Chess made national headlines this week across all forms of media over the issue of Ngan Koshnitsky's attire in contesting the South Australian state championship against Bob Cowley.
An excerpt from Melbourne's Herald Sun of 1 April states: Robert Crowley (sic) claims he may have won his third State chess championship if his opponent's breasts had not got in the way. Mr. Crowley, 50, claims he was unable to keep his eyes off Ngan Koshnitsky's cleavage. Part-way through the six-round South Australian state contest he complained to organizers about the 24-year-old reigning Australian women's champion's penchant for revealing tops.
The bare flesh - plus the fact that she played "very well" - had cost him the title and prevented him from concentrating on the game, he claimed yesterday. Miss Koshnitsky beat Mr. Crowley 4-2 in last month's competition. She said yesterday that unlike most of her chess-playing counterparts she liked wearing sexy clothes, but said "it shouldn't be an issue at all". His complaint against her manner of dress was nothing more than a stupid excuse for losing. "It makes me angry that he didn't think I was good enough to win," she said. "I believe that most men can't accept losing a game against a woman."
Mr. Crowley, the 1978 and 1992 SA chess champion, said Miss Koshnitsky's clothes were more suited to a disco than a chess game. He had tried to avert his eyes "but it was very hard not to see it (her cleavage). I put my hands across my forehead but that didn't work very well, so now I may consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat," he said. The skimpy top was a " a real distraction for me," he said, adding chess was "difficult enough as it is without extra problems".
Mr. Crowley, who plays for "mental exercise, social interaction, discipline and prestige", said he liked "to be able to think of the game and not be distracted by other things". But he would not say whether he thought Miss Koshnitsky's mode of dress was a deliberate move. Under the laws of chess, it is forbidden to distract or annoy one's opponent.
Miss Koshnitsky, a professional chess player who migrated to Australia four years ago, flies to Malaysia next week to contest the Asian women's championship.
The vice-president of the SA Chess Association, Evelyn Koshnitsky, 82, said her former daughter-in-law won the title of state champion on her own merits. It was Mr. Crowley's problem and not Miss Koshnitsky's if he was distracted by his opponent's dress. "She's just a modern girl," she said.
Here is a link: Official website of the Asian City Championships, where WFM Ngan Phan Koshnitsky is now competing
Here is the: Melbourne Herald Sun Home Page.
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