Iran as Upcoming Chess Powerhouse?
Asian powerhouse India had only seven gold, a far cry from their 10-odd from the previous championship. Surely, Iran has made a dent on India's dominance in the sport which has its roots in Persia (Iran), according to history.
Interestingly, chess was banned from public places after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran as the clergy was not in favour of the game and the players went underground with their boards and pieces. After almost 10 years Iran's spiritual leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini rehabilitated the game but it was Mohammed Khatami's time in the late 1990s that the nation really welcomed the sport whole-heartedly.
Just as any fatwa would lead to an unprecedented upheaval, chess also witnessed a boom in Iran in the last 10 years. Their federation has one of the most professional coaching centres in Tehran and their children have won three world titles in the under-10 and under-12 sections. Iran's Asia charge last week in Sri Lanka could probably be a presage to another big stage drama.
We are delighted for the children of Iran as another country joins the ranks of chess players.
From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
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