The offending t-shirt

The president of the English Chess Federation was stopped from presenting prizes at a Chess championship in Sheffield because he was wearing a t-shirt promoting gay rights.

Connagh-Joseph de Mooi, known as CJ de Mooi, was wearing a t-shirt from the British LGBTI rights group Stonewall with the slogan “Some people are gay, get over it” at the Darwin Strategic British Chess Championships.

He was approached by an arbiter, Lara Barnes, who apparently asked him to change his t-shirt before giving out the prizes at the awards ceremony last week.

“They then suggested that it might be better if I just presented prizes to the adults,” De Mooi, who is also a quizzer in the BBC quiz show Eggheads, told the Guardian. “I refused. I was either going to present all the prizes or none at all.”

He ultimately did not take part in the prize giving and watched from among the audience.

“No matter how I try to drag chess into the 21st century, I seem to continually face ‘antediluvian’ attitudes,” De Mooi said in a statement. “If this isn’t what the English Chess Federation wants, please ask me to stand down or vote me out in October.”

Barnes has denied that she asked De Mooi to change the shirt but admitted that she had reservations about the slogan.

“I didn’t think that promoting gay rights, which I thoroughly agree with, while presenting prizes to junior chess players was an appropriate thing,” she said.

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