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Dress for Chess – A female’s choice?

POSTED ON January 26th  - POSTED IN All

As a woman who loves and plays chess for fun, I am about to embark on a controversial issue. In general, and in my opinion, I have seen some photos of women chess players who were dressed too sexy at a competition. How a woman dresses for a professional chess tournament or even a business meeting is relevant. Should there be specific rules on what to wear – maybe. Whether you are male or female, chess has a rather sophisticated and intellectual message to the world that should be respected. There simply is a place and time for everything. For example, wearing a miniskirt and top that is exposing lots of cleavage should be worn any other time but not for a chess tournament, a job interview, or a business meeting. The same goes for the men. Men should be mindful of what they wear to tournaments as well. No stinky shirts, baseball caps, holes in pants or sneakers either. Now, I am referring to a certain type of sexy look that is simply inappropriate and is more suitable for other circumstances – like going to a club. If you are a female chess competitor then you should consider that what you are wearing may be inappropriate and just too sexy for the occasion. All I am saying is to be mindful of what you are wearing and be comfortable. Yes, it’s your choice, but don’t go over board.

Consequently, why should what women wear to a chess tournament matter to anyone or be an issue? Well, the reason may be because it is a direct distraction to your opponent and others. Of course, don’t get me wrong, we, as women, have the right to wear whatever we want — whenever we want, but we still have an obligation to represent ourselves with a respectable appearance in public. Depending on the occasion, what you may perceive as comfortable and acceptable may just be observed as improper, tasteless, or unprofessional. 

European chess officials do not find it favorable for a woman chess competitor to wear a tight-fitting dress with a very low neckline because they consider this to be one way to distract your opponent. As a result of some women who turned up dressed as if they were going to the beach and provoked comments among the men, in March 2012, the European Chess Union introduced a dress code to ensure the competition maintains its modesty. More particularly, female players must wear skirts that are no shorter than four inches above the knee and only the first and second buttons on a top may be opened, to hide cleavage. Note that these rules also include provisions for men and spectators. 

Whether or not we as females find these respective dress codes to be fair is not the point. Obviously, what matters is what is worn and what is shown or revealed. Perhaps, without rules and regulations, who knows what scandalous revealing outfits will be worn just to get attention and/or unintentionally distract opponents. Any thoughts? – Wendy Oliveras

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