Hijab and Women’s Chess Championship in Tehran

On September 30, 2016, Israel-First Rupert Murdoch’s CNN reported that “Some of the world’s top female chess players are upset that the next world championship will be held in Iran, where players are expected to wear head scarves.” The news was picked-up by the rest of the anti-Muslim media and added their own lies about the Islamic Republic.

CNN story revolved around Georgia-born American chess champion Nazí Paikidze-Barnes (Jewish) who called for the boycott of Women’s World Chess Championship in Tehran next year.

Susan Polgar (Jewish), former US Grandmaster and the chairperson of FIDE’s Commission for Women’s Chess claims she has not received any complaint from the participants over wearing Hijab during the event to be held in February 2017. She in a statement said that she doesn’t like the “extremists” ruling Iran but that doesn’t mean we should abandon Iranian women who are victims of those rulers.

Iran’s famous female chess player Mitra Hejazipour, 23, who won 2015 Asian continental women’s championship while wearing Hijab, has debunked lies about the so-called persecution of women in Muslim countries.

Hejazipour, an MA student at Tehran University and one of Iran’s five WGMs said: “I understand that it may be difficult for them to wear the hijab, but I want to tell them that if they show understanding and patience, and if they come to Iran, there’s also a positive side to look at. Iran is a beautiful place and has an amazing culture. If Iran can host this event, it will be a big step for us; it will help our women chess players and it will boost women in other sporting fields. It will pave the way for them, too.”

Elham Yazdiha, a Turkey-based Iranian sports journalist, said she was confident Hejazipour’s view reflected the voice of sportswomen in Iran. “Calls for a boycott will only disappoint Iranian women and destroy their hopes,” she said.

Iran’s Chess Federation abides by country’s modest dress code in public places for both men and women. This is the reason Iranian women’s teams in every sports have boycotted international events where wearing Hijab was not allowed. This has affected negatively many women’s sports in Iran.

In spite of Hijab restriction by the Jewish controlled International Sports many Iranian women have competed at international sports events and won medals such as Paralympics Gold Medalist (London Olympics 2012) archer Zahra Nemati, Shirin Gerami, first Iranian triathlete, rifle shooter Lida Fariman, rower Homa Hosseini, Rio Olympic medalist Kamia Alizadeh, and others.

Earlier this year, 188-member World Chess Federation met in Baku, Azerbaijan, and unanimously awarded the 2017 competition to Iranian Chess Federation. the US delegation also voted in favor of the decision. Nearly 60 chess players from around the world are expected take part in the event.

Chess is very popular game in Iran. Some historians even claim chess was invented by Persians.


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