In the wake of the Ramirez scandal, which tarnished the reputation of the Saint Louis Chess Club, as well as the US Chess, it has become clear that neither organization intends to take any responsibility for their failures to protect women and girls from predators such as Alejandro Ramirez and Timur Gareyev – as have been well documented by Lichess.org and by this WSJ article.
In the initial scurry to seem as though they were addressing real problems, it was not clear at first that, in addition to avoiding any real accountability, the US Chess intended to double-down on their response. But on social media, multiple executive board members, including President Randy Bauer and the newest EB member Leila D’Aquin, have continued to argue that their response to the many allegations, including those from Jennifer, were “timely and appropriate” – as erroneously concluded by an anonymous third party (i.e. an expensive law firm protecting their liability) paid for by the dues paying members. As noted by the Lichess.org article, it is not just Jennifer Shahade but another victim of Ramirez who vehemently object to this characterization.
Jennifer Shahade’s tweet that exposed Alejandro Ramirez as a predator was a watershed moment for women sharing stories of abuse and harassment in chess communities around the world. One of my own friends, who has not been active in the chess world for many years, shared her story with me of predatory actions by a coach when she was underage. I encouraged my friend to file a Safe Play report.