The International Federation evaluates whether they may have some advantage, but in the game physical strength does not matter, only mental ability is taken into account, and therefore biological male gender should not affect
Transgender women will not be able to participate in high-level women’s chess tournaments. The decision has drawn criticism and raised concerns even among cisgender women. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has decided that a player who has converted from male to female “is not eligible to participate in official FIDE events for women” pending a further decision, which could take a maximum of two years. The ruling takes effect Aug. 21, but it has left some in the chess community perplexed, wondering whether biological sex provides any advantage in the game.
The ability to allow transgender women to compete in women’s sports has long been in serious doubt, since a transgender woman still possesses the muscles and strength of a biological male. In chess, however, physical strength has nothing to do with it, only intelligence, and so to think that a trans person might have an advantage because they are biologically male is like arguing that men are potentially more intelligent as such.
Reportedly timeUnder the new rules, transgender players will be able to compete in open tournaments, but will not be able to compete in women-only tournaments. These events were created to encourage more women to participate in the game and celebrate their achievements in a field that has until now been largely dominated by men, with no official tournaments exclusively for male players. Currently, only about 15% of FIDE registered chess players are women, but this is still a record. The game’s popularity among young people has grown in recent years, thanks in part to the Netflix series Queen of Chess, starring Anya Taylor-Joy.
Yosha Iglesias, 35, a French trans woman recognized by FIDE as a woman, called the latest move “heartbreaking.” “There is no biological advantage,” he told the Times. “It’s not about biology, it’s about sociology, psychology and sexism, it’s about aggressiveness” on the part of FIDE,” he added. “They say they are not against transgender people, that they are fighting to protect the female sports, although they don’t care about women’s sports at all,” she concluded.