March 4, 2024

Another dress code kerfuffle has been dusted off in the world of international chess. The Dutch player Anna-Maja Kazarian, no. 7,765 worldwide among active players, recently revealed that she received a €100 ($111). fine from the International Chess Federation (FIDE) for wearing a pair of Burberry sneakers that a referee at the World Speed ​​and Blitz Championships deemed a “sports shoe” instead of a regular sneaker.

The shoe in question is a Burberry model called the Kingsly. It’s a high-class take on a mix of lower-end PF Flyers and Pro-Keds canvas sneakers. Burberry no longer sells it, but versions of it still float on online resale sites for hundreds of dollars. In both cases, its underlying technology has not been considered cutting edge since the Depression.

The FIDE dress code for the tournament expressly prohibits “sports shoes”, but what that means is not entirely clear. Then Germany’s Elisabeth Pähtz, a grandmaster, Emil Sutovsky, CEO of FIDE, asked on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) about possible inconsistencies in the enforcement of the dress code, he not entirely helpfully clarified that “not all sneakers are banned” and that players should “kindly check the wording” of the rule.

“It’s not something you want to run and do any sports with,” Kazarian said in a December 28 YouTube video about her time at the tournament. “They’re just sneakers, with the Burberry brand. Not that the brand matters, but I thought they were fancy, classy shoes that you don’t use for sports.”

The New York Times reported it various other players got fined at the tournament for sneakers that were too sporty.

Earlier cache collisions

Kazarian is not the first player to get into trouble for the clothes they wore (or refused to wear) at a FIDE tournament.

🧕 In 2017, Argentina’s Carolina Lujan skipped the World Championships because it is being held in Iran and all female players will be instructed to wear hijab head coverings. “I’m not ready to be forced to use it,” she wrote online. “Also, because of the misinformation about their culture, a possible confusion could send us to jail or worse.”

🩳 The same year, Canada’s Chess Federation lodged a complaint with FIDE after Anton Kovalyov chose to forfeit his place in the world championship rather than change out of the shorts in which he had already played for two rounds.

🦺 In 2019, junior world champion Parham Maghsoodloo of India told a commentator that he was not wearing his “lucky” jacket, a black puffer jacket, because “on the first day a referee told me: “Never wear it again!” He suggested that maybe one day he would be so good that they would change the rules for him.


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