Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The International Chess Federation, the governing body for the game, has updated its rules to temporarily ban transgender women from competing in women's events pending further analysis.
The organization, known by its French acronym FIDE, quietly updated its handbook this week to state that a player who has changed their gender from male to female "has no right to participate in official FIDE events for women until further FIDE's decision is made."
"Such decision should be based on further analysis and shall be taken by the FIDE Council at the earliest possible time, but not longer than within two years period. There are no restrictions to play in the open section for a person who has changed gender," the handbook reads.
The handbook also notes that a player who holds any women's titles but whose gender has been changed to a man would lose those titles, which will be renewed if the person changes back their gender. Players who changed their gender from male to female can retain their titles.
FIDE further said it has the right to "inform the organizers and other relevant parties" about a player's gender change to prevent players "from possible illegitimate enrollments in tournaments."
"FIDE recognizes that this is an evolving issue for chess and that besides technical regulations on transgender regulations further policy may need to be evolved in the future in line with research evidence," the handbook reads.
The ban is raising questions about why competitions are separated by gender at all.
The Center for Trans Equality said in a statement posted on the platform formerly known as Twitter that the new policy "relies on ignorant anti-trans ideas" and is "insulting to cis women, to trans women and to the game itself."
"It suggests that males are somehow strategically better," Richard Pringle, a sociology professor at Monash University in Australia told The Washington Post. "It's not just transphobic, it's anti-feminist too."
Pringle added that the ban was "likely a political decision rather than an issue of fairness."