Interview with Sava Stoisavljevic on the dress code for chess tournaments
By WGM Anastasiya Karlovich
Anastasiya Karlovich: How did you come up with
the idea to formulate a dress code rule and implement it to the ECU Regulations?
Sava Stoisavljevic: We came up with that idea because we noticed
that during the games many of the players were not wearing proper clothes. There
is dress code in many different sports, and we decided to establish our rules
as well. This is the first European tournament where we are applying those regulations.
I was here during three rounds and I've got an impression that we have to work
much more on those regulations.
The General Secretary of the ECU Sava Stoisavljevic
What do you think, is it acceptable to wear short skirts or open décolletés
in the playing hall?
Décolletés are partly covered in our regulations, which state
that in respect to shirts the second from the top button may also be opened,
in addition to the very top button. But, nothing is written in our rules about
the length of skirts or dresses. There are several special rules in some companies
which put restrictions on the length of skirts and dresses – no shorter
than 5-10 cm above the knees for example. I can see that there are many players
here who wear very short skirts. It's nice to see chess players with short skirts
– they are very pretty girls. But I believe there should still be some
Yes, I have to admit they really wear short skirts. I just want to say that
I heard many comments from spectators, coaches...
[Laughs] No, they didn't complain, but as I said there were lot of comments.
So, the question remains open – I don't know if we should do something
about it or not.
A combination of intelligence and beauty is very attractive advertisement
in women chess. Don't you think that the rules, adopted by the ECU, which
forbid the wearing of mini-skirts, can decrease the attention paid to women
I have to admit that the players I saw here with short skirts looked very nice.
So, in a way they are making chess more attractive for spectators. On the other
hand for many years I've been in the chess world as a player, an arbiter, etc.
Once, when I was working as an arbiter, I warned one player, even though there
were no any rules at that time, because she kept coming to the playing hall
dressed like someone who was going to the beach. I think it's good that we have
started to do something with dress code, and it's very important for the image
of chess. In fact these rules will be more useful during men events. In general,
women take care about their looks and what they wear. There is not a lot of
trouble with women – and in fact and I'm sure there will be no trouble
at all in the future as well. With men the situation is a little bit different.
Anyway the European Championship for men will start in twenty days, and we'll
see what will happen there.
The regulations state that players cannot wear caps or hats, except for
religious reasons. Why did ECU decide to implement this rule?
Participant at a 2010 U-18 Youth Championship
When the Assembly adopted the rules they followed experiences from other organizations.
It's clear that some exceptions must be made for religious reasons. On the other
hand, as an arbiter, I had many situations when I had to check if players had
something under their hats. I can say that one of the reasons for implementing
this rule was to avoid cheating. I know that a player who plays here likes to
wear hats, and during the technical meeting she was looking at me in sorrow.
But what can I do?
The tournament is taking place in Turkey, a country with its own traditions.
If this tournament would be moved to Mallorca, for example, could our players
use a more relaxed dress code or not?
Of course we should respect traditions, depending on which country the tournament
is taking place in. For example in some countries women has to cover hair. In
Europe we don't have such issues in general. But for me there is a bigger question
– what will we do during the summer?
Don't you think that the dress code for women should protect male chess
players, who may be distracted by too open clothes?
It's a funny question and I don't think it can be taken seriously. We didn't
think about that while making the regulations.
The 2012 European Individual Women Chess Championship in Gaziantep became the
first tournament where the ECU
Regulations on Dress Code became available. Here are excerpts:
13.2 Dress rules for the players during the games
In general, players are required to follow the code of casual dressing which
- 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. 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
- for women blouses, turtleneck, T-shirts or polo’s, trousers, jeans
or slacks, skirts, dresses, and appropriate footwear (boots, flats, mid-heel
or high-heel shoes, sneakers with sock) or any other appropriate clothing
- a jacket, vest or sweater, a scarf, as well as jewelry (earrings, necklace,
etc.) coordinated to the outfit may be worn.
- the pieces of the clothing should be crisp, show no excessive wear, no
holes and shall be free of body odor.
- in respect to shirts, the second from the top button may also be opened
in addition to the very top button.
- sunglasses, glasses, neck ties can be worn during the games, no caps or
hats, except for religious reasons.
- in general, this category of appearance demands a pulled-together, harmonious,
complete look with colors, fabrics, shoes, and accessories, for both men and
- national costumes which fit into the generally accepted dress code and
are not offensive or indecent to others can be worn
13.3 Dress rules for the winning players or the winning teams during
- the rules set for these events are valid for a player or any member of
a team, including the captain and the delegation chief who is rewarded by
a prize in the chess event and thus he/she appears and receives the award
in front of the other players and the audience
- such a person shall follow the dress code of 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-) and the equivalent style of
dress for the women players.
- national costumes which are not offensive or indecent to others may be worn.
- it is recommended that teams should be uniformly dressed even if a team
uniform is not available.
- a special set of rules is established for the European Individual Championship
award ceremonies where the dress code is informal which means a suit with
tie, appropriate shoes and the equivalent style of dress for the women player.
National costume may be worn in the event.
13.5 Tournament Officials will have the right to give official warning to any
player not properly attired. The first warning will be a verbal one. When a
player is a member of a team, his/her captain will also be informed. The second
time a player will be in breach with the Dress Code he/she will receive a second
warning. This warning will be confirmed to the player in writing the same day.
When a player is a member of a team, his/her captain will receive a copy of
this warning the same day. The player received the written warning will present
him/herself to the tournament officials, if it is a team player accompanied
by the captain, one hour before the start of the next round. If a player is
then still in breach of the Dress Code he/she can be send back to dress appropriately.
If he/she does not cooperate, he/she will be denied access to the playing area.
13.6 A player not dressed according to the Code can be refused to attend the
opening or closing ceremony. Spectators not properly attired will have to leave
the playing area.