Top international chess federation bars transgender females from competing in women’s events


The International Chess Federation (FIDE) ruled that transgender women were barred from competing in the organization’s official events for females until an assessment of gender change is made by officials.

FIDE said the organization and its member federations “more often” received recognition requests from players who identify as transgender. The participation of transgender women would depend on an analysis of individual cases that might take up to two years.

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A general view of the atmosphere at the World Chess Championship at Somerset House on September 20, 2012 in London, England. (Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

“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 a relevant proof of the change provided,” FIDE said.

“In the event that the gender was changed from a male to a female the player has no right to participate in official FIDE events for women until further FIDE’s decision is made,” the organization said. “Such decision should be based on further analysis and shall be taken by the FIDE Council at the earliest possible time, but not longer than within 2 (two) years period. There are no restrictions to play in the open section for a person who has changed the gender.”

Chess pieces

Pieces stand on a chess board at the Werner Ott Open of the Kreuzberg Summer at the Berlin Kreuzberg Chess Club. (Andreas Gora/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The federation said the holders of women’s titles who change their genders to male would see those titles “abolished.” The organization floated the possibility of a reinstatement “if the person changes the gender back to woman.”

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“If a player has changed the gender from a man into a woman, all the previous titles remain eligible,” the federation said.

The decision came as the federation hosts a World Cup event in Azerbaijan where top players, including World No. 1 Grand Master Magnus Carlsen are attending.

Magnus Carlsen news conference

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen attends a news conference ahead of the 2016 World Chess Championship in New York City, U.S., November 10, 2016. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

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The federation has open competitions that allow all players to take part, as well as specialized categories, including for women, young players and computers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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