In Azerbaijan

To clear the record, I am Jewish and I have never supported the Iranian regime. Most of the world, including me, strongly denounce the extremists of all religions. However, we cannot simply punish individuals who are themselves victims of these extremists without carefully learning all the facts and hearing their sides.

What I am asking is for people to take their time and read the opposing views from different female players. We have now heard from some players who qualified for the upcoming Women’s World Championship. One demanded boycott while the other pleaded for the event to go on.

The Commission for Women’s Chess (WOM) has not taken any official position. We are actively talking to female players who qualified for the upcoming Women’s World Championship for their feedback.

WOM was NOT involved in the bidding process, nor were we involved in the process to award the bid. We had no vote. I personally found out about it after the fact. The delegates from 159 countries were in Baku at the General Assembly. They were told of this bid, and it was their place to voice their objections or concerns. None of the 159 delegates representing their countries, including the United States, objected.

Therefore, everyone who questions the decision to award the Women’s World Championship to the Iranian Chess Federation should direct their inquiries to these delegates, including the US which represents Nazi Paikidze who demanded for a boycott.

It is very unfortunate that countless people do not know the facts or details used various social media to attack, demean, insult, and threaten members of WOM when we have absolutely nothing to do with it. Our job is to find out the facts, listen to views and opinions of all parties, then try to come up with what is best for women’s chess worldwide. We simply cannot take a rushed judgement without looking at the whole picture, especially when this can potentially harm many female chess players.

I was recently asked by the Telegraph in the UK about the upcoming Women’s World Championship being in Iran and women wearing head scarf (hijab) during competition. Below is my general response. I never once said I supported Iran, accept the event location, or asked any woman to do anything against their beliefs. The Telegraph took what I said and added things I never said. Unfortunately, many other media simply copied and paste the lies and it became an Avalanche of misinformation. This, for example, is a complete fabrication by the Telegraph:
“Fide’s Commission for Women’s Chess, meanwhile, called on participants to respect “cultural differences” and accept the regulations.”
I demand a retraction from the Telegraph for their misinformation, distortion, and apologize to everyone at the Commission for Women’s Chess (WOM).
“This is my personal opinion. I have traveled to nearly 60 countries. When I visited different places with different cultures, I like to show my respect by dressing up in their traditional style of clothing (enclosed are a few examples of my trips to India, Vietnam and Azerbaijan, etc.). No one asked me to do it. I just do it out of respect. {I clearly never said anything about Iran}
I personally would have no issues with wearing a head scarf (hijab) as long as it is the same to all players {it means if everyone agrees to do it then I have no problem with it. I never said that all women should or must wear it}. I believe the organizers provided beautiful choices for past participants of Women’s Grand Prix. 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 {This is not my opinion. This is simply the fact from speaking to other women who played at the Women’s Grand Prix which was held in Iran earlier this year}.
If any player has a problem with it, she can and should voice her opinion to WOM (Commission for Women’s Chess) or FIDE and we can address it in our next meeting.” {And here I clearly encouraged women to speak up if they have a problem with it. I want them to speak up if they are against it and I never asked them to be silenced.}
Again, total shame on the Telegraph to lie about my position as well as WOM.
In Vietnam
In Chennai
In India
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