A two-time world chess champion has said she will not defend her titles at a tournament held in Saudi Arabia because of the way the kingdom treats women as “secondary creatures.”
…The sport’s governing body, Fide, had claimed a measure of success in persuading Saudi authorities to allow female competitors to compete in high-necked white blouses and blue or black trousers instead of full-body abayas.
However, for Muzychuk, it was not enough. “I am going to lose two world champion titles, one by one,” she wrote on Facebook. “Just because I decided not to go to Saudi Arabia. Not to play by someone’s rules, not to wear abaya, not to be accompanied getting outside and altogether not to feel myself a secondary creature. Exactly one year ago I won these two titles and was about the happiest person in the chess world but this time I feel really bad. I am ready to stand for my principles and skip the event, where in five days I was expected to earn more than I do in a dozen of events combined. All that is annoying, but the most upsetting thing is that almost nobody really cares. That is a really bitter feeling, still not the one to change my opinion and my principles. The same goes for my sister Mariya – and I am really happy that we share this point of view. And yes, for those few who care – we’ll be back!”