Thousands of people have demanded that Iran be stripped of the right to host the women’s world chess championship because it will force players to compete in hijabs.

At time of writing, 4,000 people had added their names to a petition by the reigning US women’s champion, Nazi Paikidze, who has said she would rather sacrifice her career than submit to Iran’s rules.

Paikidze started the Change.org petition on Monday night, days after giving a heartfelt interview in which she swore to boycott the 2017 Tehran contest.

It has since attracted thousands of supporters, and passed the 4,000 mark on Wednesday night.

It came as voices from national chess federations in countries like England and Denmark said they “deplore” the decision to name Iran as the hosts and want the rules changed. Players in India have also spoken of their discomfort at the rules.

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