The reigning US Chess Champion has decided not to attend the world championship in Iran because she’d be forced to wear a hijab.
“I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression. Even if it means missing one of the most important competitions of my career,” Nazi Paikidze said in an interview with the founder of My Stealthy Freedom.
Susan Polgar, who chairs the women’s committee of the international chess governing body has tried to silence Paikidze by telling her to keep her opinions off Twitter and to take it up with FIDE and WOM.
Paikdze responded by saying, “I already did. Thanks to Twitter this issue got a lot of attention as well.”
“Not the right position to insult me and members of @WOMChess when we are trying to help you,” Polgar shot back.
“Nothing of what I said was a personal insult/attack to anyone but FIDE’s decision,” the young chess champion responded, showing no fear.
In an Instagram post, Paikdze made her decision very clear. “This is a post for those who don’t understand why I am boycotting FIDE’s decision. I think it’s unacceptable to host a WOMEN’S World Championship in a place where women do not have basic fundamental rights and are treated as second-class citizens. For those saying that I don’t know anything about Iran: I have received the most support and gratitude from the people of Iran, who are facing this situation every day. Thank you MyStealthyFreedom for sharing my interview.”
Oddly, Paikdze posted this contradictory statement:
Why was the statement even necessary if she, quote, “received the most support and gratitude from the people of Iran.”
More from CNN: Why Iran?
Iran was the only country which made a proposal to host the event, a World Chess Federation (FIDE) spokeswoman told CNN in a statement.She added that since there were no objections from any of the other 150 national chess federations — including the US — FIDE’s General Assembly accepted the proposal.
Meanwhile former Pan American champion Carla Heredia — who did not qualify for the Tehran tournament — also called for the 64 women who are playing there to protest against the hijab rule.
Heredia, originally from Ecuador and now living in Texas, said: “This is not only about 64 players, this is a world issue, a women’s rights issue. That’s why I’m speaking up. Sports should be free of this type of discrimination.”