“Seductive” Dress Issue Forced Girl out of Tournament

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This may be the first time that a contestant had to withdraw from a chess tournament because of a dress.

  • 12-year-old’s dress deemed “inappropriate”
  • District chess champion humiliated, embarrassed
  • Public apology sought

In a Facebook posting addressed to the Malaysian chess community, Malaysian chess player and coach Kaushal Khandhar recounted a “disturbing” incident he learned from one of his student’s mother, Chin Wai Ling. The incident happened at the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017 held in Putrajaya from Apr 14 to 16.

According to Kaushal’s posting, his 12-year-old student was informed by the chief arbiter in the middle of a game that her dress was improper and violated the dress code. The chief arbiter later told the girl and her mother that the tournament director deemed the dress to be “seductive” and a “temptation from a certain angle far, far away”.

The Star reported that Chin said the chief arbiter claimed the knee-length dress was “inappropriate”, despite it not being “revealing”. She added that the tournament director allegedly told the chief arbiter that the school will not allow the children to use the hall if they turn up in a dress.

Chin said her daughter was embarrassed and from that point onwards all the girl could think of was whether anyone would be peeping at her.

The Facebook posting alleged that after some discussion, “the chief arbiter conceded and apologised to the student, assuring her that there was nothing wrong with her attire” but due to the tournament director’s decision, he could not allow the dress to be worn by the girl in the tournament. The chief arbiter gave them a choice to go to a nearby mall to buy long slacks for the next day’s round at 9am. Since the discussion took place at around 10:00 pm, the shops were closed and would not open in time the next morning for the girl to shop for suitable alternative attire.

Chin said she had only brought three dresses of similar length for the three-day event. She added that the dress code based on the World Chess Federation Laws of Chess only required participants to portray a “dignified appearance”, with no illustrative guidelines given.

The girl was recently the champion of her district in Kuala Lumpur, and according to Kaushal, has shown tremendous potential in chess.

In his posting, the coach expressed his disgust of the treatment accorded to the girl and her mother and demanded a public apology from the tournament director within five days of the posting or he would resort to legal proceedings.

The Malay Mail Online reported that the tournament director said he would be lodging a police report soon and declined to issue any statement at the present. A Malaysian Chess Federation spokesman also told the news portal that the tournament secretariat is currently investigating the incident.