Renowned Ukrainian chess grandmaster Anna Muzychuk has refused to take part in the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Saudi Arabia this year due to restrictions on the rights of women in the country.
“Despite the record prize fund, I am not going to play in Riyadh, [which] means losing two world champion titles,” the chess player, who won the Women's World Blitz Chess Championship in 2014 and 2016, wrote on her Facebook page on November 11.
“To risk your life, to wear an abaya all the time? Everything has its limits and headscarves in Iran was more than enough,” she added, referring to the 2017 Women’s World Chess Championship, which took place in Tehran in February and March.
Muzychuk came in second during the world championship, where she had to wear a headscarf. Her sister Maria, a fellow chess player and the 2015 Women’s World Chess Champion, boycotted the tournament.
“I decided to opt out because it’s absolutely obvious that Iran is not a suitable country for such a prestigious competition,” Maria Muzychuk told Ukrainian news site Censor.net on January 6. “It’s unacceptable that those female chess players who refused to go to Iran, refused to wear a hijab, lose their right to participate in a world championship.”
/By Maria Romanenko