This past Tuesday I went to the Mechanics Institute to play chess and I wish I hadn’t. My boyfriend had gotten me a membership to the library just to play and I was really excited. But, unfortunately, I had an awful experience. I was plainly discriminated against and blocked from entering the tournament for amazingly bullshit reasons.
First, a man refused to move out of my way and thus prevented me from setting down my things. I couldn't believe he literally refused to move! Then, my opponent objected to the “ size of my pieces.” I’ve never, in my life, heard someone complain about using standard, well-weighted and tournament-ready pieces. It was obvious that he detested me and just wanted any excuse to have a problem with me. I couldn’t believe this behavior. Especially because I was given the Black pieces and the Black pieces get to choose what equipment we use. Those are the rules, within USCF standards. And I chose such equipment.
Size. The king’s height should be 3⅜ to 4½ inches. The cross (or other king’s finial) should occupy no more than 20% of the total height of the king. The diameter of the king should be 40 to 50% of the height. The other pieces should be proportionate in height and form. All pieces should be well-balanced for stability and comfortable moving.” — USCF Official Rules of Chess, FIfth Edition.
Read that? See this picture of my set’s two kings? Well you can clearly see that the base fits within the square therefor it’s ≤ 2. And since the height is 4” that shows my diameter to be 40-50% of the height. So, not only does my set fit within all the criteria but the reason I need to use it, “ for stability and comfortable moving”, seems at the core of the rules themselves.
I did nothing wrong and was clearly bullied out of an event in a library of which I am a member. The chess set in question was a completely standard set. It is actually called "The Best Chess Set Ever." Ha!
But what is my word worth anyway? How about the words of the bullies themselves? This livestream was going on while they were kicking me out. I’ve linked to where they start talking about the incident. Notice how Judit says
I could see with an opponent who was more open and accepting it wouldn’t of been a problem.
And the guy in the middle, the head TD, he just straight up admits that their kicking me out
actually had nothing to do with chess.
Women are treated as second-class citizens in the chess world. Men just refuse to play me most of the time. They refuse to believe I'm an expert. The female TD who was initially helping me, her ruling was apparently worth nothing as her male superior quickly raced in to support his fellow man! He didn’t reverse the decision. He didn't even try to pretend I was being kicked out for the size of my pieces. He was set on me leaving before he even talked to me. That much was clear. He immediately grabbed my arm without even introducing himself and when I objected he told me I was “ causing a disturbance and need to leave. He ended up calling the police on me. Here I am a member of this private library and the first visit I make they are saying I’m trespassing?! If anyone is leaving it should be the guy touching women against their will for reasons actually not having to do with chess.