Iranian chess master expelled for refusing to play Israeli

Iranian grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami expelled from Corsica Masters for refusing to play Israeli.

October 27, 2011 11:59
Grandmaster Alik Gershon plays simulatenous games

chess alik gershon. (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)

Iranian grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami was expelled from an international chess tournament after refusing to play Ehud Sachar, an Israeli.

Maghami refused to play Sachar, his scheduled opponent in the fourth round of the Corsica Masters championship, for political reasons.

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Leo Battesti, the tournament's organizer, told AFP that, "Politics has no place in competition at this level. I was forced to expel Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, who unfortunately refused to change his mind."

More than 800 players from 30 countries participated in the tournament, according to AFP, including about 40 Grandmasters and International Masters.

Battesti has indirectly gone head-to-head with an Israeli in chess before; in February, he went up against a world record for simultaneous chess games set by Israeli Alik Gershon. 

Maghami played 614 simultaneous games, beating Gershon's record of 523.

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