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Women Told To Cover Their Cleavage During Chess Tournament

Today in things that make us scream incoherently

The world can be an annoying place for women. It’s a sad state of affairs to be sure, but most of us have come to expect crude comments will be made toward us at least one point (if not countless) in our lives but there’s one place I never expected cat-calls would be a problem – a chess match. Turns out, I was very wrong. The European Women’s Championship in Turkey has installed new rules that ban cleavage. Part of the reason? To limit vulgar comments from those watching the matches. I don’t even… 

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According to the new rules, women chess players in the tournament may only leave two buttons open on their blouse.

“I heard many comments from spectators and coaches,” Sava Stoisavljevic, the European Chess Union General Secretary, told Chessbase News. “There is dress code in many different sports, and we decided to establish our rules as well.”

Dress codes for sports I can understand, dress codes for women players because spectators are being rude? That I do not understand. How about instead of policing the players for doing nothing wrong, you police the viewers and toss them out of the audience instead?

Short skirts are apparently also an issue but Stoisavljevis isn’t making rules for that yet. “It’s nice to see chess players with short skirts – they are very pretty girls. But I believe there should still be some limit,” she said. Although, “There are several special rules in some companies which put restrictions on the length of skirts and dresses.”

Players who are in violation of the new rules will receive several verbal and written warnings before being forced to leave the competition if they still refuse to comply. Stoisavljevis said they had noticed a lot of improper clothing during tournaments and decided something needed to be done. She reiterated that players certainly looked attractive in the more revealed outfits but that it might be counterintuitive.

“I have to admit that the players I saw here with short skirts looked very nice. So, in a way they are making chess more attractive for spectators,” she said.  “On the other hand for many years I’ve been in the chess world as a player, an arbiter, etc. Once, when I was working as an arbiter, I warned one player, even though there were no any rules at that time, because she kept coming to the playing hall dressed like someone who was going to the beach. I think it’s good that we have started to do something with dress code, and it’s very important for the image of chess.”

She also mentioned that the new dress code would be more useful during men’s tournaments. “In general, women take care about their looks and what they wear. There is not a lot of trouble with women – and in fact and I’m sure there will be no trouble at all in the future as well. With men the situation is a little bit different.”

Stoisavljevis says that they looked to other organizations when deciding on the new rules, which also include banning of hats except for religious reasons. “This is the first European tournament where we are applying those regulations. I was here during three rounds and I’ve got an impression that we have to work much more on those regulations.”

The interviewer also asked whether or not the closed button rule was to help prevent men from being distracted when playing opposite women. “It’s a funny question and I don’t think it can be taken seriously,” she said. “We didn’t think about that while making the regulations.”

In large part, it seems as if the rules are just to match up the European Chess Union with other competitions but the fact that audience reactions come into play at all is ludicrous. Add in the, somewhat interesting logo for the championship’s website , as well as the secretary’s comments about how womens’ appearance can help chess, and you’ll see their messages aren’t entirely solid.

What do you think? Do you consider chess a sport and if so, should there be dress codes?

(via NY Daily News)

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Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."

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