Chess Beyond the Board: Divya Deshmukh Exposes Sexism in the Game


In a startling revelation, Indian chess prodigy Divya Deshmukh has brought to light the pervasive sexism faced by women players, as she shares her distressing experience during the Tata Steel Masters in Wijk Aan Zee, Netherlands. The 18-year-old International Master, hailing from Nagpur and renowned for her victory in the Asian women’s chess championship, took to social media to address the prevalent misogyny that often shadows the accomplishments of female chess players.

In her candid post, Deshmukh expressed her frustration, recounting how spectators at the tournament fixated on inconsequential aspects such as her hair, clothes, and accent, diverting attention from her strategic prowess on the chessboard. This disturbing revelation sheds light on the challenges female players face beyond the confines of the game, where their achievements are overshadowed by a culture that often trivializes their presence.

“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,” Deshmukh remarked, reflecting the need for a broader conversation on gender equality within the chess community.

About Divya Deshmukh Exposes Sexism in the Game:

The incident underscores a larger issue within the chess world, revealing a persistent gender bias that hinders the recognition and respect due to female players. Despite their intellectual prowess and accomplishments, women in chess often find themselves subjected to inappropriate scrutiny and commentary that extends beyond their moves on the board.

Deshmukh’s decision to speak out serves as a crucial step towards dismantling the barriers that women in chess face. The chess community must confront these issues head-on, fostering an environment where players are evaluated solely based on their skills and achievements, rather than on irrelevant and discriminatory criteria.

As the story gains traction, it prompts a collective reflection on the urgent need for systemic changes in the chess community. Addressing and eradicating sexism within the spectator culture is paramount to ensuring that female players receive the respect and recognition they rightfully deserve.

Divya Deshmukh’s courageous stand against sexism in chess serves as a rallying cry for a more inclusive and respectful environment within the game. Her experiences shed light on the broader issue of gender bias that continues to persist, challenging the chess community to reassess its values and promote equality on and off the board.


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