Ilya Smirin, the Belarusian-born grandmaster who has represented Israel since 1992, has been relieved of his commentary position by the Worldwide Chess Federation after he advised on air that the sport is “possibly not for girls.

Smirin, 54, additionally drew criticism for praising one other feminine participant for likening optimistic strikes made by her to these doubtlessly made by a person throughout the ninth spherical of the Girls’s Grand Prix on Tuesday in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Smirin’s preliminary feedback have been referencing Chinese language participant Zhu Jiner, who’s a feminine grandmaster – a title thought-about decrease than that of a grandmaster, which is the best title {that a} male or feminine participant can attain.

Grandmaster is reserved for gamers who can declare a ranking or 2,500 or above, whereas feminine grandmaster requires a barely decrease rating of two,300.

Smirin’s offending feedback have been made throughout a dialogue as as to whether or not Zhu Jiner might develop her play to changing into a full grandmaster, throughout which he stated: “She’s a lady grandmaster or what?… Why she needs to be like males grandmaster on this case?”

He went on to counsel that he additionally believes that “chess is possibly not for girls.”

Fiona Steil-Antoni, his co-commentator, questioned him, saying, “You are saying, you recognize, ‘chess is possibly not for girls’.”

“I did not say it brazenly… in personal, personal dialog,” responded Smirin.

He additionally drew criticism for feedback made about one other feminine participant, Aleksandra Goryachkin, who holds full grandmaster standing – stating that she had been “taking part in like a person.”

“She performed in Russia tremendous ultimate,” he added. “Small minus she made, however it was a really robust match. She additionally had like 2,600 plus ranking.”

“What does that need to do with taking part in like a person, solely males can play effectively?” Steil-Antoni replied.

“No, no,” Smirin stated. “However she’s taking part in in fashion, positional fashion… However OK, I am at all times curious, why can girls play amongst males however males can’t play with girls in girls tournaments? Fascinating query.”

Smirin’s feedback have been shortly seized upon by high-profile members of the feminine chess group.

“Gross to see such sexism within the broadcast for a girls’s occasion… Fiona did an important job in an uncomfortable convo she by no means ought to have been in,” stated US girls’s chess champion Jennifer Shahade.

Feminine Grandmaster Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova additionally rebuked Smirin: “Is not it a pure type of discrimination? How can such a person work within the official @FIDE_chess broadcast of such an essential girls’s occasion?”

Responding to the furor, FIDE – the governing physique of world chess – known as Smirin’s appraisal of feminine gamers “very embarrassing”.

“Though we now have nice respect for Grandmaster Ilya Smirin as a chess participant, the views he expressed on air are utterly unacceptable, offensive, and don’t signify any of the values that FIDE stands for,” it stated in an announcement.

It additionally confirmed that he has been faraway from his commentary duties with quick impact. 

Smirin, although, says that he’s shocked by the wave of criticism he has acquired, claiming that he didn’t say something “actually unhealthy” and objected to accusations that he’s “sexist.”

“However what I stated throughout the broadcasts was maybe barely rude however nothing extra,” he stated to the BBC

“And probably the most of it clearly was a joke. If we’ll proceed like that, the very phrases ‘man’ and ‘girl’ threat to vanish moderately quickly. I need to stress that I didn’t need to harm anybody, I really like and respect chess and ladies. And I don’t like hypocrisy.”

He added that he hopes “frequent sense will prevail” and he’ll have the ability to return to his commentary duties earlier than lengthy. 

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