FIDE Bans Transgender Women From Women’s Chess Events.

FIDE, Chess, Transgender.

The International Chess Federation, or FIDE, claims that players who have undergone gender transformation have “no right to participate” in women’s competitions until the federation completes “further analysis” and makes a final judgment.

The revised policy was adopted by the FIDE council at a meeting earlier this month, and it will take effect on August 21.

According to the rule, once a player notifies FIDE that their gender has changed from male to female, they are ineligible to play in recognized women’s competitions. The next step is for the players to present what FIDE characterizes as “sufficient proof or a gender change that complies with their national laws and regulations.”

The revised regulation clarifies, however, that “there are no restrictions to play in the open section for a person who has changed [their] gender.”

The Women’s World Chess Championship is one of the few chess competitions that is exclusively for women. The great majority of chess competitions are thought of as open categories.

The Policy

In a statement published on the X platform, the Center for Trans Equality claimed that the new rule “relies on ignorant anti-trans ideas” and is “insulting to cis women, to trans women, and to the game itself.”

The regulation was agreed by FIDE during a meeting earlier this month, and it will take effect the following week. Given that the regulation appears to only apply to those who change in the future, it was unclear right away how it would affect transgender players who were already enrolled with the organization. An inquiry seeking comment and clarification was not answered by FIDE.

“Change of gender is a change that has a significant impact on a player’s status and future eligibility to tournaments, therefore it can only be made if there is relevant proof of the change provided,” the federation said.

“If the gender was changed from a male to a female, the player has no right to participate in official FIDE events for women until [a] further FIDE’s decision is made,” it said. Holders of women’s titles who change their genders to male would see those titles “abolished,” the federation said while holding out the possibility of a reinstatement “if the person changes the gender back to a woman.”

Men vs Women

Men are still disproportionately represented in the game of chess, even though women are becoming more interested in it (perhaps encouraged by the phenomenal success of the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit”). According to data from 2019, just 14.6% of U.S. Chess participants were women, which was a record at the time. Of the more than 1,600 worldwide chess grandmasters in 2020, 37 were female.

Given that the new rules are focused on people who transition in the future, it is unclear how they will affect transgender women who are currently participating in FIDE competitions.

The governing body, FIDE, said in a statement to CNN that the adjustments were made to the guidebook to clearly describe the procedures required when a player switches gender.

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