UPDATE Oct 7: The petition has now passed 7,500 signatures. Heat Street tried to get a response from FIDE’s press office, but they dodged the question.
Original Oct 6:
Thousands of people have demanded that Iran be stripped of the right to host the women’s world chess championship because it will force players to compete in hijabs.
At time of writing, 4,000 people had added their names to a petition by the reigning US women’s champion, Nazi Paikidze, who has said she would rather sacrifice her career than submit to Iran’s rules.
It has since attracted thousands of supporters, and passed the 4,000 mark on Wednesday night:
It came as voices from national chess federations in countries like England and Denmark said they “deplore” the decision to name Iran as the hosts and want the rules changed. Players in India have also spoken of their discomfort at the rules.
In the text of the petition, Paikidze attacks the international chess federation (FIDE) for going against its own principles, which include opposing “discriminatory treatment for… religious reasons or on account of sex.”
She and the other signatories demand that FIDE either changes hosts completely, or seeks assurances that women will be allowed to say and wear what they like.
Her cause has been supported by other chess stars, including former world champion Garry Kasparov:
You can sign US champion Paikidze's petition against hosting the women's world chess championship in Iran: https://t.co/FYKOrjQQsI
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) October 7, 2016
Kasparov earlier retweeted a Heat Street story about her stand, and English grandmaster Nigel Short has encouraged people to sign the petition.
Heat Street contacted FIDE for comment, but has yet to receive a response.
But leading members have been adamant that Iran will be the host.
Susan Polgar, who chair’s the organisation’s women’s committee, tried to silence Paikidze when she complained on social media.
She also tried to placate players by pointing out that if they submit to the hijab laws there are “beautiful choices” of fabric available.