Divya Deshmukh accuses spectators of engaging in sexist behavior

Divya Deshmukh expressed that while male players were receiving attention solely for their performance on the chessboard, women were being assessed based on factors unrelated to their abilities in the game

(Chess News) Divya Deshmukh has accused spectators at the recently-concluded Tata Steel Masters in Wijk Aan Zee, Netherlands, of subjecting her to sexist behavior. She mentioned that they “focused on irrelevant things like her hair, clothes, and accent” during the tournament. The 18-year-old International Master from Nagpur, who secured victory in the Asian women’s chess championship last year, took to social media to highlight the routine misogyny faced by women players, elaborating on her unpleasant experience in Wijk Aan Zee.

“I have been wanting to address this for a while but was waiting for my tournament to be over. I got told and also myself noticed how women in chess are often just taken for granted by spectators,” Deshmukh stated. In an Instagram post on Sunday, she shared her disappointment, stating, “Most recent example of this on a personal level would be in this tournament, I played a few games which I felt were quite good and I was proud of them.”

Deshmukh expressed her frustration, noting that while male players receive attention for their performance on the chessboard, women are unfairly judged for aspects unrelated to their abilities in the game. She remarked, “I was quite upset to hear this, and I think is the sad truth that people, when women play chess, they often overlook how good they actually are, the games they play, and their strength.”

Despite finishing 12th in the Challengers section at the Tata Steel Masters, Deshmukh highlighted the disparity in the attention received by male and female players. She emphasized that women players face under-appreciation and often endure unwarranted scrutiny and hatred for non-game-related matters.

“I think women face this on a daily basis, and I’m barely 18. I have faced so much judgment, including hatred over the years for things that don’t even matter. I think women should start getting equal respect,” she added.

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