Trans Women Were Banned From Women’s Chess Competitions, Sparking A Controversy

The International Chess Federation announced the decision to temporarily ban trans women on Monday Aug. 14.

Trans Women Were Banned From Women’s Chess Competitions, Sparking A Controversy

Chess’ governing body has announced that it is banning trans women from competing in women’s competitions, sparking a controversy.

Yosha Iglesias, a trans woman player from France.

The International Chess Federation – known as FIDE – announced the decision to temporarily ban trans women on Monday Aug. 14, saying officials will need to conduct a review of the situation before a final decision is made.

Ju Wenjun (R) of China competes against Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia during the 2020 International Chess Federation (FIDE) Women’s World Chess Championship in Shanghai on January 11, 2020. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

The governing bodies of many physical sports are working on policies regarding trans athletes, but chess does not require significant levels of physical activity.

Two chess players playing against each other
Chess players in the Women’s World Chess Championship 2017. (Photo by Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

According to FIDE’s announcement, chess players who were assigned male at birth and transition will be banned from competing.

Natalia Parés Vives, a trans woman chess player from Spain.

FIDE will then analyze the player’s individual case before making a decision about their participation, according to CNN.

The review process could take up to two years.

Businesswomen working in various industries competing in a chess tournament.
Photo by Binnur Ege Gurun Kocak/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

FIDE said in a statement that it made the decision after receiving a growing number of requests from trans players.

Morgen Mills, a trans woman chess player from Canada.

“Change of gender is a change that has a significant impact on a player’s status,” it said.

Chess player
(STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

“The transgender legislation is rapidly developing in many countries and many sport bodies are adopting their own policies,” FIDE told the BBC.

“FIDE will be monitoring these developments and see how we can apply them to the world of chess. Two years is a scope of sight that seemed reasonable for the thorough analyses of such developments.”

Participants attend the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships, the first international chess competition held in Saudi Arabia, in the capital Riyadh on December 26, 2017. (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

The organization also said that trans men who won women’s titles before transitioning would have their titles abolished.

Participants attend chess competition
(STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

It added that there were no restrictions on trans players competing in the open section of its tournaments, when men and women compete against each other.

The policy will take effect on Aug. 21.

VIsitors at a Women's match
(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The decision has been criticized by chess players and human rights organizations, with the National Center for Transgender Equality calling them “insulting” to all women and the game itself.

(Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)

“It assumes that cis women couldn’t be competitive against cis men – and relies on ignorant anti-trans ideas,” it wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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