Two Iranian teen players refuse to face Israelis at World Chess Championships

Tehran consistently pressures its representatives in all international competitions to avoid facing Israeli opponents.

Chess pieces (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Chess pieces
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Two young Iranian chess champions have refused to play against Israelis at the 2019 World Youth and Junior Chess Championships, according to Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency.
The tournaments are taking place this month in Mumbai and Delhi, India, and several hundred players from all over the world are participating in them.
Iranian Grandmaster Mohammad Amin Tabatabei and International master Arian Gholami did not show up to the matches where they were supposed to face Israeli opponents.
According to a report by Chess24, a specialized website and blog founded by Grandmaster Jan Gustafsson, Gholami did not show up at the championships after forfeiting his game against Israeli Master Alexander Zlatin, while Tabatabei, who was supposed to play International Master Or Bronstein, managed to stay in the competition by pledging that he would play the next time.
All of the chess players involved in the incidents are 18 years old.
Iran consistently pressures its representatives in all international competitions to avoid facing Israeli opponents.
Earlier this year, Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei announced he would not compete for Iran any more after he was forced by his country's authorities to throw a world judo championships semi-final so as to avoid fighting an Israeli athlete.
Following the episode, the International Judo Federation (IJF) suspended Iran from competing in any future judo competition.
According to the Tehran Times, an Iranian girl, Anousha Mahdian, won the bronze medal in the U16 category at the World Junior Chess Championship.