A 12-year-old girl was reportedly forced to withdraw from a local chess tournament in Malaysia after organizers deemed her clothes “improper and had violated the dress code” for the tournament.
The incident, which happened during the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017 in the city of in Putrajaya, has sparked outrage on social media after girl’s chess coach Kaushal Khandhar posted about it on Facebook on Thursday.
The coach, who has represented Malaysia in many international competitions, wrote that the girl felt “harassed and humiliated by the actions of the Tournament Director and Chief Arbiter.”
“In the middle of Round 2, (without stopping the clocks) Chief Arbiter informs my student that the dress she wore was improper and violated the dress code of the tournament. It was later informed (by Chief Arbiter) to my student and her mother, that the Tournament Director deemed my student’s dress to be ‘seductive’ and a ‘temptation from a certain angle far, far away,’” Kaushal posted.
Malaysian netizens reacted with outrage toward the tournament officials while expressing sympathy for the young girl, Free Malaysia Today reports.
According to the coach, after he argued with the chief arbiter, it was decided that the girl will be allowed to compete if she can get a pair of slacks for the next day. The problem was that the decision was arrived at by 10 p.m., which made it impossible for the girl’s mother to buy anything for the 9 a.m. start the following day.
“Before the morning round next day, my student’s mother called the tournament director regarding this matter. Initially, he had replied that he was not aware of the situation but after a brief discussion, we realized he knew all the details of this incident prior to this phone call.
“He promised to return the call upon discussion with the chief arbiter, but this did not happen. He would further not answer or return any calls by my student’s mother,” Kaushal wrote.
He further noted that the situation had caused them to finally withdraw from the tournament, which was held from April 14 to 16. Kaushal said that in his two decades of participating in chess tournaments in the country, it was the first time that he encountered such a situation.
“This incident has resulted in loss of time and money which was invested before, during and after the tournament on coaching, registration fees, traveling, accommodation and other incurred costs.
“This bright young girl was recently the champion of her district in MSS Kuala Lumpur and has shown tremendous potential in chess. This incident has left her extremely disturbed, and embarrassed,” he said.
The coach then said he is seeking a public apology from the tournament officials within the next few days or else he would take legal action.