Official statement re: Telegraph article.
The article appearing in the Telegraph on 29 September concerning the decision of FIDE to award the Women’s World Chess Championship to Iran both quoted me in a way that seriously misrepresented my views, and gave a misleading impression of my position with regard to the Federation which implied that the decision as to venue had received my endorsement. In consequence I have received thousands of communications, most of which have been extremely unpleasant. I would like to put the matter straight.
I am Co-Chair of the FIDE Women’s Commission, a body set up to promote women’s participation in chess to increase the number of female players, trainers and arbiters, but neither I nor the commission have any voting rights with regard to the venue of the Women’s World Championships or any other matter. I was not consulted and did not endorse the choice of Iran as the venue for the Championships. Contrary to the impression given by the article I have never said I support FIDE’s decision and I certainly have not demanded that all participants respect Iranian culture and wear hijabs. I do suggest that people not act hastily before the full rules and conditions of the event have been published, I would urge people to be respectful of others no matter what side of the argument they represent, and I support a player’s right to boycott the event just as much as I support their right to take part should they so choose.
This is clearly a very contentious issue and I sincerely hope that matters can be resolved in a way that will promote understanding rather than discord and will be in the best interest of the Women’s World Championship and chess in general.
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– GM Susan Polgar