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2-min read

Let's Cheer This World Chess Champion Who Doesn't Mind Losing Titles, But Won't Stand Misogyny

Now, Anna Muzychuk, a Ukrainian chess grandmaster has decided that she will not defend her titles at a tournament held in Saudi Arabia because she doesn't want to be made to feel like a 'secondary creature'.

Adrija Bose | News18.com

Updated:December 28, 2017, 2:58 PM IST
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Let's Cheer This World Chess Champion Who Doesn't Mind Losing Titles, But Won't Stand Misogyny
Representative Image: File photo of Ukrainian chess grandmaster Anna Muzychuk. (Reuters)
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When 'Wonder Woman' decided that she won’t continue to be ‘Wonder Woman’ if producer Brett Ratner is not dumped in the wake of sexual assault allegations made against him, we were left in awe. Was she not scared that she will lose the biggest opportunity? It seemed like a possibility that seemed highly impossible, even barring Gal Gadot’s crucial stature within a film all about her title character. But, Gadot made it happen. Ratner’s deal with Warner Bros was not renewed.

The reel life superhero immediately became our real-life role model.

Now, Anna Muzychuk, a Ukrainian chess grandmaster has decided that she will not defend her titles at a tournament held in Saudi Arabia because she doesn't want to be made to feel like a 'secondary creature'.

In a Facebook post, she wrote, “In a few days I am going to lose two World Champion titles – one by one. Just because I decided not to go to Saudi Arabia. Not to play by someone's rules, not to wear abaya, not to be accompanied getting outside, and altogether not to feel myself a secondary creature.”

Let that sink in.

The two-time world chess champion has decided to let go of her titles and the accolades that come along with it, but there’s no way she’s going to deal with misogyny.

“Exactly one year ago, I won these two titles and was about the happiest person in the chess world but this time I feel really bad,” Muzychuk wrote. “I am ready to stand for my principles and skip the event, where in five days I was expected to earn more than I do in a dozen events combined.”

Muzychuk’s sister and fellow grandmaster Mariya, a former women’s world chess champion, will also skip the tournament. Muzychuk is the defending world champion in two disciplines of speed chess – rapid and blitz.

The message is heartbreaking, yet so empowering.

Saudi Arabia wanted to host the World Chess Championships to show how it’s opening up under crown prince Mohammad bin Salman and they reportedly spent $1.5m (£750,000) on it.

In the last couple of months, a couple of measures have been taken to shake up the ultra-conservative kingdom, including the decision to allow women to drive from next June.

In November, the World chess organizing body FIDE said that there would be “no need to wear a hijab or abaya” for the championship held in Saudi Arabia. They ruled that women would be required to wear high-necked white blouses with black or blue trousers. And they thought they had achieved a breakthrough.

Nope. Muzychuk’s message points out exactly that. As long as you ask women to cover up, you are not doing them any favour.

A tournament that will see more than 200 players from 70 countries, Muzychuk feels she will some condemnation for her decision.

In her brave stand, Muzychuk has decided to walk a lonely road. “…The most upsetting thing is that almost nobody really cares. That is a really bitter feeling, still not the one to change my opinion and my principles.”

More power to you!

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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