Female chess players forced to wear hijabs at next World Championships in Iran; some pull out

For a reason that defies understanding, the Commission for Women’s Chess of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, has chosen to have the next women’s world championship in—yes—Iran.  And you know what that means: push your pawns wearing a hijab, or get arrested. Or don’t come at all.

That last option seems to be what many women grandmasters are choosing, at least according to an article in yesterday’s Torygraph, called to my attention by angry chess player Will G. In fact, given his familiarity with the game and the federations involved, I’ll just let Will comment on the Torygraph article. I’ll indent text from the article, and put Will’s comments in quotation marks, flush left.  My own remarks will be flush left without quotations.

First, an opening quote from Will: “I’m an avid chess player, and am livid about this. FIDE often hosts major events in places with serious human rights problems (Russia, of course, but also China and the Gulf States of Qatar and UAE), but this is an explicit endorsement of misogyny.”

From the Torygraph:

The world’s top female chess players have reacted with horror after being told they must compete at next year’s world championship wearing a hijab.

Within hours of Iran being revealed as its host country, the prestigious event was plunged into crisis as it emerged players taking part face arrest if they don’t cover up.

In response, Grandmasters lined up to say they would boycott the 64-player knock-out and accused the game’s scandal-hit governing body Fide of failing to stand up for women’s rights.

Fide’s Commission for Women’s Chess, meanwhile, called on participants to respect “cultural differences” and accept the regulations.

From Will: “‘Respect cultural differences’: the last refuge of a regressive scoundrel. You don’t need morality police roaming the streets to enforce your culture, and if you thought those differences were respectable, you’d never tire of telling us why.”

And famous women players are revolting. As Will notes:

“From the article, I’m pleased to see the women of chess are not putting up with this. American champion Nazi Paikidze has joined others in refusing to go. She had a brief Tw**tfight with Susan Polgar, who has had a checkered history as a renowned chess educator and administrator of the USCF. Paikidze deals amicably, while Polgar takes any public disagreement as an insult.”

I looked up Polgar on Wikipedia, and found that she does indeed have a checkered (or should I say “chessed”) history with the U.S. Chess Federation. Will adds this:

“In the article, Polgar is quoted as saying:

“I believe the organisers provided beautiful choices [of headscarf] for past participants… I cannot speak on behalf of others but from my personal conversations with various players in the past year, they had no real issues with it.”

“Imagine a man saying this. Speaking for you while pretending not to, and making an appeal to vanity. ‘Ladies, you’ll just swoon over the exotic fabrics our hosts are waiting to wrap you in!'”

At any rate, here’s some revolt against the hijab rule by Nazí Paikidze, 2016 American champion, International Master, and Woman Grandmaster.

Nazi Paikidze, the US women’s champion, also raised concerns about players’ safety in the Islamic republic.

She said: “It is absolutely unacceptable to host one of the most important women’s tournaments in a venue where, to this day, women are forced to cover up with a hijab.

“I understand and respect cultural differences. But, failing to comply can lead to imprisonment and women’s rights are being severely restricted in general.

“It does not feel safe for women from around the world to play here.” Paikidze added: “I am honoured and proud to have qualified to represent the United States in the Women’s World Championship. But, if the situation remains unchanged, I will most certainly not participate in this event.”

The U.S. Department of State has issued a warning about travelling to Iran saying citizens risk being unjustly imprisoned or kidnapped because of their nationality.

Her statement on Instagram:


And the Torygraph reports this:

Nigel Short, the British former world title contender, said: “There are people from all sorts of backgrounds going to this, there will be atheists, Christians, all sorts of people.

“If you are deeply Christian why would you want to wear a symbol of Islamic oppression of women?”

This from Carla Heredia, battling with Polger.

Former Pan American champion Carla Heredia, from Ecuador, added: “No institution, no government, nor a Women’s World Chess Championship should force women to wear or to take out a hijab.

“This violates all what sports means. Sport should be free of discrimination by sex, religion and sexual orientation.

I’m really glad that women are fighting back against this. I can see donning a hijab or removing shoes as a sign of respect when entering a mosque (I’ve done the shoe thing many times, as well as made sure I wasn’t dressed immodestly), BUT NOT IN A WHOLE COUNTRY! It’s simply theocratic oppression of non-Muslim women to make them cover their heads while playing chess in your country, pure and simple. After all, in Saudi Arabia you must cover yourself, but not in the special compounds where foreigners live. Why can’t the chess venue be considered such a compound?

It would serve FIDE right if there were a mass boycott of the Championship. It’s time to stop celebrating the hijab and see it for what it is: a shackle worn on the head.

Lagniappe: reader Pliny the in Between has a relevant cartoon:



h/t: Larry


  1. Posted September 30, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what the Iranians will do about the Queen. And presumably they’ll be playing without bishops.

    • steve oberski
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      In very early chess as played in India the Queen was called the adviser and the Bishop was called the elephant.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      It must be very confusing for Islamic bigots, what with the other meaning of the word ‘queen’ too. Apparently they’re not that fond of your Graham Nortons and Dale Wintons either.

  2. Cindy
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I saw this on twitter earlier:

    • Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      That Poe isn’t quite subtle enough.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Was subtle enough to convince me :). Reading some of the stuff on David Thompson’s website this seemed pretty sensible by comparison…

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      AFAICT, ‘forced’ relates specifically to the Iranian decision to mandate the hijab for foreign female chess competitors.

      Didn’t they even bother reading the article? The laziness of some of these people is astonishing. They’re making me stand up for The Telegraph, which is the worst thing of all.

  3. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    The Times picked this story up too. My first thought was ‘more of the usual patronising cultural relativism’. My second thought was ‘her name is what??’

    What do you do when there’s an opportunity for cultural exchange with countries like this? Instinctively I feel like we should boycott them entirely, but then you’re letting down Iranian secular organisations; left-wing trade unions, atheist groups, advocates for political plurality. They’re isolated enough as it is.

    In this case it seems pretty clear-cut, but there are examples where what might seem like a principled boycott ends up cutting off foreign progressives from any outside support.

    • Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      In this case I think it’s good to boycott it. Without the boycott Iranian women (many of whom deeply resent wearing the hijab, as witnessed by the #mystealthyfreedom site) wouldn’t even KNOW they were being supported. The other bonus is that this doesn’t hurt Iranian women, or average Iranian citizens; it just calls attention to Islamic misogyny.

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink


      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 30, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. My instinctive reaction is to refuse to deal with countries like this at all, but of course it’s generally not as simple as that.

        This case on the other hand, is. They should tell the Iranians, politely, to stick their championships.

    • Cate Plys
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Unless you could have made the same argument regarding South Africa under apartheid, the misogyny has to be opposed–and the only way to do that, short of women chess players being arrested in Iran for refusing to be subjugated, is to boycott.

    • Craw
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      This is a source of prestige for the regime, and a validation of their laws on covering up. Boycott.

      • Posted October 1, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        + 1. Even if the players were allowed to stay barehead, this would also be wrong: foreign guests in the privileged position to have the repressive local laws waived for them.

  4. busterggi
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Wait, there are separate chess organizations for men and women???

    Based on what? Are the pieces moved differently somehow?

    • mikeyc
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      That was my question. It makes no sense.

      Maybe Will knows and can comment?

      • Will G
        Posted September 30, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        There is the one world governing body, FIDE, and everyone plays and is rated according to its rules. Women can play in any open event, but there are a handful of tournaments and titles that are exclusive based on age (junior or senior) and gender (female).

        • mikeyc
          Posted September 30, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Will

          I wonder what horrors would ensue should FIDE sponsor a men only tournament (they don’t, do they?). The outrage would be galactic.

        • Posted October 1, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          I wonder what Will thinks of this pensée. The Paikidze incident could be chess’s modern Rushdie moment.

          Think of the post-war Soviet domination of the chess world championships. And the stories we are told of Botvinnik being preferred by the Soviet authorities over Smyslov. I seem to remember that similarly in 1969 the authorities preferred Petrosian over the ideologically unreliable Spassky, yet Spassky won fair and square.

          Remember how big the Reykjavik world championship match between Spassky and Fischer was. The endless negotiations, the allegations by Fischer of Soviet foul-play in the auditoria, the threat by Fischer to refuse to play, the US-Soviet tension, the intervention by Kissinger to get Fischer to play, the proxy Cold War in a chess match.

          Given that the centre of gravity in world chess is in Central Asia with all those super-rich authoritarian leaders bidding to host the next chess jamboree, you might expect the next clash to be one poisoned by religious, rather than political, conflict. I suppose the difference is that the Central Asian authoritarianisms don’t fetishize the hijab: but if politics go the wrong way in that region, this could be, as I said, that Satanic Verses moment in chess. And perhaps the first of many such instances. That’s why Paikidze is so right.

          Asked, “Religion poisons everything? Even chess?”, Hitch replied, “Yes, even chess.”

    • Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Women are allowed to compete in the “men’s” division — it’s actually not gender-specific. Some women do. The women only division is specifically to encourage girls and women to participate in chess.

    • Posted September 30, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      “Wait, there are separate chess organizations for men and women???”

      While I support the boycott there is some irony here with members of a women only chess organization complaining about sexism.

    • Flemur
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Carla Heredia explained it: “Sport should be free of discrimination by sex, religion and sexual orientation.”

      Therefore excluding men isn’t discrimination by sex. Because reasons.

      • Posted October 1, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        If top males are overwhelmingly better than top females, it makes sense to have female-only contests, otherwise we females would feel excluded to look at the top 20 (say) chess players and see Y chromosomes all around.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 1, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          Unlike most sports, where there are obvious physical reasons why men are ‘superior’ (I hesitated saying that word, but I couldn’t think of another that didn’t mean essentially the same thing), I can’t see any obvious reason why men should be better at chess. It requires logic, but also a good chunk of intuition, which women are supposed to be good at. Possibly it’s just a cultural thing.

          That said, given the circumstance that men apparently dominate, there’s a good practical reason to have a separate womens organisation (and also, being free to compete in the ‘overall’ competition against the men if they wish).


          • Posted October 1, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

            I’m a bit out of date with my history of chess knowledge, but I can only think of one woman grandmaster in the top 10 before ooh…the 1990s(?) That was Judit Polgar, sister of the one who’s giving Paikidze grief. Btw. she was trained by Bobby Fischer at the start of his descent into bonkerdom.

            So up till then in the, say, 150 years of modern chess since Paul Morphy all the top players had been men: so whatever the organization of chess now there had always been a boys club atmosphere about it. This is my opinion and it’s mine: I think that chess is a pure battle. There is no (or very little) luck in it. The person who wins has demonstrated their superiority and also, if you want to view it like that, their superior intellect. To lose in chess is as personally humiliating as any sport, probably more so because it is such a cerebral game. All of which contributes to a masculine, even macho atmosphere.

            I’m fairly certain that it was inconceivable to many male grandmasters that a woman could be as good as them until Judit Polgar came along. ‘Women weren’t capable of the long periods of concentration, didn’t have the killer instinct etc.’ The latter characteristic was most often ascribed to Garry Kasparov, who I saw the other day pwn Dinesh D’Souza on twitter. Isn’t t’interweb great?

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted October 1, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

              The reason I said ‘intuition’ is that, as I understand it, the permutations of moves are so complex that not even supercomputers can calculate more than a few moves ahead.


              • Posted October 1, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

                I wasn’t replying specifically to you, infinite, but this is what I think about intuition in chess.

                As someone who could’a been a contender, Charlie, (in other words I was pretty good when I was eight but gave up for years), I think intuition in chess comes from the recognition of patterns in play. And you can only get that from playing over and over again, recognizing similar positions and their possibilities. It ain’t really analogous to the life idea of feminine intuition which is about emotional intuition.

                Intuition in chess is a logical and mathematical idea: unless one factors in a prediction about how one’s opponent is likely to play, offensively, defensively, cagily even bullshittingly. But accurate play should always take into account those possibilities and beat it.

                That said one is playing an opponent who is 1 metre away from you: their body language can affect you (incidentally, another reason why Paikidze is right – she should feel as comfortable as possible: sticking a scarf over her evidently well-kempt hair would disadvantage her). Nigel Short, as well as all his opponents, said that Kasparov was physically intimidating at the table, because he used to lean over it towards you. He could also express by body language when he felt he had you crushed: this does not help!

                But in chess, if you’re winning, you’re winning and no amount of BS from your opponent can alter that.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know why but I think of goofy comparisons to something like this. The next world drivers education convention for women will be held in Saudi Arabia.

  6. ploubere
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    To not boycott would be an endorsement of forced hijabs, and would be used as an argument that the law is not a problem. I wish I was good enough at chess that I could protest FIDE.

  7. steve oberski
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    “If you are deeply Christian why would you want to wear a symbol of Islamic oppression of women?”

    Especially since Christians already have their very own symbols of oppression of women.

    This is a recapitulation of The Outsider Test For Faith by John W. Loftus, to a Christian the hijab is a Muslim symbol of the oppression of women while at the same time Christian attempts to restrict a womans control over her own body are deemed right to life.

    • Gareth Price
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      That quote is from Nigel Short who has a history of contraversial and sometimes quite unpleasant remarks. A couple of years back he claimed that women’s brains aren’t hard-wired to play chess.

      • Will G
        Posted September 30, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        It seems you hold a pretty uncharitable view of Short. Even a charitable view would be that he has hitched his wagon to a tenuous evo-psych hypothesis while giving too little attention to sexism in the game. But here he is, now, standing firmly and forcefully against making women go along with what no male chess player would ever be asked to accept.

        Who do you side with here? GM Short, the problematic middle-aged man who stands with Paikidze, or GM Polgar, who dismisses her concerns about Iran?

        • Gareth Price
          Posted September 30, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          I am on the side of the oppressed women, as is Short. I probably misinterpreted his comment which I now realise was probably meant to be ironic. But sometimes it is hard to tell with Short.

          • Larry Smith
            Posted September 30, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            It is often hard to tell with Nigel Short if he’s yanking your chain, but typically he is not. I think he was sincere about his “women are inferior to men in chess” comment, and statistically his position is borne out (though of course there are many factors involved here).

            More than one person pointed out though with some measure of satisfaction that Short shortly thereafter lost a game to Hou Yifan, the current women’s world champion.

            Short also tweeted today that many other top players besides Nazi Paikidze (such as Pia Cramling) have objected to the hijab restriction.

            IMHO, I have found that Short’s intellect is such that just as Borges wrote about Oscar Wilde, he is almost always right.

            Finally, note that at the recently completed Baku Olympiad Short was stopped mid-game and asked to submit to a body search (electronic-based cheating is becoming a growing concern in chess tournaments). He refused, but I think he submitted to the search after the game. I think Jerry and Nigel would love to swap TSA and body search stories!

            • Will G
              Posted September 30, 2016 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

              Oh man, the Olympiad! You should see this video interview of him about that. I think he’s totally right about how inappropriate it was to do during a match. It may be the accent or the Britishness itself, but he didn’t seem to be as angry as he had right to be.

              I think saying he was being ironic when he talks about “men not women being hardwired for chess” is giving him too much credit. I remember him losing a few months ago to Indian GM Dronavalli Harika and tweeting something about this is what feminism needs, badasses like her.

              I cringed a bit. Sure, it’s fun when Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs, but respect shouldn’t depend on being able to beat the world’s best regularly. Still, Short was being gracious in his way. Feminists should see a potential ally in him.

      • Posted October 1, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        I suspect that Short may be right. The very need to have female-only tournaments suggests that top females may show relatively poor performance, compared to top males. This is similar to the situation in other sports where the biological difference is obvious.

    • Posted October 1, 2016 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      I also thought, why only “deeply Christian”, why is it presumed that Hindus or we atheists are OK with this symbol of Islamic oppression?

      (As for the “right to life”, it is not exclusive to Christians – Muslim societies also endorse it.)

  8. Heather Hastie
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    This is outrageous imo. They have a women’s division to encourage more women into chess, then they not only hold a major tournament in a country that treats women like second-class citizens, they mandate what the women can wear at that tournament.

    They have already held a tournament in Tripoli where apparently Jews were not allowed to take part, and now this. It’s absolutely outrageous!

    Like ploubere above, I would boycott this tournament if I was good enough to enter.

    Taking part in this cannot be considered outreach and support for dissident organisations within the country as long as the players are expected to submit to the dress code imposed by its theocratic government.

    Because of New Zealand’s place as a (the?!) leading rugby nation and the huge popularity of that sport in South Africa this idea of outreach has a long and complicated history here. There was a time when South Africa expected New Zealand to play rugby tests against them in their country and for us to select a whites-only team. There were times, to our shame, that we complied. That did nothing to support those oppressed in South Africa. When we refused to comply, government opponents and people of colour in general, loved it.

    Many thought we shouldn’t play them at all, and there were huge protests whenever they came to New Zealand during the apartheid era. Many (myself included) felt we shouldn’t host or play a team selected on racial lines. Unlike most protesters though, I did support sending teams to South Africa as long as we selected our team in the same way we normally would, which would inevitably mean multiple players of Maori and Pacific Island ancestry.

  9. Will G
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    The Guardian has published an article today in which a few Iranian women, one a player and also a couple of journalists, give their opinions:

    “It’s not right to call for a boycott. These games are important for women in Iran; it’s an opportunity for us to show our strength.”

    “I am firmly against the international community using the compulsory hijab as a means to put pressure and isolate Iran.”

    “If Iran can host this event, it will be a big step for us; it will help our women chess players and it will boost women in other sporting fields. It will pave the way for them, too.”

    “Calls for a boycott will only disappoint Iranian women and destroy their hopes”

    I am not a woman living under Islamic theocracy. I can understand how frustrating it can be to have your contact with the wider world impeded by what appears to be a collusion between well-meaning foreigners and your own oppressive government, but consider what’s being said here: The power lies in the hands of Nazi Paikidze and all the other foreign women. They are the ones saddled with the “choice” of playing in a country where they can be imprisoned for not wearing a hijab or being alone in a room with a male coach, or they can blame themselves for squashing the hopes and dreams of Iranian girls.

    To hell with that. It is unfair for them to expect Paikidze to knuckle under. They shouldn’t even want that from her. They know that what they’re living with is unacceptable. That Paikidze and others are saying so and acting on it validates that.

    They should be speaking out against their government for not making a reasonable exception to the purity laws to accommodate guests with different customs and beliefs. I wonder why they don’t…

    • Flemur
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      “It’s not right to call for a boycott. These games are important for women in Iran; it’s an opportunity for us to show our strength.”

      Or show your weakness.

      “I am firmly against the international community using the compulsory hijab as a means to put pressure and isolate Iran.”

      Iran isolates itself.

      “Calls for a boycott will only disappoint Iranian women and destroy their hopes”

      Apparently their hopes are that more women will be forced to wear a funny hat.

    • keith cook +/-
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      The first thing that comes to mind if these women are overtly critical is, some form of retribution and it might not be pleasant.
      The second thing would be that they (women) are already under this oppression and one that is not going anywhere anytime soon and have little to lose but a tournament… without having played one game.
      They also seem to think it would somehow weaken women’s rights within Iran to play board games or sport, not anything to do with religious oppression and misogyny.
      And perhaps for them they’re right, anything is better than nothing.

      Without the compulsory hijab and at the risk of being stereotypical.
      “Mohammad! I’m off to watch the chess tournament”
      What would be Mo’s reply to that?
      Hmmm… a rock and a hard place comes to mind.

  10. Wildhog
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to play devil’s advocate, but if a female chess player from a culture where women go topless was to come to a chess match in the USA, she would be required to wear a shirt while here, yes?

    • Flemur
      Posted September 30, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Bosoms were the first thing to occur to me also, as usual.

      Maybe a “bald wig” and a wet t-shirt would be a good combination.

      Obviously hiding secondary sex characteristics is oppressive and uncivilized if other cultures do it.

      • Posted October 1, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        But hair is hardly a secondary sex characteristic. Many males also have it, esp. in their young years.

    • Posted October 1, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      This is why the right thing was not to hold the event there, rather than to place it there and insist on exception from the law.

  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I wonder** who will be the first regressive leftist to get it spectacularly worng* and tweet “Nazi opposes hijab!”

    * or, at least, technically-accurate-but-highly-misleading

    ** I can’t help it, my brain is wired that way. Subversive, like.

    I’m sure, in her native country, ‘Nazi’ is a perfectly respectable name. Just one of those weird cultural anomalies you get from time to time. I think, kudos to her for not changing it.

    P.S. FIDE are idiots. At least it’s just a scarf, not a black sack.

    • Posted September 30, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Paikidze is a Yank! I suspect her roots are Georgian, judging by the first part of her surname. One hopes her first name is pronounced ‘Narzee’ rather like Churchill peculiarly said the same.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 30, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        “Paikidze is a Yank!”

        Yeah, that occurred to me immediately after I said ‘native country’, but equally obviously with a name like that she isn’t from an old American family. I had no idea where her family might have originated – maybe Georgia as you suggest.

        I didn’t word that particularly well, admittedly.


    • Posted September 30, 2016 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

      Considering that she moved to the US a few years ago, there is a native country, and the name Nazi is a perfectly respectable name there.
      (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazí_Paikidze). It’s pronounced as Nah-zee, and I have to wonder why she hadn’t changed it to a less loaded transcription like “Nazee”.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 1, 2016 at 1:52 am | Permalink

        ‘I have to wonder why she hadn’t changed it to a less loaded transcription like “Nazee”.’

        Maybe because it’s her name and she doesn’t feel obliged to cater to other peoples’ prejudices. Like, wearing hijabs.


        • Posted October 1, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

          Until she moved here, her name wasn’t technically “Nazi”, it was spelled with Cyrillic alphabet letters, then with Georgian alphabet letters, and “Nazi” became the transcription of her name she was given when she received her travel documents from her local authorities years later. She likely had no choice in how her name would be transcibed either. However, an immigrant receiving the US citizenship gets an opportunity to change their name, and having gone through the process myself, and knowing a lot of other people who had, I know that changing one version of the transcription of the name into the Latin alphabet to another is relatively common.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 1, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

            Well, for whatever reason, she kept it.

            I know I made a smart-alecky comment on it (as is my right), but it’s absolutely her right to keep her name.


        • Posted October 1, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          “Maybe because it’s her name and she doesn’t feel obliged to cater to other peoples’ prejudices.”
          It’s hardly predjudice (preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience) to have a bad opinion of the word nazi, it’s perfectly reasonable.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 1, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            Only in some societies. For a parallel, check out ‘swastika’ on Wikipedia.


            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted October 1, 2016 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

              I was maybe a bit cryptic there. My point being, would you go to e.g. India and tell them their millenia-old ‘good luck’ symbol which they still use, is suddenly unacceptable?


            • Posted October 1, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

              “Only in some societies. For a parallel, check out ‘swastika’ on Wikipedia.”

              I don’t get the point, if you’re trying to make one. Like with the word Nazi, it’s also not unreasonable to have a bad opinion of a swastika. I would be being prejudiced if I ran away from someone heading in my direction aiming a gun at me, even if his reason is to shoot the guy behind me who’s about to stab me. :p

              • Posted October 1, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

                *wouldn’t be that is, if a ran….

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted October 1, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

                My point, which I didn’t make very well, was that it is, in my opinion, culturally arrogant to assume that ones own cultural mores or prejudices are universal. (Hence my illustration of the swastika which, in most of the world for milennia, was a ‘good luck’ symbol and in much, possibly most, of the world still is).

                To come back to the case in point, it’s her name, she’s absolutely entitled to use it. It would be naive of her to assume that it might not occasionally cause comment, (I’m sure she doesn’t), but it would be overbearing to demand that she change it. As overbearing as making her wear a hijab.


  12. Posted September 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    If the tournament goes ahead in Iran then the male players could protest by wearing hijabs.

  13. J. Quinton
    Posted September 30, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    This reminds me of the racism/segregation that diplomats from Africa faced when traveling to the USA on official business prior to the civil rights movement.

  14. Posted October 1, 2016 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Maybe they could come to a sensible compromise like wearing a hijab adorned with Stars of David or images of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  15. Mike De Fleuriot
    Posted October 1, 2016 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    if you have a problem with rowing the boat, then do not get on the boat.

  16. Mike
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    You don’t have to be “deeply Christian” to be offended by being forced to wear the Hijab, they should all boycott the tournament, its about time the World in general started kicking back against these medieval Regimes.

  17. Posted October 3, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Since “checkmate” comes (apparently) from the classical Persian “shah mat”, maybe we can change the target for some other authoritarian figure …

  18. Posted October 5, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Iran is the most sexist country! Man I hate Iranians freaking sexist people need to rot in hell

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 6, 2016 at 3:02 am | Permalink

      I’m sure Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan will be mightily relieved to hear that.


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