Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Following the completion of an international tournament, Indian chess star Divya Deshmukh has called out ‘rampant sexism’ in the sport in a recent social media post.

The International Master, who has a standard rating of 2420, expressed her dismay at the way women in the sport are treated by fans.

“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. 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,” wrote Deshmukh.

“I got told by people how the audience was not even bothered with the game but instead focused on every single possible thing in the world: my clothes, hair, accent and every other irrelevant thing. 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. I was quite disappointed to see how everything was discussed about in my interviews (by the audience) except my games, very few people paid attention to it and it is quite a sad thing,” the 18-year-old chess star further wrote.


A post shared by Divya Deshmukh (@divyachess)

“I felt it was unfair in a way because if I go to any guy’s interview there would be way less judgement on a personal level, actual compliments about the game and the player. I feel women are under appreciated and every irrelevant thing is focused on and hated on while guys would probably get away with the same things. I think women face this on a daily basis and I’m barely 18. I have faced so much judgement including hatred over the years for things that don’t even matter. I think women should start getting equal respect,” the promising player added.