Chess Bans
by Bill Wall

In 655 CE, Mohammed's son-in-law, Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, disapproved (but not banned) the precursor of chess, shatranj, for his sect of Muslims since the carved figures of the chess pieces were considered "graven images."

In 680 CE, the 50th rule of canons of the Trullan Synod (Third Council of Constantinople) was interpreted as forbidding chess with dice (alea) (source: Murray, A History of Chess, p. 167, footnote 17).

In 725 CE, Sulaiman ibn Yashar disapproved of chess.

In 780 CE, the caliph al-Mahdi, wrote a letter to religious leaders in Mecca, asking them to give up gambling with dice and chess.

In 1005, chess was banned in Egypt by al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (985-1021), and chess sets and pieces were ordered burned. Players were beaten for playing chess.

In 1061, the Italian cardinal bishop of Ostia, Petrus (Peter, Pedro) Damiani (1007-1072), wrote a letter to the pope-elect Alexander II (pope from 1961 to 1073), and to Archdeacon Hildebrand (who was Pope Gregory VII from 1073 to 1085), complaining that priests were playing chess (scacorum). He was particularly outraged that his traveling companion, the Bishop of Florence, was seen playing chess in public (a hotel). Damaini labeled chess as a game of chance, like dice, which was banned. Damaini was ignorant of chess and prejudiced against it. He said that playing chess made" a buffoon of a priest." Damiani's denunciation of chess led to a number of ecclesiastical decrees which put chess among the games forbidden to the clergy and monastic orders. Damiani became a saint and was made a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo XII in 1828.

In 1093, the Eastern Orthodox Church condemned chess. The Church tried to stamp out chess in Russia as a relic of heathenism.

In 1110, John Zonaras (1074-1130), a monk and Byzantine theologian and canonist, excommunicated chess players and banned chess as a kind of debauchery. He wrote a commentary on the rules of Apostolic Canon and laid down excommunication as the penalty for playing chess (Canon 50), even among the laity. Zonaras had been a former captain of the Byzantine imperial guard.

In 1125, Bishop Guy of Paris banned chess and excommunicated a few priests who were caught playing chess. A chess enthusiast priest then devised a secretive folding chess board. Once folded, it looked like two books lying together.

In 1128, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), a French abbot, banned the Knights Templar from playing chess. He wrote the military orders for the Knights Templar and told them to foreswear chess and dice.

In 1195, Rabbi Maimonides (1155-1204) included chess among the forbidden and banned games.

In the late 12th century, Casimir II (1138-1194), King of Poland, banned chess.

In 1197, Adam, the abbot of Persigny was warning folks not to play chess and wanted the game banned. (source: Murray, A History of Chess, p. 411)

In 1198, chess was banned from the clergy in Paris as ordered by the bishop of Paris, Eudes (Odo) de Sully (1168-1208). He banned all chess sets and chess boards from even being in the houses of the clergy. (source: Murray, A History of Chess, p. 410)

Around 1200, Alexander Neckam (1157-1217), theologian and abbot of Cirencester Abbey in England, condemned chess as being frivolous and wanted the game banned.

In November 1215, the Fourth Council of the Lateran in Rome forbade priests from playing chess (canon 16).

In July 1240, the Synod of Worcester Synod in England declared that chess was forbidden to the clergy and monastic orders. (source: Murray, A History of Chess, p.410)

In December 1254, King Louis IX (1214-1270) of France banned chess under pain of a fine after returning from a Crusade. He called chess a useless and boring game (source: Murray, A History of Chess). He had an aversion to all games. Despite hating chess, it is said that he received a fine chess set as a gift from Aladdin. King Louis IX was the only French king to be made a saint (Saint Louis).

On May 8, 1255, the Provincial Council of Beziers, France, stated that chess was forbidden by the clergy. (source: Murray, A History of Chess)

Around 1270, King Henry III (1207-1272) instructed the clergy to leave chess alone "on pain of durance vile."

In 1274, a decree issued at Abingdon, England, banned chess from its monasteries.

In 1282, the Russian manuscript Clementine Kormch included a series of directions of priests, which include no chess playing.

In 1291, the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Peckham (1230-1292), banned chess in his congregation at the Priory of Coxford, Norfolk. He threatened to put the prior and canons on a diet of bread and water for three nights unless they desisted from playing chess. (source: Murray, A History of Chess) Priests were banned from playing chess until 1299.

In 1310, the Council of Trier (which dealt with witchcraft) in Germany ruled that chess was forbidden to the clergy in Germany. (source: Murray, A History of Chess, p. 310)

In 1322, the Jewish rabbi Kalonymus ben Kalonymus (1286-1328) condemned chess.

In 1329, chess was banned in Germany after the statutes of the Synod of Wurzburg. (source: Murray, A History of Chess, p. 410)

In 1340, chess was banned at Queen's College, Oxford.

In 1375, Charles V (1337-1380), under the influence of the church, banned chess in France.

In 1380, William of Wykeham (1324-1404), the Bishop of Winchester and the Chancellor of England, banned chess to scholars. (source: Murray, A History of Chess, p. 441) He founded New College Oxford, New College School, and Winchester College.

In 1390, John I of Aragon (1350-1396) banned chess in northeastern Spain. (source: Murray, A History of Chess)

In 1404 the Synod of Langres forbade the clergy to play chess and cards.

In the 15th century, Charles VI (1368-1422) banned chess in France.

In 1464, under the reign of Edward IV (1442-1483), a law was enacted to ban chess in England.

In 1549 the Protohierarch Sylvester (chaplain to Ivan the Terrible) wrote that those who play chess shall go to hell and be accursed on earth. This was documented in his work Domostroi (Household Goverment), a book of principles of family life. This was the first printed book in Moscow. (source: Murray, A History of Chess, p. 381)

In 1551, Tsar Ivan IV (1530-1584) (Ivan the Terrible) of Russia banned chess, but played chess himself. He died while playing chess. During this period, leading clerics of Russia compiled the Stoglav Collection, which banned chess. Stoglov, or Book of One Hundred Chapters, is a collection of decisions of the Russian church council of 1551.

In 1585, the Provincial Council of Mexico banned the clergy from playing chess in public or for money.

In the 1600s, the Puritans banned chess from their sect, according to History of England by Macaulay.

In August 1624, John Middleton's play, A Game at Chess, was staged by the King's Men at London's Globe Theatre. The play was soon banned as it made fun of the Spanish Ambassador (caricaturized as the black knight), the nobility, and Catholics.

In 1649, Tsar Alexei (1629-1676) banned chess in Russia. The penalty for playing chess was whipping and imprisonment.

In 1848, the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution banned chess clubs in Hungary until 1864.

In the 1860s, Ellen White (1827-1915) co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, wanted chess banned, saying that Heaven condemned amusements such as chess, checkers, and cards.

In 1864, a Ladies' Chess Club was formed in Germantown, a suburb of Philadelphia. It was the first chess club for ladies in America. There were a dozen members, who met weekly at the residences of its members. Men were barred from the chess club until the hour when their services as escorts were required. (source: The Chess Player's Magazine, vol 2, 1864, p. 113)

In the 1890s, non-native American chess players were barred from taking part in the Anglo-American cable matches. The British only wanted "native" American chess players by birth to compete. That ruled out such players as William Steinitz (an American citizen by then), Emil Kemeny, and Samuel Lipshutz from playing on the American team.

In the 1920s, public chess playing on Sundays was banned in Massachusetts. A law was passed to make it illegal to play checkers and chess in public on Sunday. (source: New York Times)

In 1922, a cripple was convicted and fined for playing checkers on Sunday in a public park in Massachusetts.

In July 1933, all Jews were banned from the Greater German Chess Association.

In March 1940, the Germans arrested all the chess players that were meeting at the Warsaw Chess Club (Kwiecinski Chess Café), which was banned earlier by the Germans. The Jews were all taken to a concentration camp (Danilowicowskia) in Palmiry, Poland (north of Warsaw) and were later killed in a mass execution. This included Polish masters Dawid Przepiorka (1880-1940), Achilles Frydmann, Stanislaw Kohn, and Moishe Lowtzky. Over 2,000 men and women were executed there by the Nazis.

In the 1940s, the German Nazis barred Jews from playing chess, including in occupied countries.

During World War II, postal chess in America was banned during wartime. The U.S. government feared the game was being used to send secret messages.

In March 1944, chess as banned by trans-Atlantic mail. It was explained this was done to prevent enemy agents from employing such mediums to get code messages across the Atlantic. (source: The Troy Record, March 31, 1944) Censors searched letters for discussions of chess because enemies would often hide codes in chess symbols and moves. (source: Freedom of Press and National Security in Four Wars, D. Smyth, 2007)

After World War II, Alexander Alekhine was barred from chess tournaments due to his anti-Semitic articles that he had written for the Nazis.

In the 1940s, Mikhail Botvinnik tried to have Paul Keres barred from playing chess. Botvinnik wrote to the Soviet Chess Federation, "The next World Chess Champion should be a Soviet, like me, and not an Estonia, like Paul Keres." Botvinnik prevented Keres from playing at Groningen 1946 and prevented him from being a world championship challenger. It wasn't until 1955 that Keres was permitted to play in a tournament outside of Soviet control.

In 1950, black players were barred from the Southern Chess Association tournament, held in North Carolina.

In the early 1950s, blacks were banned from chess clubs in Chicago. Blacks were also not allowed to play in chess tournaments run by the Southern Chess Association.

In 1954, blacks were banned from playing in the U.S. Open, held in New Orleans.

In 1955, Norman Tweed Whitaker (1890-1975) was banned from chess tournaments sponsored by the US Chess Federation, due to his shady past and criminal record. Whitaker sued the USCF and the ban was revoked.

In 1955, blacks were barred from playing in the Georgia Open chess tournament.

In the late 1950s, the Soviets banned chess in Antarctica after a Soviet scientist at a Soviet research station killed his colleague with an axe after he lost a game of chess.

At the 1959 U.S. Open chess tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, blacks were barred from rent a room at the hotel (or other nearby hotels ) in which the chess tournament was held.

In 1965, Bobby Fischer was banned from traveling to Cuba to play chess by the U.S. State Department due to tension in Cuba-United States relations. Instead, he played by telex from the Marshall Chess Club in New York. He tied for 2nd.

In 1966, chess was banned in China as part of the Cultural Revolution. By 1974, there was an easing of the ban. China began to participate in international events in 1976.

In August 1969, Grandmaster Ludek Pachman (1924-2003) was arrested and imprisoned for his political activities in Czechoslovakia. He was charged of defaming a representative of the Republic and supporting Dubcek. He was sent to Ruzyn Prison on the outskirts of Prague. He was later charged with subversion and up to 10 years imprisonment. He was released in December, 1970, but was banned from chess in Czechoslovakia. He later moved to Germany to play chess.

In 1970, the British Chess Federation (BCF) barred Welsh chess team from competing in the Counties and District Correspondence Chess Championships. This led to the creation of the Welsh Correspondence Chess Association. The BCF refused to recognize Wales as an independent postal chess body, stating that the British Postal Chess Federation was the sole representative of postal chess in Britain.

In the 1970 Chess Olympiad in Siegen, Germany, a number of chess players and teams protested against South Africa's inclusion, some withdrawing themselves. The Albanian team forfeited its match against the South African team. South Africa was banned from World Chess Competition while participating in the 1974 Chess Olympiad, finally returning to international competition in the 1992 Chess Olympiad.

In 1971, 16-year-old Soni Romans was banned from participating in the Channelview High School, Houston chess club. The reason was that the 16-year old had been married, divorced, and had a child (which she gave up for adoption). The school felt she shouldn't be allowed to participate in any club activity because of her background and that she "might discuss sex with other students."

In 1971, after Soviet grandmaster Mark Taimanov lost to Bobby Fischer 6-0 in Vancouver, BC, he was barred from traveling abroad, he was censured, and he was cut off from his government salary as a chess grandmaster.

In 1974, FIDE temporarily banned South African and Rhodesia from FIDE events due to their apartheid practices.

In 1974, Soviet grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi gave an interview to a Yugoslav newspaper in which he criticized certain aspects of the Soviet chess system. As a result, he was banned from the USSR national chess team for a year and banned from playing in chess tournaments abroad. He was also banned from publishing any chess analysis. These measures were lifted in 1976.

In 1977, South Africa was banned from FIDE events because of its apartheid practices. The ban remained in effect until 1992.

In 1979, after the Islamic revolution, chess was banned in Iran on the count of encouraging gambling, warmongering, and inattention to the five ritual prayers every day. This ban was in effect until 1988, when the Ayatollah Khomeini rehabilitated the game.

In the 1980s, USSR grandmaster Boris Gulko and his wife were barred from top level chess competitions because of their anti-communist views. The Gulko family was finally allowed to immigrate to the United States in 1986.

In the 1980s, Jaan Ehlvest (1962- ) of Estonia was once banned from playing chess by the Estonian Sports Committee after a drinking incident in Tallinn.

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union banned cosmonauts from playing chess in space with each other (they can play against ground control personnel) after a fist fight once broke out between cosmonauts after one of the cosmonauts lost his game to the other cosmonaut.

In 1986, Nick Down was banned from British correspondence tournaments after entering the 1985-86 British Ladies Correspondence Chess Championship as a woman and winning the event.

In 1986, FIDE banned Grandmaster Quinteros of Argentina from playing chess in international events for three years because he violated a sanction and played chess in South Africa.

In 1986, Susan Polgar was banned from the men's world chess championship after qualifying, forcing FIDE to change the rules and allow women to compete against men.

In 1986, Israel was banned from the chess Olympiad held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In 1987, International Master Ricardo Calvo of Spain was banned for 5 years by FIDE for insulting South American chess players in his journalism.

In 1987, Grandmaster Miguel Quinteros (1947- ) of Argentina was suspended and banned from FIDE events for three years for violating the FIDE ban on South Africa twice. He played a 6-game exhibition match in Johnnesburg in 1988. Other players banned because they played chess in South Africa included Ludek Pachman (1924-2003), Karl Robatsch (1929-2000), who was banned for one year, and Hans Kestler (1939- ).

In 1991, FIDE banned smoking in all FIDE chess events.

In 1993, chess was banned from American River College in California because of disruptive behavior on people playing in the cafeteria and library. Campus police ordered some chess players to stop playing chess. The players refused and the campus police confiscated the chess board and pieces.

In 1994, chess was banned in Afghanistan by Mullah Mohammad Omar and the Taliban edicts. Anyone caught playing chess were beaten or imprisoned. Chess was banned from 1994 through 2001.

In 1996, some high schools in Salt Lake City, Utah banned chess along with other non-academic clubs to prevent a club for gay high school students from organizing.

In 1997, Oak Mountain Intermediate School in Birmingham, Alabama banned chess in school because it was "too competitive and did not foster the appropriate spirit commensurate with school principles."

In 2001, Bobby Fischer was banned from the USCF after his comments about the United States after the 9/11 terrorist attack.

In 2002, chess players were banned from malls in Hyde Park in Chicago.

In 2003, former world chess champion Ruslan Ponomariov was banned from a the European Team Championship when his cell phone rang during the course of the event. He was the first person banned under the new FIDE law banning players from receiving cell phone calls.

In 2004, Libya banned the Israeli chess team from playing in the world chess championships in Tripoli.

In 2005, Grandmaster Mato Damjanovic was banned from tournament play for one year for pretending to play in a chess tournament (Kali Cup) which did not exist.

In 2005, Fair Haven Union High School banned chess after the school banned all games. The administration said that they did not want to have students play cards in school, so they banned all games, including the chess club. Despite that, the school tied for 1st place in the Vermont State Scholastic Chess Championship in 2006.

In 2006, during a tournament at Subroto Park in India, Umakant Sharma was caught receiving instructions from an accomplice using a chess computer via a Bluetooth-enabled device embedded in his cap. He was banned from playing competitive chess for 10 years.

In 2006, at the World Open in Philadelphia, Steve Rosenberg was leading before the final round in one of the sections. He was playing for $18,000 if he won his last round. But he was caught using a wireless transmitter and receiver in his ear (Rosenberg claimed it was a hearing aid) and was disqualified and banned from the event.

In 2007, a team of East Valley home-schooled students who won the 2006 Arizona Scholastic Championship was banned from the 2007 championship, held in Tucson. Rules were changed to not allow home-schooled students from participating. Only public and private schools were allowed to participate in the event.

In 2007, a chess team captain was caught outside the playing room using a PDA with a Pocket Fritz chess playing program. The player was banned to play in any further league matches.

In 2007, a Dutch player was banned from playing in the Dutch League and Cup matches for three years after being caught using a PDA with Pocket Fritz outside the playing hall. The arbiter caught him using the device while stepping outside to get some fresh air.

In 2007, Krzysztof Ejsmont of Poland was banned expelled from the Tadeusz Gniot Memorial tournament after 7 rounds for "unsportive play." He was accused of using a chess program to make his moves.

In 2008, Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk almost became the first grandmaster to be banned for two years from World Chess Federation (FIDE) tournaments when he refused to take a drug test after the last round at the Chess Olympiad in Dresden. He declined to provide a urine sample after losing the last round to GM Gata Kamsky, saying it was an insult to his intelligence and honor.

In 2008, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria Chess Federations were barred from the 2008 Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany because of their failures to pay their annual FIDE dues. The countries later work out their issues and were able to play. Before the Chess Olympiad started, 25 nations owed dues money to FIDE. Eventually, 23 countries paid their dues except the Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria Chess Federations.

In 2008, at the Dubai Open, M. Sadatnajafi was caught receiving suggested moves by text message on his mobile phone. He was banned and disqualified from the tournament.

In 2009, fundamentalist Muslim religious schools in Britain banned chess.

In 2009, Indian Grandmaster G.N. Gopal was banned for one year in all India events for failing to appear in the National Championship. The ban was later revoked.

In 2009, during the Australian Norths Chess Club Century Year chess tournament, a 14-year-old boy was caught using a hand-held chess computer in the bathroom. The boy was expelled from the tournament and banned for 2 years by the Australian Chess Federation.

In 2009, Grandmaster Susan Polgar and her husband were banned from the USCF after being accused of posting nasty remarks on the Internet in the name of another chess player.

In 2009, the Bulgarian Chess Federation barred ChessBase from broadcasting the Topalov-Kamsky semi-finals World Chess Challenge match, citing copyright infringement.

In January 2010, FIDE banned the Peruvian National Chess Team from all international competition because of a debt of 7,800 euros owed to FIDE as membership dues.

In 2010, San Francisco banned chess from being played on Market Street.

In 2010, New York City banned chess from adults at Emerson Playground. In October 2010, seven chess players were issued summonses by the New York Police Department for playing chess there.

In 2011, Iranian grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami refused to play his 4th round chess game against Israel's Ehud Sachar at the Corisca Masters tournament. As a result of his refusal, Maghami was barred from the rest of the tournament.

In 2011, the president of the English Chess Federation, CJ de Mooi, was barred from presenting prizes at the British chess championships in Sheffield because he was wearing a gay rights T-shirt. The shirt bore the slogan, "Some people are gay, get over it."

In 2011, three French chess players, GM Sebastien Feller, GM Arnaud Hauchard, and IM Cyril Marzolo, were banned for up to 5 years for cheating in the 2010 Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. They were using text messages to transmit moves to each other.

In 2011, Rybka, the strongest computer engine in the world, and it creator, Vasik Rajlich, were banned from all future World Computer Chess championship tournaments until the program no longer contained derivatives of other chess engine programs. Rajlich was given a lifetime ban by the International Computer Games Association (ICGA).

In 2011, during the German Chess Championship, FIDE master Christop Natsidis used a chess program on his smartphone. He later admitted that he had cheated and was banned and disqualified from the championship.

In 2011, FIDE banned and suspended the Bangladesh Chess Federation following the unpaid dues of 35,000 Turkish dollars. FIDE also removed all the rated chess players of Bangladesh from the FIDE website. This was the second time that the Bangladesh Chess Federation was suspended for not paying their dues.

In 2012, a national master from Pakistan was banned for 10 years for fixing chess matches and bribing chess players.

In 2012, a player, Clark Smiley, was caught using a chess engine (Fritz) on a PDA during the Virginia Scholastic and Collegiate Championships. The player was banned and disqualified from the tournament, had his membership to the Virginia Chess Federation (VCF) revoked, and had an ethics complaint filed to the USCF. Smiley was given permission to use the PDA device to keep a digital record of each move using eNotate — but only for that purpose. But he also had a chess engine installed on the device and was using that to make his moves.

In 2012, women who wore low-cut blouses were banned in the European Women's Chess Championship in Turkey.

In October 2012, a German grandmaster, Falko Bindrich, was suspected of cheating at the German Bundesliga team match by using an analysis program on his smartphone. He refused to be searched or turn over his smartphone, whereupon his game was declared lost. Bindrich claimed that there was private and corporate confidential information on his phone. The German Chess Federation banned him for two years.

In 2012, GM Suat Atalik of Turkey was given a 15-month ban from international play by the Turkish Chess Federation. The ban was a result of his refusal to sign a Turkish Chess Federation document stating that he is responsible for all financial consequences of his participation in chess tournaments abroad. Further, that he will "act in accordance with the responsibilities of a national athlete" and won't commit "any activity against the Turkish Republic."

In 2013, San Francisco banned chess at the corner of Fifth and Market streets, where chess had been played for over 30 years. The San Francisco Police Department came by and confiscated all the chess sets, chess clocks, chairs, and tables were dozens of people would gather every day to play chess. Police said the area had become a hotbed for illegal gambling and drug use.

In 2013, at the Cork Congress Chess Open, a 16-year-old player was found to be using a chess program on a smartphone when his opponent, Gabrial Mirza, confronted him in the bathroom, kicking down the cubicle door and physically hauling him out. Mirza received a 10-month chess ban in England for bringing chess into disrepute for his violent conduct, while his 16-year-old opponent was banned for 4 months.

In 2013, Loris Cereda, a former mayor of a town in Italy, was banned from all chess tournaments sponsored by the Italian Chess Federation for cheating. He was accused of using a tiny camera in his glasses and using an earpiece while playing his chess games. He was alleged to have been receiving advice from someone with access to a computer.

In 2013, dozens of chess players were barred from, accused of cheating. One chess teacher, Henry Despres, denied cheating and opened a lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court. He wanted an apology, along with $200,000 damages because of defamation, libel and the loss of chess lessons and book sales.

In 2014, Wesley Vermeulan of the Netherlands was caught cheating by consulting a mobile phone in the bathroom. He was banned for one year by both the Dutch chess federation and FIDE.

In 2015, FIDE banned Garry Kasparov and former FIDE general secretary Ignatius Leong from holding any office or position in FIDE for two years. They were found guilty of violating the FIDE Moral Code as the two made a deal to get Singapore to vote for Kasparov in the FIDE election.

In April 2015, grandmaster Gaioz Nigalidze of Georgia was banned from the Dubai Open for using an electronic device. The device was hide in one of the bathroom cubicles of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club during his sixth-round game with Armenia's Tigran Petrosian. Nigalidze faces a 15-year ban.

In June 2015, Italian amateur Arcangelo Ricciardi was banned from a tournament in Italy for allegedly receiving moves transmitted to him in Morse code by an accomplice. He had a small camera to transmit the moves of each game he played and a device for receiving coded messages.

In January 2016, Stein Bjornsen, a 50-year-old blind Norwegian chess player, was caught cheating when it was discovered that the ear plug that he was using was incompatible with his recorder, but it was capable of receiving messages by Bluetooth. He was banned from Norwegian chess for 2 years.

In February 2016, Sergey Asianov was caught for hiding a smartphone in the bathroom at the Moscow Open. He has banned from organized chess events for one year.

In 2016, a chess organizer and a chess arbiter in India were barred from all chess-related activities for a year for disobeying the orders of the United Karnataka Chess Association. Another player, Rohan Vijay Shandilya, was banned from all chess activities for 3 years for disguising his identity at a chess tournament.

In September 2016, FIDE barred the Bulgarian Chess Federation from any international activity in chess. It also barred Silvio Danailov, former President of the Bulgarian Chess Federation, for 18 months for allegations of possible wrongdoing.

In 2016, Rwanda banned their chess federation as part of efforts to streamline their sports sector. The Rwanda Sports ministry wanted to stop funding 'unrecognized' federations such as the Rwanda Chess Federation. Chess players are banded from organizing or participating in any local or foreign tournaments and will no longer be funded by the government.

In February 2017, an 18-year-old woman chess grandmaster, Dorsa Derakhshani, was kicked off the Iranian national chess team after competing in an international chess tournament (Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival) without a hijab (headscarf). She has been prohibited from competing in national tournaments, and from joining the Iranian national chess team.

In 2016, Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, Sheikh Abdulla al-Sheikh, wanted to ban chess, saying that playing chess is forbidden in Islam. He said that chess encourages gambling and is a waste of time and caused hatred and enmity between players.

On August 25, 2016, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhino was barred from boarding a plane from Moscow to New York. He was on a sanctions lists by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control for allegedly "materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria."

In 2017, grandmaster Zhang Zhong of Singapore and his wife, Woman International Master Li Roufan, were banned from the Asian Zonals. They refused to sign and ratify the Singapore Federation Players Agreement. The couple had 3 days to sign it, and they refused due to the rush and that the agreement was too complicated, with too many clauses, and they needed more time.

In February 2017, 15-year-old Bona Derakhshani was banned from any Iranian chess tournaments because he competed against an Israeli chess player at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. Iran does not recognize the state of Israel, and forbids its competitors from facing off against Israeli rivals at sporting events, including chess.

In February 2017, the women's U.S. chess champion, Nazi Paikidze, was banned from the World Women's Chess Championship in Iran because she refused to wear a headscarf. Other top women chose not to participate because of the strict code to wear a hijab include world number 1 female player and world women's champion Hou Yifan and 2015 women's world champion, Mariya Muzychuk.

On April 12, 2017, a 12-year-old girl was barred from a chess tournament in Putrajaya, Malaysia over a 'seductive' dress. The tournament was the 2017 Malaysian National Scholastic Chess Championship. It was a pretty knee-length dress. The girl was a district chess champion and was unable to find a suitable outfit for the next round due to the timing of the incident. She was told that she could not wear that dress at 10 pm for the next round that start 9 am next morning. The tournament director told her and her mother that she could only wear slacks and not a dress.

Return to Main Page

Please report broken or duplicate links to the Webmaster.

Official Website
Copyright 2017 by William D. Wall
All Rights Reserved

Bill Wall