Clothes maketh the chessplayer?

The European Chess Union (ECU), now under the control of Topalov’s notorious manager, Silvio “Danny-Boy” Danailov, met the other week, during the European Team Championships, for its annual congress. Amongst the various measures passed was a dress code for all official ECU events. Inter alia, this provides the following:

“for men dress trousers or jeans, a long-sleeve or shirt-sleeve dress shirt, alternatively T-shirt or polo, loafers or dressy slip-ons, socks, shoes or sneakers (no beach-wear slips, etc.) and, if appropriate, a sport coat or blazer.”

In itself, this is all very well, although some might raise their eyebrows at jeans and trainers being permitted. However,  the next sentence, I fear, could spell the end of the chess careers of a great many players:

“The trousers, the jeans as well as the shirts and polo’s worn should be crisp and show no excessive wear, no holes and shall be free of body odor.”

Does Danny Boy realise what he is doing? Clothes shall be free of body odour?? I realise that the traditions of the game are deeply offensive to this man and his cronies, but surely there are some limits? Is nothing sacred? For many professionals, especially those of a certain generation and geographical origin, wearing the same shirt every day for a month is an essential part of their chess armoury, without which their FIDE ratings are likely to plunge by 100 points or more. Requiring them to smell significantly better than the average polecat will be the death-knell to their chess careers. They will be reduced to begging on the streets.

“Of course, if he takes on f6, it’s mate in sixteen”

No, surely this is a step too far. Quickplay finishes is one thing, Armageddon blitz playoffs we can tolerate (just), 12-game world championship matches, though hopelessly inadequate for the purpose, are still acceptable. But banning body odour? There we must draw our line in the sand!  Never in the field of chessboard conflict was so dire an offence perpetrated, by so few, against so many.   I say to all our unwashed pawn-pushing comrades, “I despise what you smell like, but I will defend to the death your right to smell like it!” To Danny-Boy and co, I say “Hands off our malodorous colleagues! Go forth from this place, and take your soap and water with you!.

In short, my message to Danny Boy is this:  B.O. Bog off!

PS. Reading further, I am beginning to wonder if these dress code regulations may not have some merit after all. The section on dress code for prize-giving events provides that the required dress shall be “business casual (or by another name elegant casual) which means long trousers, shirt, jacket, with or without tie (no t-shirts, no polo, no jeans, no sports shoes or sneakers or slippers, no hats or caps -except for religious reasons)”. CJ de Mooi, please note…

 

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