Chess federation bans trans women from international top-level female tournaments

The International Chess Federation has passed down new regulations preventing trans women from competing in top-level female events.

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has passed down new regulations preventing trans women from competing in competitive tournaments.
Image Source: The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has passed down new regulations preventing trans women from competing in competitive tournaments.

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has announced that it will no longer allow trans women to compete in top-level female tournaments. 

According to the decision, sent down by FIDE on August 14, trans women have “no right” to compete in female chess events “until further notice.” Decisions to overturn the new policy could take up to two years.

“Such decisions should be based on further analysis and shall be taken by the FIDE council at the earliest possible time, but no longer than within [a two-year] period,” the new policy says. 

Under the FIDE decision, players who have recently come out as transgender will be temporarily placed in an “open section”. The chess regulator provided no statement on its reasoning for the move, but did confirm that these rules will apply to all competitions run by FIDE and its associated organisations. 

Trans men are also affected by FIDE’s new policy. Reportedly, trans men will be stripped of any and all chess titles they achieved pre-transition, unless, the regulator added: “The person changes the gender back to a woman and can prove the ownership of the respective FIDE ID that holds the title.” 


The new policy will also make it nearly impossible for transgender chess competitors to apply for a new FIDE ID number (FIN), a document that is required for players to participate in competitive chess tournaments. 

FINs recognising a new gender identity will not be available unless applicants have been approved by a national rating officer under the new regulations. 

“If the national rating officer [refuses] to approve the gender change, the player may appeal to FIDE [qualifications commission]. FIDE QC can also cancel the decision of the national rating officer to change the gender of the player if there is no sufficient evidence of such change.”

Yosha Iglesias, a French chess coach who holds a FIDE Master title and identifies as a trans woman, spoke out against the chess regulator’s decision in a social media post on Tuesday.

“Can someone tell me what qualifies as an official FIDE event?” Iglesias asked. “Will I be allowed to play the French Championship in three days? The European Club Cup in September?”


Other X (formerly Twitter) users responded to FIDE, decrying the seemingly unjustified decision to move forward with this new policy. One person, commenting to the news, wrote: “These are dark days.”

Chess players and spectators alike are justified in their confusion following the chess regulator’s decision, especially considering that the FIDE Ethics and Disciplinary Code, published in 2022, states in section 6.6, that the governing body does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of “race, gender, ethnic origin, colour, culture, religion, political opinion, marital status, sexual orientation or any unfair or other irrelevant factor, except as permitted by law.”

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