A chess commentator has been sacked by the International Chess Federation for making sexist comments. Ilya Smirin was broadcasting live during the ninth round of the Women’s Grand Prix on Tuesday.
The Israeli grandmaster admitted on air he had said chess is “maybe not for women” – and also seemingly praised a woman for playing like a man.
The federation apologised and called Mr Smirin’s comments offensive and embarrassing.
Belarusian-born Mr Smirin – who was once ranked one of the world’s top 20 players – was making his debut as an English-language commentator in Astana, Kazakhstan.
He was initially speaking about one of the competitors, Chinese chess player Zhu Jiner. She is a woman grandmaster, which is a separate, lower title to that of grandmaster.
All chess players – men and women – can become grandmasters, which is the highest title a chess player can attain, if they have a rating of 2,500 and above. The very top female chess players have this title. The woman grandmaster title is only for women and requires a lower rating of 2,300.