Thursday 4 May 2017

Ah, chess parents

Last week a story broke about a 12 year old girl who withdrew from a chess event in Malaysia, after being told her dress was 'inappropriate'. I held off on covering the story, as I have seen this sought of story start with sensationalist coverage, before turning out to be not quite what it seemed to be.
The last few days has seen more information come to light, and it does seem that there is more to the case than initially reported. There appears to be no dispute that the comment was made, but the claim is that the comment came from a teacher from the hosting school. But to confuse matters, the teacher was also a tournament arbiter, so it isn't clear whether it was the teacher speaking or the arbiter.
Nonetheless it is still a pretty poor state of affairs, as I have never heard a complaint of this type levelled against a male player (of any age). Nigel Short once had a complaint made against him for playing in shorts, but I don't recall if this was because the sight of his legs was making it hard for other players to concentrate. On the other hand I know of at least 2 well reported incidents in Australia, where the 'making it difficult to concentrate' complaint has been made against female players.
The Malaysian incident has now turned into a battle of competing versions, and legal action is being tossed around by both sides. It will probably run for a bit, and like most incidents of this type, will be misremembered and misreported for years to come.

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