Fear & Loathing in Sheffield
By now all of British chess is pretty much up to date with T-shirt-gate or Stonewallgate depending on your preferance, so I will try not to belabour the point. Chaos reigned supreme at the time as so often but it does seem quite extraordinary that we still appear to be stalled in an era where dress code or the lack thereof could cause so much consternation. It has been written elsewhere that CJ deMooi’s T-Shirt was ‘overtly political’ and also that it promotes a particular lifestye. It is not and it does not. It is a nationally known slogan that is the focus of a campain by a registered charity to bring attention to prejudice. I also saw it written that spectators had been disturbed by this message. Perhaps they should have read it more carefully. And followed its advice.
Gawain Jones sums this up very well on his website.
(…) that implies that the slogan is a debatable one. Actually I thought that these days such a statement was self-evident but (…) this evidently isn’t the case and therefore more reason for CJ to wear it.
Quite possibly the situation could have been handled more sensitively on both sides, but I was standing with CJ during most of the playoffs and there is no question that he was personally upset, as anyone would be, I don’t doubt that this was NOT the intention of the official who raised the issue but it was the inevitable outcome.
In the aftermath of this, as the situation burst out of control, this website recieved a vitriolic email (also sent to many others involved in English chess) riddled with biased and nasty inflamatory language regarding CJ personally, thus proving that if nothing else the ‘offending’ item of clothing IS capable of smoking out prejudice from the crevices in which it hides. One of chess’s greatest boasts is that it brings people together over the board where the only difference that matters is relative playing strength! It is supposed to promote tolerance and inclusiveness and I believe CJ was trying to do the same. It would have been a triumph for both if this T-Shirt had been worn causing no more than minor passing comment in the same way that one with a charity message raising awareness for cancer would have.