Israeli grandmaster punished by FIDE for sexist statements

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 Israeli grandmaster punished by FIDE for sexist statements

54-year-old Israeli grandmaster Ilya Smirin was invited to broadcast live during the ninth round of the Women's Chess Grand Prix in Astana, according to the BBC.

Ilya Smirin, a native of Belarus , immigrated to Israel in 1991, won the country's champion title three times and was among the twenty best chess players in the world.

During the broadcast, the grandmaster began to argue about why the Chinese chess player Zhu Jin'er should become a grandmaster “like a man”, they say, “she is already an international master.”

And he immediately admitted that he had said that “maybe chess — this is not a woman's business”.

These comments provoked a strong reaction from co-host Smirina – Fiona Steil-Antoni. She was joined by a number of well-known chess players, in particular, ex-world champion among women Zsuzsa Polgar, who called on Smirin to apologize publicly.

“I have known grandmaster Smirin for more than three decades, – she added. “ I have always had a good relationship with him and I respect his game. Hope it's just a bad day. I'll be very disappointed if he really thinks so.

“While we deeply respect Grandmaster Ilya Smirin as a chess player, the views he expresses live are completely unacceptable, offensive and contrary to FIDE values,” – according to the official statement of the International Chess Federation. “We offer our unconditional apologies to everyone who was offended by his remarks. Moreover, from this moment on Grandmaster Smirin ceases to be a FIDE commentator”.

The chess player noted in a commentary for the BBC that he was a little puzzled because he 'didn't mean to offend or offend anyone'. He also added that he understands the decision to suspend him, but hopes “common sense will prevail”.

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