Girl Forced to Withdraw From Chess Tournament for ‘Seductive’ Dress

Hayley FitzPatrick
A partial view of the dress that was deemed improper in a chess tournament
A student was forced to withdraw from a chess tournament in Malaysia because of her dress length. (Photo: Kaushal Khandhar via Facebook)

A chess coach in Malaysia is demanding a public apology for one of his students after the 12-year-old was forced to withdraw from a tournament that took place April 14-16 due to her “seductive” dress.

In a Facebook post, the coach, Kaushal Khandhar, detailed the incident that took place at the National Scholastic Chess Championship in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Attaching a photo of the 12-year-old competitor’s dress, Khandhar wrote, “In the middle of Round 2, (without stopping the clocks) chief arbiter informs my student that the dress she wore was improper and has violated the dress code of the tournament. It was later informed (by chief arbiter) to my student and her mother that the tournament director deemed my student’s dress to be ‘seductive’ and a ‘temptation from a certain angle far, far away.'”

Khandhar wrote that the chief arbiter of the chess competition did not find his student’s dress inappropriate — and even apologized — but was forced to not allow her to compete due to the tournament director’s opinion on her dress.

“This discussion happened at around 10pm, and chief arbiter gave them a choice to go to the mall nearby to buy a long slack for the next day, 9 a.m. round,” Khandhar wrote. “Due to the timing of this incident, it was impossible to get another attire in time for the 9 a.m. round next day, as all shops were already closed and wouldn’t be open in time.”

The mother of the promising competitor attempted to resolve the conflict — but to no avail.

“Before the morning round next day, my student’s mother called [the] tournament director regarding this matter. Initially he had replied that he was not aware of the situation but after a brief discussion, it was realized that he knew all the details on this incident prior to this phone call. He promised to return the call upon discussion with chief arbiter, but this did not happen. He would further not answer or return any calls of my student’s mother,” Khandhar wrote.

The inability to purchase another outfit in time for the next round left the young girl with no other choice than to withdraw from the tournament. In the post, her coach wrote about how she was “extremely disturbed” and “embarrassed.”

“We are absolutely disgusted by the treatment of tournament director to a 12-year-old girl and her mother,” Khandhar wrote. “This incident has resulted in loss of time and money, which was invested before, during and after the tournament on coaching, registration fees, traveling, accommodation and other incurred costs.”

Khandhar added that in his two decades coaching chess, he has never seen one of his students treated this way. He also stated that the tournament director must issue an apology, or the student and he will take legal action.

“This should be the first and last time this kind of issue ever appears,” he wrote. “I or anyone of us should never accept this in our chess community. We demand a public apology from [the] tournament director of National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017. In the event we do not receive a public apology in the next five days, we shall have no choice but to resort to legal proceedings.”

The tournament director told Malay Mail Online that a police report would soon be filed and issued no further comment. A Malaysian Chess Federation spokesperson told the website:

“The tournament secretariat is currently investigating the complaint. The claim posted is different from the official complaint. We will take action once the report comes out.”

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