Girl, 12, eliminated from chess tournament over “improper” and “seductive” dress

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Anna Brech
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A 12-year-old girl was forced to withdraw from a chess championship in Malaysia, after the tournament director deemed her dress to be “seductive” and “a temptation from a certain angle far, far away”.

The unnamed young competitor was halfway through a round at the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017, held in the southwest city of Putrajaya, when she was informed by one of the judges that her dress was “improper” and “violated the dress code of the tournament”.

The incident last week was revealed by the girl’s chess coach Kaushal Khandhar, who posted an outraged message on Facebook describing what had happened and demanding an apology from the tournament director.

He said his “bright young” student, who had shown “enormous potential” in chess, was left  “extremely disturbed and embarrassed” by the upset.

Khandhar shared a photo of the apparently offensive dress in question, without showing his student’s face:

Khandhar said officials at the event told the girl's mother to buy another “long slack” before the start of the next round of the competition the following day.

But the shops were closed by the time the instruction was given, meaning the girl was forced to withdraw from the contest.

She lost her registration fees and travel costs, along with being left feeling “harassed and humiliated” by the furore.

“I have been playing chess in Malaysia for almost two decades and I have never heard this type of issue ever in any tournaments in Malaysia,” wrote Khandhar. “This should be the first and last time this kind of issue ever appears, I or anyone of us should never accept this in our Chess Community.”

He added that unless the tournament director publicly apologised, he and the family involved would seek legal action over the incident.

Fellow community members reacted with disbelief to Khandhar’s post, expressing anger over the sexualisation of her outfit, and the unjust treatment she received as a result.

“What gives him [the tournament director] the right to bar an innocent 12-year-old girl from competing in a chess game?” wrote one person.

“Anyone who saw that dress on a child and felt ‘seduced’ is a damn pervert, and the shame is his, not hers,” another wrote.

“All the best to the girl and her mother. I can only hope they feel the support from every decent-thinking person,” someone else added.

Malaysia’s National Scholastic Chess Championship has yet to respond to the incident.

Images: Facebook and iStock

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.