Chess pros slam “inhumane” FIDE for fining player over her shoes at World Championships

Michael Gwilliam
chess pro fined over her shoes

FIDE, the international world chess federation, is under fire after Anna-Maja Kazarian was fined over her choice of shoes, which she says completely ruined the World Chess Championships for her.

The 2023 FIDE World Rapid Chess Championships kicked off on December 26 with Magnus Carlsen winning his sixth title while Anastasia Bodnaruk secured the women’s crown, but the event was hardly without drama.

On December 27, Anna-Maja Kazarian revealed that she had been stopped by an arbiter over her “strange shoes” and was asked to change out of her Burberry sneakers.

Shortly thereafter, she was fined 100 euros for her choice of clothing, forcing her to change shoes and leaving the chess star feeling “absolutely devastated.” Needless to say, the rest of the chess community wasn’t happy either.

AMKazarian fined for shoes
These shoes resulted in a 100 Euro fine.

Chess stars blast FIDE after female player fined over her shoes

Former Women’s Chess Champion Susan Polgar was instantly put off after hearing the news about Kazarian being fined.

“This (Burberry) shoes from a female player, were NOT allowed, and she said she was fined 100 euros,” she said before taking aim at how male players were reportedly treated differently. “But there were photos of male players wearing sneakers, and they were not penalized. Why the double standards?”

YouTuber GothamChess also took issue with the fine calling it “insanity” while Kick streamer GM Hikaru reposted Kazarian’s comments remarking, “Some animals are clearly more equal than others.”

In a video, Kazarian revealed that her fine could be lifted in the future, but at the event, she had to travel back to her hotel, change shoes and come back to compete, noting that the experience had taken a toll on her mental state.

She further addressed concerns that she was blowing the incident out of proportion and “milking” it for relevance.

“Besides my entire tournament being ruined by FIDE, I slept very poorly and had no appetite all day. Just for some stupid shoes issue. This is not a joke and if you consider me bringing attention to this ‘milking’, you’re inhumane just like FIDE,” she shot back.

This is hardly the first time chess drama has sparked this big of a response. Earlier this year, Hikaru was accused of cheating after breaking the Blitz rating record after going on a massive winning streak.