The defending world champion in chess, Anna Muzychuk will be giving up two of her titles in order to stand by her principles.
Muzychuk specialises in two disciplines of the game, rapid and blitz. The 27-year-old Ukrainian Grandmaster won her championships in Doha, Qatar in 2016. However, this year, she chooses not to defend her wins because of one ground rule – respect for women.
Along with her sister Mariya – who is also a chess player – have refused to go to Saudi Arabia for the nation’s lack of respect towards women. The sisters won’t be allowed in the country if they are not accompanied by a male chaperone and if they don’t wear an abaya.
In a heartbreaking statement, Muzychuk said,
“(I decided) not to play by someone’s rules, not to wear abaya, not to be accompanied getting outside, and altogether not to feel myself a secondary creature.”
“Exactly one year ago I won these two titles and was about the happiest person in the chess world but this time I feel really bad. I am ready to stand for my principles and skip the event, where in five days I was expected to earn more than I do in a dozen of events combined.”
She was hailed as a “hero” on Twitter and soon praises for her flooded the platform.
Anna Muzychuk, #Hero. “In a few days I am going to lose two World Champion titles—one by one. Just because I decided not to go to Saudi Arabia. Not to play by someone’s rules, not to wear abaya, not to be accompanied getting outside—not to feel myself a secondary creature.” pic.twitter.com/qOB6U3QVqR
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) December 27, 2017
I am a saudi and I respect her for what she did. we are tired of western feminists who defend this abuse and call it tradition. stop this ignorance please.
— Danah (@dndnma) December 27, 2017
I am ranked 13 in the world squash rankings and am the only player not to play in a big tournament that’s happening next month in Saudi for the same reasons as Anna and her sister. There was an article written about it in the Times on 20th Oct. #welldoneanna #iwantequality
— Em Whitlock (@em_whitlock) December 27, 2017
— Vivek (@i_Chanakya) December 28, 2017
More power to you, Muzychuk!