MeToo in chess: Grandmaster Susan Polgar says she’s faced sexual harassment multiple times

Just days after Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez resigned from the Saint Louis Chess Club after eight women chess players accused the American GM of making unwanted sexual advances at them, Grandmaster Susan Polgar took to Twitter to open up about how deep-rooted and institutionalised sexual misconduct had been in the sport of chess. In a Twitter thread, she said that she had “heard countless horrific stories shared by female chess players about sexual harassment/attack/abuse” over the last 50 years, and added that she herself had been a victim of sexual harrassment multiple times.

She went on to add that she faced ‘wrath’ of powers that be for speaking out.

“No matter how often these situations were brought up, members of the brotherhood were protected… Many of us were even blamed for what happened to us. We must have done something to lead these animals on. Some were chastised for waiting ‘too long’ to report. Countless of us were accused of making things up for publicity/money. Has any predator been banned from chess?” she tweeted on Thursday.

She went on to add: “If the victims spoke up too loudly, they risk retaliation, including being blacklisted for life. There’re many known male chess players who have a history of tormenting female players/coaches/arbiters/organizers/volunteers.. I’m not holding my breath for their punishments.”

She added: “No matter what the costs, we must continue to fight this colossal battle to protect the future generations of female players. Please support the ones who bravely spoke up, no matter how much the other side will try to discredit or smear them.”

So far, at least eight women chess players have accused GM Ramirez of sexual harassment in an article published by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. The allegations against Ramirez first surfaced in public domain when WGM Jennifer Shahade posted a tweet accusing him.

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