Trans women will be banned from competing in International Chess Federation events while the federation comes up with new guidelines, an announcement that made zero sense and shows trans panic at its worst.
From the Washington Post:
Under the new guidelines from the International Chess Federation — known by its French acronym, FIDE — individuals who transition from male to female have “no right” to compete in official events for women until “further analysis” is made, which could take up to two years. Additionally, if a player holds titles in women’s categories and transitions to male, “the women titles are to be abolished,” while if the player transitions from male to female, the titles will remain, the handbook says.
I have read FIDE’s document announcing the change and it does nothing to answer why trans women are a threat to women’s chess.
Last I looked, chess pieces didn’t weigh 100 pounds and thus require strength or require someone to run fast or jump high. These have all been reasons why various federations such as swimming, cycling and track and field have changed their rules. While I think these other sports bodies have policies that are too restrictive, they have at least a veneer of science behind them. But chess? It’s pure transphobia.
The closest reason I could suss out came from Richard Pringle, a professor of sociology and education who studies gender and sexuality in the context of sport at Monash University in Australia, who told the Washington Post, “there’s not that physicality dimension to chess, it’s a game of strategy.”
“It suggests that males are somehow strategically better. … It’s not just transphobic, it’s anti-feminist too,” Pringle said of the ban, adding that it was “likely a political decision rather than an issue of fairness.”
Pringle is right. The people who run chess obviously think “biological men” are smarter than women, and therefore a trans woman will have an advantage in the brains department. It’s transphobic and misogynistic at the same time.
“In banning trans women from chess the insane anti-trans lobby has fully revealed their hand,” feminist and LGBTQ rights activist Katy Montgomerie wrote in a great thread in X, formerly known as Twitter. “They don’t just believe that sex is a non-material immutable binary, they also think that women are intellectually inferior. Which is what we’ve been saying they believe from the start.”
The chess federation’s policy blows up the argument that people making these decisions care about “fairness” in sports. They are dupes of a political movement that hates trans people, especially women, and will do everything they can to make their lives miserable.