PETALING JAYA: An incident that resulted in the withdrawal of a 12-year-old girl from a local chess tournament has taken social media by storm.
At the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017, which took place in Putrajaya recently, the girl was informed that what she wore was “improper and had violated the dress code” for the tournament.
This was revealed by the girl’s chess coach, Kaushal Khandhar, who has represented Malaysia in international competitions.
Taking to Facebook on Thursday, Kaushal wrote that the girl felt “harassed and humiliated by the actions of the Tournament Director and Chief Arbiter” for the tournament.
“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 wrote on FB.
The FB post has since been shared about 1,500 times (as of this morning) as the reaction to his post ranged from sympathy for the girl to absolute outrage against the tournament officials, and calls for action against the officials and organiser.
Kaushal said after discussions with the chief arbiter, the girl was allowed to compete, provided she bought a pair of slacks for the next day, but that decision came at 10pm and with the event at Putrajaya, there was no way the girl’s mother could buy anything for the 9am start the next 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 realised he knew all the details on 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, adding that the situation led to the inevitable decision of withdrawal from the tournament altogether.
Saying this was the first time he had encountered such a situation in his two decades of participating in chess tournaments in the country, Kaushal called for the tournament officials to issue a public apology within the next few days, failing which legal action would be taken.
“This incident has resulted in loss of time and money which was invested before, during and after the tournament on coaching, registration fees, travelling, 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 adding that he was absolutely disgusted by the treatment of the 12-year-old girl and her mother.
“This should be the first and last time this kind of issue ever appears, I or anyone of us should never accept this in our chess community.”
Meanwhile, The Star quoted the girl’s mother, Chin Wai Ling, as saying that the chief arbiter told her the tournament director had made the directive due to the venue for the tournament, which took place from April 14 to 16.
“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.
“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,” she told the daily, adding that her efforts were in vain.