The Turkish Chess Federation (TSF) stated on Jan. 3 that it has launched legal proceedings against a Turkish televangelist who recently claimed that playing chess is more sinful than gambling.
“The remarks of the person in question on chess in a video are unacceptable and have drawn a reaction from our community. Legal proceedings have been launched into the baseless comments and evaluations that affect thousands of our players and families, at a time when we most need the unity, peace and the philosophy of chess,” the TSF said in a written statement.
It also pointed to the history of chess in Turkey by giving examples of support from a number of statesmen.
“Chess is a sport that has been played by many statesmen and leaders on this soil throughout history. Our precious statesmen have provided the biggest support to make Turkey a chess country, and they continue to contribute to spread this love with their words, the chess sets they deliver, and the events they attend,” it added.
The statement came in response to Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü, popularly known as “Cübbeli Ahmet Hoca” (Robbed Ahmet Hoca), who recently raised eyebrows by claiming that chess players were “cursed” and that “most people who played chess are liars.”
“Playing chess is worse than gambling and eating pork ... People who play chess are more prone to lying than others. People who play chess may not say the shahada [declaration of Islamic belief] while they are dying,” Ünlü said.