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A Women’s Chess Tournament Decided To Regulate Competitors’ Cleavage

  • Glenn Davis

The European Chess Union had a problem on its hands: its female competitors were just too damn sexy. “There are worse issues,” you might say, and it would be hard to argue. Hell, it doesn’t sound like even Sava Stoisavljevic, general secretary of the Chess Union, would argue. She said:

“It’s nice to see chess players with short skirts — they are very pretty girls.”

But an issue it was nonetheless, and because of it, the organization felt it had to change its dress code for female players. Specifically, those short skirts Stoisavljevic mentioned can’t be too short (maximum of 10 centimeters above the knee) – oh, and this, to make sure spectators’ eyes are focused squarely on the board:

Players can keep two buttons on their tops open, but no more.

So no more of those suggestive outfits, Deep Blue.

The reason for the code: Stoisavljevic said she “heard many comments from spectators and coaches” regarding competitors’ outfits. What we’re curious about is what those comments were, exactly – especially since some of them were from coaches. What we also can’t help but be curious about – how much cleavage was being shown here, exactly? Was enough skin really shown to warrant the fuss that’s ensued?

And again, about those “comments”: were they from people who were just plain taken aback at the amount of cleavage? Or were they people ogling and basically just going “LOL BOOBZ” (our friends at The Mary Sue favored the latter interpretation)? The Daily News‘ headline calls them “crude,” but the article itself doesn’t make it clear whether they were or not.

It seems unlikely that coaches would be making such comments, but fans are a bit of a different story. Of course, from Stoisavljevic’s perspective, the nature of the cleavage comments (we’ll go out on a limb and guess at least some of those who commented weren’t exactly upset about it) matters less than that she’s getting them at all.

Worth keeping in mind, though: the promotion for the women’s tournament had some female-centric flourishes – according to the New York Daily News, “In the banner for the European Women’s Individual Chess Championship, the word ‘Women’s’ is written in what appears to be lip color… There’s also an icon of a castle chess piece topped with a red lipstick.” (This appears to be what they’re talking about.)

So while maybe the organization made its bed to some extent with that logo, it’s not quite enough to say that the union planned on turning the tournament into the chess version of lingerie football, so we can at least see their reasoning. What also stood out to us: just how many rules there are governing players’ appearance for these tournaments – and not just the women. As an example, one actual rule, according to the Daily News – one that applies to all competitors:

Players must not have body odor.

That’s thorough.

[Gothamist]

Shutterstock photo, by Vasilchenko Nikita

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