Doha: The world chess body (FIDE) is committed to rejecting discriminatory treatment for national, political, racial, social or religious reasons or on account of gender by its own statutes, but it has opted to maintain a double standard by rejecting visas from Qatari and Iranian players for the World Rapid and Blitz Championships in Riyadh.
FIDE's stance on tackling discrimination as mentioned in its Statute 1.2 says, "FIDE events (competitions, congresses, meetings) may be hosted only by Federations where free access is generally assured to representatives of all Federations."
The Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) has also weighed in with concerns about the four-day event, due to start on December 26.
"Record budget will surely help FIDE to neglect the fact Iranian and Qatari players are not allowed to enter," ACP President Emil Sutovsky wrote on his Facebook post.
World champion Magnus Carlsen, the winner in 2014, is expected to attend after finishing runner-up to the Russian Sergey Karjakin last year in Doha.
But among the big names who won't be there are double women's world champion Anna Muzychuk and the American Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, a renowned specialist at playing in short time controls.
"Chess is a game where all different sorts of people can come together, not a game in which people are divided because of their religion or country of origin," tweeted world No.10 Hikaru Nakamura, who won't be participating in the competition.
Muzychuk also announced she will not be traveling to Riyadh.
"Despite of the record prize fund, I am not going to play in Riyadh what means losing two world champion titles. To risk your life, to wear abaya all the time??," Muzychuk tweeted.