In February, Iran will host the world chess championship among women. It has already caused an international scandal. Several players, including former world champion Ukrainian Mariya Muzychuk, said that he would not go to the tournament, because there human rights are not respected and women are forced to play in hijabs.
My opinion on this situation in his interview to chess-news has shared the famous Ukrainian grandmaster Vasily Ivanchuk.
– I just thought about this, and recently, but I imagined a different situation because I am a male. I imagined that the championship was held in Scotland, with a prerequisite that the participants were playing in tartan kilts. In fact, in Scotland a kilt is considered traditionally male clothing, but for most players it would have been very familiar, including me. And what I would do, I don’t know. I would think that this is all very strange to impose on the players kind of commitment… Well, I can relate to this? – lamenting Ivanchuk. – If, for example, to wear a scarf… If it was only that, then I probably would have given advice: go to a tailor, but not in Iran, and in the place where this girl lives, so he made her this scarf, in which she would feel comfortable to bring and say, here, I have my own, I others things do you wanna put on, my head is covered, respect for local traditions observed… That is something to cope with this problem. If there are still any other problems, other requirements, too, depending on what. Maybe something can be worked around. I understand that this is a problem responsible for the competition.
– Yes, there are many nuances, not only in the hijab.
– I suspect. Even heard that they’re almost not walking with bodyguards. If so, then this is also worthless. The player because you need to be alone sometimes, to escape, to get out into the fresh air, to nobody. So all this is difficult.
On the other hand, if there was some collective failure of, say, a dozen of the strongest women chess players, by FIDE, probably, was forced to reconsider this decision. And so…
In the end, even in Iran it was possible to negotiate. For example, let them play not in Tehran, but somewhere outside the city, at a separate location in a special hotel where there will be some players. In such circumstances, their traditions, of course, can be respected if they were less severe or associated with some risk to health and life. They had to do something. But if they did… Maybe still not too late to do it. Because I believe that the competition of such a high level it is desirable that participated all the famous grandmasters, so they do not distract, they do not interfere.