Women’s World Chess Championship 2017 Incident

The U.S. Women’s Chess Champion, Nazi Paikidze.

The U.S. Women’s Chess Champion, Nazi Paikidze.

Story by Bredi Aranya, Staff Writer

     After the 2016 World Chess Championship finished, the next international event for the chess lovers is the Women’s World Chess Championship in February and March 2017. But there is a huge problem on the line. The event is taking place in Tehran, the capital of Iran. The event is happening in Iran because they were the only country that accepted to host the championship. Every participant has to wear a hijab, a Muslim head scarf. The United States women’s chess champion, Nazi Paikidze, boycotted this event because she is not Muslim and feels that her basic human rights, her freedom to wear what she wants, is violated. She also stated in her Instagram page, “I think it’s unacceptable to host a Women’s World Championship in a place where women do not have basic fundamental rights.”

     It is very ridiculous of the World Chess Federation, FIDE, to host the World Championship in a country where there is a major problem with humanitarian rights, mostly women. Women don’t have their basic rights in Iran, or many of the radical Muslim countries, almost all of them being in the Middle East. Pakidze not going to the tournament would disappoint chess lovers. She is a very respected Woman Grandmaster and an International Master. Her rating took the number three spot in the highest rated females in January 2017 with a rating of 2416. That is around 400 short of Magnus Carlsen, the world chess champion. One more problem is that the World Chess Championship, the men’s world championship, was held in New York, USA. The United States offers every basic human rights and more precisely, women don’t have to wear hijab, it is their choice. Many people are also upset because they don’t want to go to one of the most dangerous countries to watch the Women’s World Chess Championship, but it is too late to change locations. The only thing that can be changed, especially in a time of crisis in the Middle East, is the players’ choices to attend the championship or not. Hopefully, FIDE will considers the competitors’ opinions next year for the 2018 Women’s World Chess Championship.

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