If the Middle East Were a Chess Match....

Scott Tortorice

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Those lovable Iranians....

If the Middle East Were a Chess Match, the Iranians Would Lose


I mean this literally, not metaphorically. A report from a leading chess website (h/t Ben Katz and Brad Rothschild):
Iranian grandmaster Ehsan Gahem Maghami informed me of his refusal to play against his fourth round opponent, Israeli Fide Master Ehud Shachar. I told Mr. Gahem Maghami that as an organizer of a international sporting competition I could not accede to his request to change the pairings, so that he could play against another player. The presence of five Israeli players in this tournament was known to all participants since Saturday, October 22. It honors our competition, as does the presence of Iranian players and those from about thirty other nationalities. The motto of our Federation is gens una sumus, we are developing in Corsica an awareness of the positive aspects of the chess sport on our youth. Being complicit to any form of segregation would be unworthy, and in total contradiction with the foundations of our sporting activities. So regretfully I have to exclude the player who unfortunately has stuck to his choice, in spite of my entreaties. I regret it, but I could not shirk our responsibilities.
Apparently, Israel and Iran have been going at it in chess for quite some time....
 
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