International chess federation FIDE: a trans woman "has no right to participate in official FIDE events for women" (

The international chess federation known as FIDE has published new rules that state that a person whose "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".

The new rules introduce the following changes:

  • Trans women cannot participate in the women's category unless they are explicitly allowed in a case-by-case process that can take up to two years.
  • Trans men will be stripped of their titles achieved before their transition while trans women will retain their titles achieved before their transition.
  • In case a trans person is allowed to participate, their trans condition will be added to their files and communicated to events organizers.
chuso avatar

Some people are questioning why there are gender-specific categories in chess.

That's a good question and my understanding is that there is only a female category and then the general one where both men and women can participate. The female one seems to have been created to encourage the participation of women due to the general one being monopolized by men.

You may agree or not with that reasoning and I am not trying to take any stance on it, just trying to answer the questions on why they created a gender-specific category in the first place.

I am not really into chess competitions and my understanding of this point is based on explanations I saw from others elsewhere, so I may be wrong.


I appreciate you.

ShaunaTheDead avatar

Yeah, these categories are not a reflection of physical (or in this case mental abilities) but to give women a chance to shine in a mostly male dominated field. The problem is that when one side has bias in it's favor, or is simply more prevalent in the competition, they get way over-represented and it discourages people from the other side(s) to join in since it seem futile.

I think maybe a good way to get rid of this problem is for competition to feature more categories. In chess, for example, you could have categories and tournaments like youngest, newest to the game, underdogs, etc. which are more likely to feature a variety of players.


Thank you very much. This information certainly helps clarify the situation.


Take a wild guess at who the President of FIDE is, if you’re wondering why and it’ll make sense

Just kidding, no need to guess, here you go:


Fucking Dorkovich


Still doesn’t make sense to me, honestly. Why is he like this?


FIDE have been little more than mobsters for years. I wish I could say I’m surprised.

whiskeypickle, avatar

as no logical sense can possibly be made of this, the only rational conclusion is:

cruelty is the point.

UngodlyAudrey, avatar

I’m going to lock this thread. There’s a lot of the same old tired arguments about trans women in women’s sports, and quite frankly, we have been getting a lot of reports on this. Especially now that it’s mostly run its course, it’s not really worth it to keep it open.


Edit: In this comment I try to rationalize FIDE’s decision, but in my other replies I come to the conclusion that it hurts transgender people much more than it helps women as a group.

The “open” tournament is where the best chess player among men, women, both, neither, and everything under the sun can compete. In my opinion, everything outside of that the “who’s the best X” is based on arbitrary conditions of what qualifies as X, and doesn’t reflect on whether people in group X are inherent any better or worse than anyone outside that limited group.

Women and members of LGBTQ+ should be encouraged to join the chess world as it’s not a physical sport and anyone can become the best, so these rules support that. There should be a trans-person league as well if there’s sufficient interest, but FIDE has every right to make rules to limit who enters the “woman” tournament, without needing to imply that men are inherently better or worse than women at chess.

I absolutely understand that this sounds like a TERF-y line of argument even though I strongly believe trans women ARE women and vice versa, there are TERFs among women who wouldn’t want to take up chess because the space is so dominated by male players by the numbers. The “case-by-case” view is arbitrary to me which I’d like to see a more transparent process, but I think at the end of the day FIDE can disqualify anyone out of any tournament for any reason and this at least provides an avenue for trans women to potentially participate. Rule 4.1 that trans men lose their titles of “best woman” is consistent with the idea that trans men are men, because post-transition they shouldn’t be considered women anymore, by my understanding.

Anyways, I don’t mean to barge in to blindly spout transphobic views. In the spirit of healthy discussion I welcome people to disagree with me and give me insight on how FIDE can balance being more inclusive while promoting all genders to participate in chess.

UngodlyAudrey, avatar

Yes, this does sound very TERF-y. I have gotten three reports on this already in just ten minutes. FIDE’s ruling others us for no damn reason. Their argument boils down to “AMAB people tend to have more practice at chess”, which is a ridiculous reason to exclude us for.


I’ve thought about it for a bit, see my other reply to @EsteeBestee.

I’ve ultimately come to the conclusion that really these rules are to protect the comfort of TERFs, and to be the most inclusive, FIDE shouldn’t concern themselves on what TERFs think a “real woman” should be like.

I’ve made an honest attempt to find a rationale that supports inclusivity in FIDE’s decision but after some consideration I realize it weighs much more against transgender rights than it supports women’s rights.


And like… I kind of get where you were coming from, since certain media does its best to say that trans women are “invading” women’s spaces or that trans women are inherently “unfair” when compared to cis women, so even if you don’t buy into that stuff specifically, it can still be somewhat pervasive, especially since it isn’t always hate-media spreading that. There’s always a sort of background noise about how trans people are bad in some way, so it can be hard to have fully resolved thoughts on the subject.

The only issues I’ve personally seen relating to trans women in women’s spaces is if a terf loses their shit, and usually in that case, the other cis women lose their shit at the terf. At least in my own life, the overwhelming majority of cis women seem to have no problem with trans women existing in women’s spaces (where I am, at least, which is an admittedly progressive area) and I’ve never really seen a trans woman causing issues, personally, even in sport (I know there were some high level cases in the last few years, but that’s like less than 1% of cases, most trans women in sport are just… women… playing sports). I guess that’s why I’m so headstrong and forward on the topic, since media says all this and that about trans people and hardly none of it has been true in my own life. I know others’ personal experiences will be different than mine, but I’m just really sick of seeing hate directed at minorities who just want to exist (you were not directing hate, I mean the FIDE ruling, you were being pretty darn reasonable, even if you initially disagreed with me).

UngodlyAudrey, avatar

I appreciate that you were able to adjust your stance given further evidence and admit that you were initially misguided. Not everyone can do that. Good on you! :)


The FIDE’s ruling on trans men shows they “think trans men are men” (they probably don’t actually, but that’s what the ruling implies), yet they then ban trans women from women’s competitions, meaning they don’t think trans women are women, by implication. This ruling isn’t consistent, isn’t fair, nor does it actually accomplish anything besides driving out a minority group who already have a tough enough time just existing in the first place. It’s also not even fair to trans men to strip their titles, as they likely won those titles when they didn’t know they were a man.

The ruling here is in no way reasonable, IMO. It exists to hurt people and does nothing else. Trans women need women’s spaces just as much as cis women do and banning trans women from women’s spaces does not “protect the women” like some people cite for rulings like this, it just further alienates trans people. If someone gets bent out of shape because a trans person exists in the same space as them, they can go fuck themselves, that’s their problem, not a trans person’s problem.

I heavily disagree with you saying “and this at least provides an avenue for trans women to potentially participate” considering before this ruling, trans women could already play in both women’s tournaments and open tournaments and now are banned from women’s tournaments. It’s the opposite of being inclusive. If you’re a trans woman, would you want to go play chess if you’re specifically told that you can’t play in women’s only spaces? No, you probably wouldn’t even start. This new ruling specifically exists to discourage trans women from competing by othering them and saying they aren’t woman enough to go play with the other women.

The best way for the FIDE to be inclusive is to continue just having open and women’s spaces as usual and not fuck with trans people’s ability to exist in spaces consistent with their gender. There were no problems being caused before, this ruling isn’t fixing anything, it’s just hurting people.


If you’re a trans woman, would you want to go play chess if you’re specifically told that you can’t play in women’s only spaces? No, you probably wouldn’t even start.

Which is ironic, because isn’t this kind of the same reasoning for creating women’s tournaments in the first place? To provide a safe space for women away from the “boy’s club” mentality that turned women off from pursuing chess?


I absolutely get your point but I have to still think about it a little. Say we removed the arbitrariness of the judgement panel process, allowing trans women to compete unconditionally in the women’s competition. Would the rule to strip trans men’s titles be considered fair and equal treatment in that case?

Now absolutely this is a reductive approach which doesn’t even take NB etc. into account for inclusivity.

On second thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that TERFs can be TERFs, and if they don’t want to play chess because a trans person could be among them, screw them, they can go elsewhere. So you’re right, FIDE needn’t concern themselves with what TERFs think what a “real woman” should be.

Thank you for your response and letting me walk through this.




See, I can see the arguments for this for like physical sports. And to be clear I fully support trans people but I can understand how being born male can give you certain advantages in physical sports that make it unfair towards women who were born female. I don’t know the right answer for how to handle it, but I can see how the complaints make sense.

But fucking chess? Come on what the hell advantage do people amab have over cis women in chess? This is bigotry pure and simple.


Their motivation essentially boils down to “We have to separate them to protect women from the terrifying power of the superior male intellect”.


might as well just open the female only tournament to all genders, fuck bi genderization


The reason for gendered distinctions in chess is entirely social, ostensibly because boys are pushed toward chess more than girls. This ruling is entirely bizarre, imo


Other reasonable suggestions have been offered for the existence of the women’s competition.

But honestly, I have no clue to what degree women players were involved in this decision.

bermuda, avatar

The idea (and I’m not defending it here necessarily, just stating FIDE’s reasoning) is to offer a safe space for women to compete professionally at the game. There’s a huge “boy’s club” problem in chess and many of some of the best male players in the world are notoriously sexist. Women who have participated in the mainline tournaments in the past have complained of sexism. Garry Kasparov even notoriously claimed one woman was cheating after she bested him.

Chess isn’t also gendered both ways. There’s women’s tournaments and women’s titles, but not a men’s tournament. Men participate in an “everybody” tournament that women are welcome to join.

Think of it like the women’s only carriages in trains in some countries. Only women can go in those carriages, but women can go in the other carriages if they want to.


Yeah but that’s dumb (I know you aren’t agreeing with it) because trans women are women. It’s not like being in swimming where having gone through puberty as a male gives you an unfair advantage.

bermuda, avatar

I’m not really trying to comment on the trans part of the post even though that’s the main thing. I just wanted to provide clarity on why the gender “separation” exists within FIDE rules. A lot of people seem to automatically think that FIDE is assuming there’s a clear gender advantage when it’s really just making space for women to play without judgment.

ada, avatar

It’s not like being in swimming where having gone through puberty as a male gives you an unfair advantage.

Except for the bit where it doesn’t (assuming you are on feminising HRT)…



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  • ada, avatar

    blatantly lying

    You may want to take another look at beehaw’s FAQ, specifically the bit on the spirit of the rules…


    Go look up the performance of MtF swimmers before and after their transition rather than spouting pseudoscience.


    You mean like division 1 champion lia Thomas?

    UngodlyAudrey, avatar

    Yeah, that’s like, one example. Trans women aren’t exactly setting the athletic world on fire.

    UngodlyAudrey, avatar

    Be(e) nice. Don’t accuse someone of lying because they said something you don’t agree with.



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  • UngodlyAudrey, avatar

    Trans women have less testosterone than cis women, to the point where if they want to have some in their system they have to take progesterone.

    So, basically, you’re just making stuff up.


    The estrogen treatment regimens used in transgender women aim to lower testosterone levels to within the female range (<1 nmol/L) [52]. However, hormone therapy alone has met limited success in suppressing testosterone levels, with many transgender women failing to achieve the desired level. In recent studies of transgender women, one quartile failed to achieve any significant suppression [53] and one-third failed to suppress testosterone levels despite achieving desired estradiol levels [54]. Another study reported that only 49% of transgender women showed suppressed testosterone concentrations after 6 months or more of estrogen with the addition of antiandrogen therapy [55]. Notably, Jarin and colleagues show that testosterone levels in transgender women decreased significantly from former male levels, however nearly all participants maintained their testosterone levels above the female range [56]. Whether elite transwoman athletes experience the same difficulties in suppressing testosterone levels with estrogen therapy has not been reported.

    No, I’m really not making things up. This is actual scientific fact.


    In pre-op trans women. In post-op trans women the testosterone drops to zero … the IOC requires women to be post-op in order to compete, for example.

    So your “actual scientific fact” is a nicely cherry-picked piece of BS.


    The IOC is not the only body governing inclusion in sports, and the IOC has not required surgery at all since 2015. But sure I’m the one saying bs.

    Gaywallet, avatar

    Just going to leave a comment here because it’s the highest up comment chain where you’re cherry picking a single scientific article and ignoring the complexity of the problem. There’s a few issues with what you’re doing and I don’t really have time to write up an entire guide as to why this isn’t nice, but I’m just going to leave the following points:

    • This is the LGBTQ+ community, please chill with the antagonism. If you want to make a point about whether testosterone provides an advantage to individuals, you’re welcome to do so, however it needs to be done with caution if you’re not a medical professional capable of examining a complicated question and exert good faith to fully investigate the issue at hand.
    • To articulate this point, a cursory google of the issue at hand here ‘trans women in sports’ revealed the following 4 top results from vaguely reputable/scientific resources: 1 2 3 4. All four of these articles touch on a lot more than just testosterone levels contributing to performance in sports.
    • A cursory review of the regulating bodies themselves would reveal poor control over who is allowed to compete. There’s no discussion about this present in your point.
    • A cursory review of the effects of testosterone on performance in athletes would might reveal any of the following studies: 1 2 3 4. The idea that testosterone is correlated with a positive performance from male athletes is a simplistic and flawed one. Young boys pre-puberty outperform young girls showing a more complicated story than just testosterone and pointing us towards more likely important factors, such as the social and environmental ones. Additionally, while testosterone may contribute to performance in some sports, it definitively does not for certain sports (especially since we’re in a topic about chess). Reducing a complicated topic to a single dimension generally doesn’t work and isn’t a good basis for argument.
    • With all that being said, you’re right that for some trans women their testosterone levels may not be fully suppressed with just estrogen treatment, but nearly no regulatory bodies care about that - they care about whether the testosterone levels that they test are above a certain threshold. If they are not, they aren’t allowed to compete. It’s ridiculous to be quoting this study at all, because if someone were at that level and wanting to compete they’d have to be on testosterone blockers or post-op so as to drop their levels to an acceptable range.
    • I cannot stress enough how bad it looks for someone to be coming in here and challenging the people directly effected by this issue with such a one-sided and shallow point. In general if you’re going to come in and challenge a minority on something, you need to be extremely cautious about how you do so. Ask yourself, are you an expert on the topic? If not, what could you be missing? Should you seek out education before providing your opinion and attempting to provide “scientific” reasoning for your stance? Ask yourself whether others have likely shared the same opinion as you are sharing- are you bringing anything new or useful to the table? Might minorities already be inundated with people sharing the same opinion, in a scientific manner or not, and might you be contributing to their emotional and educational burdens?

    1.) I am a member of the LGBTQ community as well. There are more letters than just T there. 2.) I did not start with any antagonism. I came in here saying that there is a valid debate about whether trans women should be allowed in physical sports, because there is, but that this ruling on chess is pure bigotry plain and simple. I did not state they should not be allowed to compete, I simply stated that there is legitimate scientific debate as to whether trans women have an unfair advantage over cis women. Ada stated that there is no advantage if you are taking feminizing HRT, and I provided scientifc evidence that this is not true. Sure, I shouldn’t have said she was blatantly lying, but there is significant evidence suggesting that even with feminizing HRT trans women still have an advantage over cis women. Others, like LucyLastic have accused me of making stuff up by changing the goal posts to only post op trans women being trans women and curiously no moderator has reminder her of following beehaws rules. 3.) I didn’t bring up problems with the regulating bodies because I wasn’t trying to start a fight over trans women not being included in physical sports, and was not making any statements for or against it, only again that there is legitimate debate about it. Because there is. The only thing I have argued is that HRT does not eliminate the effects of testosterone on the body especially if the woman undergoing HRT did so after puberty.

    Gaywallet, avatar

    there is legitimate scientific debate

    The entire point of the post that I made is that you are not qualified to weigh in on whether there is legitimate scientific debate. You came into this thread and made a statement in a field which you are clearly not an expert, and then replied to people by posting scientific articles as a means to give your words credit or authority. I cannot find any way to interpret this in good faith except if it is coming from a place of ignorance. The fact that you are trying to explain yourself away to me, ignoring the educational burden that I underwent to show you many ways in which your conclusion could be false doesn’t leave me with a lot of hope either. In fact, you could have completely ignored all the links and information I provided and simply replied as soon as you understood that I was contradicting what you said. You aren’t doing yourself any favor by being antagonistic after actively causing harm by cherry picking and distributing info which goes against actual scientific consensus such as the numerous articles I posted, of which one was an extremely comprehensive review commissioned by a large sports ethics organization.

    Authority and scientific rigor aside, you’re making this place uncomfortable for women and transgender individuals. How do you think women and transgender individuals are made to feel by the content that you have contributed? Do you think they feel welcomed or wanted in the community? That your post makes it easier for them to sleep at night or reduces their stress or has any positive affect on their mood? This is not to say that no one can be critical or offer a counter opinion to one which a minority individual has, but that you need to be conscious about when and where it’s appropriate to do so (and whether you have the background to even provide such an opinion). In addition to simply being wrong, posting this opinion on an LGBTQ+ community does not make this place welcoming or accommodating to minorities. In short, it’s not nice behavior. So cut it out.



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  • AnarchoYeasty,


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  • UngodlyAudrey, avatar

    what the hell is wrong with you

    Zander, avatar

    This argument is irrelevant in the end because trans women are women. Even if it were true that some trans women have a net advantage due to having gone through a male puberty, It’s okay to have biological advantages in sports. That’s kind of the point of sports, no? As long as they’re taking hrt to get rid of the bulk of the advantages a male body brings I don’t see what the issue is.

    The second you exclude trans women, it is no longer a women’s division.

    Gaywallet, avatar

    This comment is being removed because it’s not by a medical professional and is either factually incorrect or is not presenting a good faith argument on the validity of inclusion for transgender athletes. For an example of a good faith scientific consensus please check out the following review:…


    My last testosterone reading was 14 (ng/dL) which is less than cis women. What you are saying is demonstrably false.


    wtf is amab?

    DearAll, avatar

    Assigned male at birth

    LadyAutumn, avatar

    Jesus christ do they not edit these things before they press release them? If a trans masc person comes out he’ll lose his titles in the women’s category, but if he detransitions he’ll get them back? Fantastic they came up with rules specifically for the less than 1% of people who detransition. If a detransitioner were to win titles, then transition then detransition. They had to get that out there lest anyone claim they’re being unfair 🙄

    What is the implication here?? That trans woman are not socially disadvantaged enough by misogyny to qualify as deserving access to the women’s category? Trans women. Quite possibly the most vilified people in society. Who suffer from the same systems of misogyny. If a cis woman had grown up in a society that prized female chess players would she also be excluded from the women’s category? If we’re considering some kind of “how discouraged from playing chess were you” based trans exclusionary rule, why is that same rule not being applied equally to cisgender women?

    I am so fucking tired of people acting like trans women have any kind of social advantage in literally any context. We meet hatred and violence at every single level of society. A trans woman playing in the “open” (see men’s) category of chess would face that exact same discrimination and hatred the moment she achieved any kind of recognition for herself. Look at any trans athlete. They act like we get deified or something, when the reality is the moment we achieve anything we’re essentially forced to retire immediately to stop the endless onslaught of hatred and harassment that is immediately directed at us.


    The misogyny is so hefty. “Men are inherently better at everything than women, women are inherently worse at everything than men. Trans women are men, therefore inherently better than all other women at everything and must be disqualified…”

    I wish I could remember the quote (and who said it) about how all the various forms of sex/gender/orientation hate boil down to misogyny. It was erudite and extremely effective.


    I need clarification. What does “social advantage” have to do with chess performance, or the restricted competition class of women’s chess?

    Walk_blesseD, avatar

    In the case of professional chess, the social advantage men have is not being relentlessly bullied, harassed, and condescended to for their gender. It should be quite obvious that this is not an advantage that a trans woman would have.

    PeachyMcPeachface, avatar

    It’s because only trans people can en passant. Too strong.

    No but seriously this is blatant transphobia. There’s no reason for this ruling. Stripping titles is just salt in the wound, wtf.

    ShaunaTheDead avatar

    It's almost certainly transphobia, but it can also be considered misogyny because he's implying that AMAB people have an inherent advantage over women.

    PeachyMcPeachface, avatar

    Yeah, they often go hand in hand. Shits wild.


    Little known rule: transpeople can convert any piece that makes it to the other end of the board into a queen. Or a second king.


    Holy hell

    Rozauhtuno, avatar

    Yeah, because I guess trans people have an unfair advantage in also… checks notes chess!??

    Whoever came up with this bs is one step away from admitting they think men are smarter than women, I can feel it. Gender essentialism needs to eat shit and die already. blobcat, middlefinger


    Ah, yes, because being trans definitely has a bearing on whether or not you’re good at chess. These totally aren’t just explicitly transphobic policies enacted by bigoted old men. I would also like to point out that the current president of FIDE is the former deputy prime minister of Russia. Not that Russian people are all transphobic, but I wonder if some of Putin’s influence isn’t in this decision.

    chuso avatar

    That's a good point.
    The current presdient of the FIDE was Deputy Prime Minister and close confidant of Dmitri Medvédev during his presidency from 2008 to 2012 when Putin was the Prime Minister because Putin has already served the two consecutive terms allowed by the Constitution so he appointed Medvédev as his puppet President before he was allowed to return to the presidency in 2012 (and reformed the Constitution to be able to stay until 2036, for now).
    So yeah, maybe you can probably expect some of Putin's influence in the president of the FIDE.

    LoreleiSankTheShip, avatar

    It is obvious that men, with they physically stronger bodies and larger frames, are better than women at chess. It would be unfair to them to compete with eachother, since the male brain is the bigger muscle. /s

    In all seriousness, I see absolutely no point in gender divisions in chess of all things.

    Pandoras_Can_Opener, avatar

    Yeah. I was reminded of the sports “debate” as well. Chess is one of the sports where you wonder why they have a gender division in the first place. Are they afraid of loosing to trans people or women (cis and trans)?


    Are they afraid of loosing to trans people or women (cis and trans)?

    There is only a womens-only league. The other leagues are open to everyone.

    snooggums avatar

    The women's division exists because when the world of chess begrudgingly started to accept women at all, the massive amount of sexism discouraged women from actually playing and competing. So the other division exists to allow them to be acknowledged as players and be able to participate with a (reduced) amount of sexism driving women away.

    So same reason there are colleges for women and black folks, they were established because they were either excluded or driven out of existing institutions.

    Gormadt, avatar

    Of course they are, the pieces are super manly in the men’s games. Made of concrete for extra ruggedness and painted manly colors, nothing bright or cheerful as far as the eye could see. And the chairs they sit in are also super manly no comfort at all. All played on a manly tactical chessboard. /S

    Seriously though this whole decision just screams “cruelty is the point” and no concept of equality.

    Pandoras_Can_Opener, avatar

    I’m especially fascinated by the gendered difference in whether you get to keep your titles. So transitioning one way means you keep your chess muscles? But not the other? Transness itself isn’t the problem then?? I’d love to hear them attempt to justify that rule.


    Me too. I can’t figure out the bigoted “logic” here at all.

    emma, avatar

    They seem to be applying the correct gender retroactively, with a key difference being that there’s a women’s protected category and an open category. Women, cis or trans, can play in the open category so change in gender status for someone who competed as if they were a man (and thus necessarily in the open category) is irrelevant to the titles.

    At present I’m inclined to disagree with this apparent retroactive application so I’m not defending this, just explaining my understanding of their thinking. It’s about open and protected categories. If it was men’s only and women’s only, it would be different.


    One point in defence of retroactively changing titles for trans men: the documentation specifies that women’s titles can be transferred to an open title of the same or lower level, which effectively protects trans men’s privacy by not leaving them with women’s titles that would otherwise out them. I’m not sure it was intentional, or just a side effect, but it’s actually a good policy for trans men.


    Thanks, that makes sense. (I’m not agreeing with them either).

    Pandoras_Can_Opener, avatar

    Ah. Thanks for explaining. In their twisted world that sort of makes sense.


    The gender division is because women on average are worse than men at chess and likely to be eliminated in a tournament early on if they manage to qualify at all.

    This is because chess is a boys club where men and boys get better training and have an easier time advancing and practicing then women.

    The best way to get better at chess however are tournaments, where you can play your equal under a stressful and emotional context. Since women can’t advance as well as men because of discrimination, they wouldnt be able to play tournaments making it even more difficult to advance their game.

    The women’s league are created so that women can play in tournaments, get practice, get better and be able to play in the big boy tournaments as well as a creating an environment where sexual harrasment, which is also a problem at the main tournaments, is mitigated.

    Edit TL;DR women’s league are there because women chess players typically get sidelined. Its basically affirmative action.


    That makes sense, but… isn’t the “International Chess Federation”, the actual big boy tournament?


    No it’s the federation which hosts many tournaments amongst them the “big boy tournament”, the World Chess Championship, and parallel to that the Womens World Chess Championship.

    emma, avatar

    So a protected category for women only, because of social factors rather than inherent physical differences.

    This makes some sense to me based on my own experiences in other areas like mathematics and science competitions. The boys in my school who knew me were mostly alright but it was still a very strange environment to be a teenage girl in. I was always keenly aware of being an outsider. And it was so much worse in rooms full of strangers at competitions. Intimidating and overwhelming.

    For all that I was consistently at or near the top in our school, I always fell at the outside competitions. Felt horrible too, that I was letting everyone down. I was too young to understand the sexism at play so I just beat myself up about it and stopped participating.

    In general, I support protected categories for women. We haven’t come anywhere near far enough in reducing sexism to make them unnecessary. I don’t know if it’s a big enough issue with trans women in competitive chess to make this sort of ruling. It might have the balance wrong. But it would be good if there was more understanding of what these kinds of environments can be like for cis girls and women.


    Right, so the transphobic fear the FIDE has is that men might try to exploit a loophole by “posing” as trans. So they have these severe restrictions on who might be considered transitioned, why they will “alert” tournaments that someone is trans, why they require legal proof of transitioning before giving in and why they’re stripping trans men of their titles (so that if a cis man manages circumvent all these protection by successfully posing as a trans woman and having won all these titles transitions back, he no longer has them).

    It’s the same trans-panic as in so many other sport federations. Severe legislation hurting trans people trying to pre-empt a completely made up cheating scenario.

    edit: (hopefully) clarified the wording

    sneezycat, avatar

    why they’re stripping trans men of their titles (so that if a man manages circumvent all these protection by successfully posing as a trans woman and having won all these titles transitions back, he no longer has them).

    Uuh… What are you saying? A trans man posing as a trans woman? What.

    If you mean a cis man posing as a trans woman and then “detransitioning”, what do trans men have to do with it?


    Sorry that got confusing, I’m referring to this section:

    If a player holds any of the women titles, but the gender has been changed to a man, the women titles are to be abolished. […] The abolished women title may be transferred into a general title of the same or lower level (e.g., WGM may be transferred into FM, WIM into CM, etc.).

    I think the scenario they are trying to prevent here is a cis man posing as a trans woman getting access to the easier womens titles, gaining titles like Womens Grandmaster, and then “detransitioning”. Now they are in possession of a Grandmaster title they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. It’s not the Grandmaster title but still. So to prevent that they’re now a FIDE master.

    The solution to this completely made up problem ends up of course stripping trans men of their “Womens …” title to a lower title.


    The solution to this completely made up problem ends up of course stripping trans men of their “Womens …” title to a lower title.

    If trans mens’ titles are converted to general titles of equal level (which the policy does allow for - it does say “same or lower level”), it would actually be a really good policy, as it would prevent trans men being outed by having “Womens…” titles. But given the rest of the changes are blatantly transphobic, it doesn’t seem that respecting the privacy of trans men was the goal.


    Yes the policy “allows” for that, but the decision solely lies with FIDE. And the examples they give are of deranking. What they mean by that is not Changing Womens Grandmaster into a general Grandmaster. The requirements for a GM are higher. You need 2500 ELO and perform three “norms” of 2600 performance rating. Essentially have high ELO and show against other GMs your skill. For a WGM you need an ELO of 2300 and three “norms” of 2400 performance rating.

    Since a WGM doesn’t meet the GM requirements (otherwise they would be a GM) they can’t get that title. But now they’re stripped of their WGM title as well and placed in rank of FIDE master, which requires “only” an ELO of 2300, and no norms. As such it is lower than WGM.

    A player at that level is already well connected and known in the community. They wouldn’t be able to keep their transition secret, what with the rumour mill going around. Plus the decision of whether they want to “derank”, giving up their earned title for a lower but more gender-affirming one, should ultimately lie with the person and not with the body that already bestowed that title on them.


    It seems like the issue is that the Womens and Open titles aren’t directly equivalent in terms of their requirements, then? Since it would be unfair to give a higher title when the person hasn’t earned it, and there’s no title with the same requirements, then the nearest equivalent title would seem the only option.

    I also suspect that the likelihood of someone being trans and having an extremely high title is quite low, and for the majority of trans chess players, the transfer would be between lower ranked titles, and when they are not as well-known, which means it would be both more viable and more important for their privacy to be respected. That said, I do agree with you that it should be down to the trans person to choose what they want to happen with the titles they’ve earned. I just thought it was worth pointing out that transferring trans men’s Womens titles to the nearest equivalent Open title is a good policy, even if it was implemented unintentionally.

    emma, avatar

    Did you not read what I wrote? Was this reply meant for someone else?


    Yeah I thought you were the person I had initially replied to, and was expanding on my initial thought trying to clarify that while having a womens category is not discrimination, this regulation is discriminatory.


    Um … what does gender or gender identity have to do with advantages or disadvantages in chess. Of all competitions where this is absolutely meaningless, surely Chess has to be nearly top of that list.


    There is a huge gender gap and the men discriminate against women and prefer to play other men. Thus the women get worse/less diverse practice than men which leads to them being worse at chess on average than men.

    This leads to them not qualifying for tournaments, which means even less chances to practice because the best way to get better are tournaments. Thus the womens league so they can at least play their equal in a tournament setting. Also having a lower entry barrier for women hopefully motivates more women/girls to play chess.


    Why do the men discriminate against women?

    bermuda, avatar

    Because they’re sexist.


    To not lose against a woman. This is not a gender gap. This is an experience gap artificially created and targeted at women via discrimination. It would be the same if say the discrimination was targeted at people with red hair because we thought they would steal our soul during a game or something equally stupid like that. The world would be saying why is no one with red hair in the top 100.

    A true champion wants to test themselves against the best possible competition. A selfish coward just wants to win at all costs.

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