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January 5, 2016 2:31 pm

Iranian Chess Player Refuses to Compete Against Israeli in International Tournament

avatar by David Daoud

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Israel chess pro Yuliya Shvayger. Photo: Wikipedia.

Israeli chess pro Yuliya Shvayger. Photo: Wikipedia.

An Iranian chess grandmaster refused to compete against an Israeli player at a tournament in Switzerland this week, Iran’s semi-official state news agency Mehr reported on Tuesday.

According to Mehr, during the fifth round of the international 2016 Basel Schachfestival chess competition, Ehsan Ghaem-Maghami declined the match against Yuliya Shvayger in order to “reject the existence of the Zionist state [and] to announce to the world the voice of justice and support for the oppressed people of Palestine.”

Shvayger was born in Ukraine and has played for Israel since 2012.

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  • Mark

    What a woeful excuse!!!

    He had the opportunity to beat her and dedicate his win to the Palestinian people.

    Clearly a coward and a loser.

    Then again maybe he knew he was at risk of a public lynching which Iranians are fond of which would presumably be the punishment for the double crime of losing to a woman and a Jew.

    By the way doesnt he realise that Palestians are the biggest Palestinian human rights abusers.

  • Robert John Bennett

    So then what happened? Did the Iranian have to forfeit the match?

  • jeb stuart

    Sounds more like the Iranian got cold feet and just didn’t want to get a beating in public because they are afraid of Jews. The bigotry of Iranians is so pronounced they ascribe a magnificent malfeasance to Jews as though they are some ultimate evil, how could a mere Muslim beat a Jew?
    It is not simply a disdain of Zionism it is racism on display. I would make some clucking sounds and jibe the “grandmaster” of Iran and Shiite Islam but it might be misunderstood as Islamphobia instead of the playful taunt meant requiring they attack me violently.

  • Reuven

    He was excluded from the rest of the tournament.

  • Greg Holloway

    They were afraid of getting their butts kicked. GO ISRAEL!

  • Wendy Leibowitz

    Ehsan is male. This is not the first time he has refused to play an Israeli, and I assume he has forfeited the match: Accoridng to Wikipedia: “In October 2011, Ehsan Ghaem-Maghami was expelled from the Corsica Masters in Bastia, France for refusing to play in his scheduled match against Israeli player Ehud Shachar. Ghaem-Maghami told organizers he would not play the Israeli for political reasons. The Islamic Republic of Iran, which refuses to recognize the existence of the Jewish state, has long refused to engage in sports competition against Israel.”
    So stupid and prejudiced–everyone knows you can’t choose your opponent in sports.

  • David

    Wouldn’t playing her and beating her have been more effective to his position of supposed superiority? What a hypocrite.
    He was afraid of what his bosses would have done to him had he lost to 1. An Israeli and 2. A woman. Women are not treated as equals where he comes from.

    • Lester

      Maybe his thinking is sexist, he just does not want to lose to a woman.

      Maybe this is like the reports (which may or may not be true), that the Kurds are using women soldiers against ISIS because ISIS terrorists believe that if they are killed by a woman, they won’t get to paradise and the virgins.

  • Kevin Engle

    It is called a forfeit!

    • Lester

      It sure better be a forfeit. Not included in the report, however.

  • Abbushuki

    If the Iranian is a male, the larger issue for him would be losing to a, a, dare I say it…. a woman! Muslims know that all males are smarter than women. That is an Islamic principle that must not be tested, as Koran and Hadith supercede observations. It’s convenient to blame Israel, but fear of female fortitude trumps all rational behavior.

  • EK

    I have one word for this dude. Loooooser!!!

  • Hfragman

    So the real story is what happens next. Did the Iranian forfeit? There needs to be a price for being an anti Semite.

  • Rick Lutes

    Hee, hee, hee.

    Iranian hate-monger declined to play an opponent that was both Jewish and female. I imagine forfeit may have been the only way to avoid the double disgrace (and possible execution) of losing.

  • John

    I am a Jew who lives in US and also happen to be chess player who knows Ehsan. I never talked politics to him and always though he was a nice guy. He is GM and a much better player then this girl so its not the reason why he chose not to play her. I don’t condone what he did but it wasn’t because he was afraid of her as some comments seems to suggest. There is no way she could possibly beat him over the chess board….. Again, I feel sorry for him for taking this stand against Israel :(.

    • Rick Perl

      Interesting comment, you seem to know so much..

      You protect Eshan
      You state that Eshan is a much better player than Yuliya
      You make no comment on whether it was a forfeit for Eshan
      and you feel ‘sorry’ for Eshan

      John, why not give us your first and last name, afraid of being exposed as an ignorant jerk?

      Fact: Eshan is a Coward, a loser. You don’t know him, you just thought that you’d make up a story… You are a first class jerk along with being a Coward and Loser like Ehsan

  • loko

    …but it was ok for the Israelis to build the main electrical power station in teheran in the 70’s right??? It was ok for the Israelis to go to teheran in the 70’s and teach the monkeys how to use irrigations properly and cultivate crops right??? …and I am not starting even to talk about the building industries…
    Trust me I know I was THERE!!!

  • Liza

    Ehsan is a females name. She represents a virulence to frightening to understand; these proud handmaidens of the Islamic state. I am shocked and repulsed by them.

  • ziporah bank

    Dose anyone know what happend as a result of him not wanting to play?

  • ziporah bank

    If the Iranian doesn’t want to play by the rules, they can’t be in the game! He needs to be disqualified!

  • Mariana Harari Froment

    He would probably lose and then lose face and so he was too scared and chose a political excuse to hide his cowardice. Swine.

  • Mike

    Just as long as he was kicked out of the tournament and barred from any others (yea right!!), I care less. Go Yuliya, go!!

  • Eve Pearl

    I don’t appreciate you publishing the last sentences where he gets free publicity for his lying hateful propaganda hate speech.
    He’s afraid to LOSE against the Israeli player, that is the real reason.

  • Aviva-Roth Sucher

    I guess she would lose all her honor if she lost to an Israeli. Coward!!!!!

  • Lupus Feralis

    Oh please. She knew Yulya would have whipped her. That would have enhanced her argument of excessive intellectual force being used by a Israeli. Antisemitism is exponential mediocrity.

  • Bentzion

    I wonder how much of this self righteous declaration is principle, and how much is fear of embarrassment through loss.

  • Ralph Phillips

    But why no mention of what happened after he refused to play againswt her?

  • Mervyn

    Even Herr Hitler allowed Jesse Owens to run against his blue-eyed boys in the 1936 Olympics.

    Will they also reject playing against a Saudi player because they are Sunni?

    Totally rediculous, or perhaps he knew he would be beaten so this way he did not lose face against a woman?

  • Afsi

    The only reason they don’t play, is because they don’t want The embarrassment of losing To an Israeli.

  • Of course the Iranian refused to play the Israeli. He was afraid of losing to her. What a coward. As for the oppressed people of Palestine, you have their leaders to thank for this and the rest of the Arab world that uses them as political pawns. Also hasn’t anyone noted that 1.3 million Palestinian Arabs live in Israel, earn good money and are treated well by their employers; many have started their own businesses; have members of their community serving in the Israeli parliament; and according to 4 separate surveys, including one conducted by Harvard University, another by a Palestinian research group, nearly 80% of these Palestinian Arabs would prefer living in Israel than any other country in the world and the vast majority of whom want peace with their Jewish Israeli neighbors.

  • Barb Blond

    How immature, and does the Iranian realize why their country had its funds frozen for years- as if Iran has high moral ground. Confusing politics with chess. Hmmm, did the Iranian think the Jewishness would rub off?

  • Corey Multer

    I hope the match was recorded as a forfeit by the Iranian.

  • Hannah

    Real sportsmanlike. Only Muslims do this. Afraid to lose baby??

  • Paul Grad

    Ehsan Ghaem-Maghami is human scum.

  • Steve Wenick

    He is afraid that he would lose to the Israeli. He is right about that. Hey dude, grow a backbone.