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1811, 17 Aug 23

FIDE Requires that Only Women Compete in Women’s Chess


GENEVA — The world’s top chess federation has ruled that transgender women cannot compete in its official events for women until its officials make an assessment of gender change.


The decision by the Switzerland-based federation FIDE, published on Monday, has drawn criticism from advocacy groups and supporters of transgender rights.


FIDE said it and its member federations increasingly have received recognition requests from players who identify as transgender, and that the participation of transgender women would depend on an analysis of individual cases that could take up to two years.


“Change of gender is a change that has a significant impact on a player’s status and future eligibility to tournaments, therefore it can only be made if there is a relevant proof of the change provided,” the federation said.


“In the event that the gender was changed from a male to a female the player has no right to participate in official FIDE events for women until further FIDE’s decision is made,” it said.


1811, 17 August 2023


  1. Mar

    So, I’m wondering if they are saying that women are not as smart as men in chess?
    It’s the right response, but their response kind of says that women cannot compete with men where there is nothing physical going on.

  2. jsr

    The “variability hypothesis” is that IQ among men is more variable than among women, while having similar mean IQs. If so, this means that more men will be found on the high IQ and low IQ part of the distribution than women. If this holds true for chess ability, it could justify keeping transgender women out of women’s competitions.

    Like all science, there is evidence for and against this hypothesis. Like most science about humans, it’s also controversial. Opinions about its validity seem to range from those who deny that such a thing could be true, while others hold that it’s obvious.

  3. Owen

    I don’t think, at least I didn’t interpret, the move to be a statement about the inate abilities of either gender. I took it as just affirming that if there is a women only tournament, then only women should compete. Otherwise, why even have a women’s league? It does seem pointless to have men’s and women’s chess, but if they have it, then they should enforce the distinction.

  4. jsr

    Well, why have a women’s league if there were no differences between men and women?
    FIDE’s rating for the top ranked woman is 2628. That won’t quite make the top 100 in the open ratings (all genders).

  5. Jason

    FIDE opens with Queen’s Gambit. The collective gasp from the members has rattled the world into a new orbit.

  6. Tuerqas

    I think the differences in ratings is simply participation quantity. When you have several million male chess players and and maybe a few hundred thousand female chess players, competition will be higher among males. If the numbers were reversed, I would fully expect the competition and rankings would be higher for women. When I played chess in HS and College, I saw none at the HS level and remember 3 at the College level. Never played one competitively. So a man feeling like a woman, that may have lost miserably against men, may still be quite competitive in a women’s only bracket.

    If there were shopping competitions, men would be at a severe disadvantage.

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