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Grandmasters at the opening ceremony of the Sinquefield Cup and Pinned! challenge

By International Master Vitaly Neimer


First, a simple question: does it matter how we dress? Yes, it does. Dressing appropriately is one of the many basic etiquettes not only in chess but in many other fields in life such as work, school, and religion. In top chess tournaments, players are required to observe some type of a dress code, usually business casual or smart casual. World championship contenders usually follow the business or informal dress code.


We can further delve into this question and discover if the clothes you wear have an impact on your performance. Many studies have shown that the way a player dresses can boost confidence and portray you as more powerful to your opponents. This is the so called “dress for success” approach.


In recent years, we have seen more and more incidents where dress code has became an issue. One such incident was named “the shorts episode.” At the 2017 FIDE World Cup, GM Kovalyov forfeited his game because his dress code got attention from the arbiters. The dress code does not only pertain to males but there are also specific standards for women chess players.  Although opinions differ in regards to the dress code rules, one thing can be agreed upon by everyone – if dress code rules are not followed, there will be consequences.


In an effort to highlight the importance of uniform and dress in chess, the World Chess Hall of Fame, in partnership with the Saint Louis Fashion Fund, featured a fashion event called Pinned! A Designer Chess Challenge to showcase six designers and how they imagine a chess player should dress (with assistance from notable chess mentors). This event was in favor of a grand style that included comfort. A chess game can last up to 6 hours and in order to win, a player must dress for the role. After all, how would you checkmate your opponent bothered by your clothes?  For more information on this event and wardrobe expectations for a chess player >


Pinned! A Designer Chess Challenge