PETALING JAYA: A 12-year-old’s dress was deemed “seductive” and “a temptation from a certain angle far, far away”, and so she was forced to withdraw from a chess championship in Putrajaya.
Malaysian chess player and coach Kaushal Khandhar said the incident happened at the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017 on April 14, when his student was told that her dress was “improper”.
Kaushal said the tournament director would not allow the girl to wear a similar dress for the next round.
The girl’s mother, Chin Wai Ling, said the director’s pronouncement was only made around 10pm when shops were closing, so she did not have time to buy long slacks for the following day’s 9am start time.
“This situation led to the inevitable decision of withdrawing from the tournament,” Kaushal said in a statement on his Facebook page.
When contacted, the tournament director said an investigation is underway. However, he declined to comment further.
“We are absolutely disgusted by the treatment of the tournament director of a 12-year-old girl and her mother,” Kaushal said.
“This incident has resulted in a loss of time and money invested before, during and after the tournament in coaching, registration fees, travel, accommodation and other incurred costs,” he said.
His student, whom he called “a bright young girl”, was the Kuala Lumpur district chess champion and showed tremendous potential in the game.
Kaushal said the girl felt “harassed and humiliated” by the actions of the tournament director and chief arbiter.
“This incident has left her extremely disturbed and embarrassed,” he said.
The girl was informed of her “improper” dressing in the middle of the second round of the tournament, without stopping the clock.
“My daughter was shocked after her game was interrupted by the chief arbiter,” said Chin.
“From that point onwards, she said all she could think of was whether anyone was peeping (at her) throughout the game,” she said.
When Chin was told about her daughter’s dress code violation, she said she was appalled.
“I tried to explain to the chief arbiter that I only brought three dresses of similar length for the three-day event, and the fact that she had tights on. So nothing was revealed. I tried to reason,” said Chin.
But despite the explanation, Chin said she was asked to find her daughter something else to wear for the next round in the morning.
“The tournament director told him (the chief arbiter) that the school will not allow the children to use the hall if we were to turn up in a dress,” she said.
Chin said she called the tournament director regarding the matter before the next round, and that he promised to call back after discussing the issue with the chief arbiter.
“He promised to return our call, but he did not. He did not answer our call. He did not reply our e-mail until I forwarded it to every member of the Malaysian Chess Federation,” she said.
Chin said the dress code for the tournament is based on the World Chess Federation (FIDE) Laws of Chess requiring participants to have a “dignified appearance”, but no illustrative dress code guidelines were given out to participants before the tournament.
She said her daughter withdrew from the competition under duress and asked for a formal apology from the tournament director.