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Susan Polgar: "When I visit different places with different cultures, I like to show my respect by dressing up in their traditional style of clothing"

Source: Tehran Times

In a report by Tehran Times published on October 2, 2016, American Chess Grandmaster and chair of Fide's Commission for Women's Chess, Susan Polgar had been incorrectly quoted as saying that the women players need to respect cultural differences. This was in response to calls to boycott next year's world women championships in Iran where female players are required to respect the Islamic dress code (hijab).

Susan Polgar has issued the following statement to clarify her position and to correct the mistakes in the Tehran Times article, which was based on another article published by The Telegraph.

Statement by Susan Polgar:

Here was my original quote when I responded to the Telegraph:

"This is my personal opinion. I have traveled to nearly 60 countries. When I visited different places with different cultures, I like to show my respect by dressing up in their traditional style of clothing"

I never once asked or forced any female player to wear the head scarf. In addition, I was not speaking on behalf of the World Chess Federation. I was also not speaking on behalf of the Women's Chess Commission.

After the Telegraph completely misrepresented my position, I issued the following:

Official statement re Women's World Championship 2017: Telegraph article.

The article appearing in the Telegraph on 29 September concerning the decision of FIDE to award the Women's World Chess Championship to Iran both quoted me in a way that seriously misrepresented my views, and gave a misleading impression of my position with regard to the Federation which implied that the decision as to venue had received my endorsement. In consequence I have received thousands of communications, most of which have been extremely unpleasant. I would like to put the matter straight.

I am Co-Chair of the FIDE Women's Commission, a body set up to promote women's participation in chess to increase the number of female players, trainers and arbiters, but neither I nor the commission have any voting rights with regard to the venue of the Women's World Championships or any other matter. I was not consulted and did not endorse the choice of Iran as the venue for the Championships. Contrary to the impression given by the article I have never said I support FIDE's decision and I certainly have not demanded that all participants respect Iranian culture and wear hijabs.

I do suggest that people not act hastily before the full rules and conditions of the event have been published, I would urge people to be respectful of others no matter what side of the argument they represent, and I support a player's right to boycott the event just as much as I support their right to take part should they so choose.

This is clearly a very contentious issue and I sincerely hope that matters can be resolved in a way that will promote understanding rather than discord and will be in the best interest of the Women's World Championship and chess in general.

I believe that each woman should have the right to choose, to play or to boycott. It has to be their personal decisions. This was my original position and I still strongly believe in this.


Iran's Sarasadat Khademalsharieh and China's Ju Wenjun during their chess match in Tehran

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