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Posted at 11:37 AM ET, 10/26/2011

Iranian chessmaster tossed from championship after refusing game with Israeli opponent

A stalemate, rather than a checkmate, ended one Iranian grandmaster’s game in a French chess tournament Tuesday.
Ehsan Ghaem Maghami playing chess simultaneously with more than 600 players in February. (Mehdi Ghasemi/AFP/Getty Images)

Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, 29, holds the Guinness World Record for simultaneous chess games, but he refused to play against an Israeli opponent, citing “political reasons.”

In February, Maghami faced more than 600 opponents during 25 hours of games, of which he won nearly all. However, on Tuesday, he told organizers of the Corsica Masters event that he couldn’t play his opponent, Ehud Shachar of Israel.

The organizers expelled him, saying there was no place for politics in chess, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported on Wednesday.

“I was forced to expel Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, who unfortunately refused to change his mind. I had no other choice," said the tournament's organizer, Leo Battesti, according to Agence France-Press.

The Islamic Republic of Iran refuses to recognize Israel and regularly calls for the dismantling of the Jewish state. Iranian athletes are banned from playing Israeli opponents. Iranian swimmers, video game players and weight lifters have withdrawn from competition when lined up against Israeli players.

By  |  11:37 AM ET, 10/26/2011

Tags:  World, Chess, Iran, Ehud Shachar, Ghaem Maghami

 
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