The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has banned transgender women from participating in its women’s competitions, citing the need for “further analysis”.
The move has sparked backlash by some players and enthusiasts, although FIDE said the imposition of the ban is temporary.
Several sports governing bodies have been working on policies towards transgender players, but chess does not involve comparable levels of physical activity.
Meanwhile, FIDE told the BBC it wanted to analyse the impact of these policies and did not want to rush this process.
“The transgender legislation is rapidly developing in many countries and many sport bodies are adopting their own policies.
“FIDE will be monitoring these developments and see how we can apply them to the world of chess. Two years is a scope of sight that seemed reasonable for the thorough analyses of such developments,” adding that transgender athletes could still compete in the open section of its tournaments.
A transgender woman professional chess player, Yosha Iglesias, with the FIDE rank of chess master, said the policy would lead to “unnecessary harm” for trans players and women.
“This appalling situation will lead to depression and suicide attempts,” the trans said.
Woman Grandmaster and two-time US Women’s Champion Jennifer Shahade also criticised the FIDE decision, saying the policy was “ridiculous and dangerous”.
“It’s obvious they didn’t consult with any transgender players in constructing it… I strongly urge FIDE to reverse course on this and start from scratch with better consultants,” she said.