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US Chess Federation Sued for Homeschool Discrimination Ahead of 'Super-Nationals'

The United States Chess Federation was recently sued by a group of angry parents who alleged the organization was discriminating against their children. No, this had nothing to do with the white pieces always going first, but rather, the parents allege discrimination for their children being homeschooled. While homeschooling does not necessarily entitle a person to protection from discrimination, if there is a religious reason behind the decision to homeschool, that could amount to religious discrimination.

The lawsuit came about after the US Chess Federation (USCF) refused to allow a team of home schooled kids to participate in their "Super-Nationals" tournament this coming weekend. Last year, USCF disqualified one member of the same team of homeschooled children from a non-super national chess competition over a minor rules violation raised by a competing team's coach (that also happened to be a USCF board member). Due to the rules violation, the team dropped from 3rd to 9th place.

Grand Master Behaving Badly?

The USCF supported the disqualification on the basis that one of the team's members, if not homeschooled, would have attended a different school than the other team members. The USCF's rules are rather vague, but arguably supported disqualification on this point. However, after the disqualification, and prior to this weekend's "Super-Nationals" competition, the child who lived outside the school district actually moved, along with his parents, into the same district as his team members.

Nevertheless, last month, the USCF denied the team's appeal to be allowed to compete this weekend. That's when the parents decided to file a lawsuit, as there was no good explanation why their children were being denied the opportunity to compete after satisfying the rules' requirements. The lawsuit contains rather harsh allegations that the USCF arbitrarily enforced its rules to the detriment of children who are homeschooled due to their parents' religious convictions.

However, reviewing the roster for the Blitz K-9 section of this weekend's "Super Nationals" tournament reveals that children with the same initials from the lawsuit and last names of the parents involved in the lawsuit are registered to participate. This coupled with the fact that a request for a voluntary dismissal was filed yesterday means that the case very likely settled, or minimally, the parents dropped it after getting what they wanted.

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