U.S. Chess Champion Boycotts Iran Tournament Over ‘Oppressive Dress Code’


The current U.S. Women’s chess champion has said she’d rather sacrifice her career than wear a hijab at the 2017 World Championship which is being held in Iran. 

Nazi Paikidze is one of America’s top chess players but has sworn to boycott the competition in Iran to protest the country’s ‘oppressive’ Islamic dress code.

Women taking part in the contest have been told they must wear traditional Islamic garb while competing but Paikidze believes that doing the bidding of an oppressive regime in order to play is a step too far.


In an interview with the founder of My Stealthy Freedom, a group who campaign for a woman’s right to choose whether she wears the hijab Paikidze explained her decision.

Paikidze said:

I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression. Even if it means missing one of the most important competitions of my career.


A spokesperson for the women’s committee of the international chess governing body, Susan Polgar, had reportedly told players to respect ‘cultural differences’ and to wear the hijab, which allegedly led to a fraught exchange on Twitter with Paikidze.

Ms Polgar however disputes this, clarifying that she actually said that if any player has a problem with the hijab, then they can and should voice their opinion to the Commission for Women’s Chess or FIDE where it will be addressed.