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HomeSportsIranian Chess Referee Shohreh Bayat Fears Exclusion for Activism as She Challenges...

Iranian Chess Referee Shohreh Bayat Fears Exclusion for Activism as She Challenges FIDE’s Russian Chief

CNN – Three years after escaping from Iran, chess referee Shohreh Bayat fears facing further isolation for challenging the game’s governing body and its president over her choice of clothing during a tournament in October. In 2020, Bayat faced criticism in Iran for not wearing the appropriate headscarf at the Women’s World Chess Championship in China and Russia. She refused to give in to pressure from the regime and as a result, she fears punishment if she returns home. Bayat recently officiated at the 2022 Fischer Random World Chess Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland, where she wore clothes in support of the Iranian protests and the people of Ukraine. This decision has drawn the ire of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and its president. Frustrated by the request to stop wearing the slogan, Bayat decided to wear it again the next day and was once again asked to remove it, this time by FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich.
CNN has reached out to FIDE to clarify the dress code that was expected for the event. Since leaving the tournament in Iceland, Bayat claims she hasn’t been invited to another FIDE event and was initially removed from the arbiter commission due to her outfits. Despite this, FIDE states that Bayat is still eligible to officiate future events. Bayat believes Dvorkovich is not accepting criticism of Iran due to Russia’s links with the country. She points to FIDE’s handling of the Iranian Chess Federation as evidence of this. Bayat’s activism has gained support from prominent figures in the chess world, including US grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen’s coach Peter Heine Nielsen. Bayat expressed gratitude for the support she has received and believes she is doing the right thing by standing up for women’s rights in Iran.


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