Chess world slams ‘gross’ breast enlargement sponsorship

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A sponsorship deal between the governing body of chess and a breast enlargement company has caused fury among female chess players.

Chess governing body FIDE have landed themselves in hot water after announcing a major new sponsorship deal with medical device company Establishment Labs.

FIDE’s deal with the firm, who own Motiva which makes breast implants, will run during 2022.

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In a press release, FIDE said: “The partnership is the first-ever corporate sponsorship agreement specifically aimed at supporting women’s chess events.

“The agreement will continue through 2022, a year that has been designated by FIDE as ‘The Year of Women in Chess’.”

The announcement, however, quickly came under fire from female chess players, reported The Sun.

Speaking anonymously on website Lichess.org, female chess players questioned the message the sponsorship sends.

One player said: “I wonder what’s the message FIDE wants to convey with this partnership.

“We have a sport where men and women can compete on a level playing field which is also free from sexualised uniforms, and our ‘next great move’ is breast enlargement?

“That says a lot about FIDE officials’ view of women.”

Another anonymous source labelled the partnership as “gross”.

Many aren’t angry at FIDE finding sponsorship for the women’s game, but are upset with the choice of sponsorship.

German chess player Elisabeth Paehtz, who is named on the website, outlined what type of sponsorship she would deem sensible for women’s chess.

“The main thing is support for chess,” she said.

“For me personally, I am happy if we have any sponsor for women in chess, and as long as it’s not something connected to gender, racism, or drugs, or anything else like that, I would generally support that sponsor.”

The message from a mixture of named and anonymous women’s chess players is simple: chess relies on brains.

Another anonymous chess player is concerned about the message it sends to the world.

She said: “I believe that sponsorship is hugely important for our game.

“On one hand, it helps us to have more tournaments, to develop chess and attract more players.

“On the other hand, it helps players to have better financial conditions. However, FIDE should be more wise with their choice of sponsors, because it affects which message we are sending to the world.

“I don’t think breast implants is a proper message for our game; chess is a mental game and we care more about our brains than the shape of our body.”

One female chess player told The Guardian: “FIDE does not have a strong track record in empowering women and I find it degrading and humiliating that an activity like chess, which is so cognitive, is being sponsored by a company which primarily profits from women’s insecurities.”

Norwegian chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen stated last year that there needs to be a “change in culture” within the game.

He said: “Chess societies have not been very kind to women and girls over the years. Certainly there needs to be a bit of a change in culture.”

The chess governing body defended its choice of sponsor, telling The Guardian: “FIDE is not encouraging plastic surgery, but if an adult freely makes this choice, our organisation endorses Motiva, a company that has demonstrated its strong commitment towards women.”

This article originally appeared in The Sun and has been reproduced with permission.



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