to join for a substantial period of time. We hope that each of our qualifiers, along with other participants around the world, will be able to participate in the Women’s World Championship without the distraction of political or religious concerns.”
Several well known chessplayers have supported Nazi’s stance, including Garry Kasparov, Nigel Short, WGM Carla Heredia, Tatev Abrahamyan and editor of this site, Jen Shahade.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) October 6, 2016
US Chess will update on any developments after an official response from FIDE.