Like female champion Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, Dorsa Derakhansi has been banned from playing chess in Iran because she refused to wear a hijab when competing.

Islamic law in Iran requires women to wear the hijab in public places. Iranianborn Dorsa’s refusal to wear the hijab during the Tradwise Gibraltar Chess Tournament in February resulted in her being kicked off the Iranian team.

President of Iran’s chess federation, Mehrdad Palevanzadeh, confirmed that Dorsa has switched over to the United States Chess Federation. However, he insisted that she was never a member of Iran’s national chess team. “She played for Iran only one time in 2014,” he said.

Dorsa holds the titles Woman Grandmaster and International Master which were awarded to her by the World Chess Federation in 2016.

Dorsa’s brother, Borna Derkhshani, is also banned from playing with Iran after he played against grandmaster Alexander Huzman. Borna was paired up by a computer against the Israeli chess player. Iran has a policy of not competing with Israeli athletes. Iran does not recognize Israel and is a staunch supporter of anti-Israeli groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Dorsa is currently studying in the United States. She will join Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, the former US champion, on the United States Federation.

Nazi refused to participate in the Women’s World Chess Championship held in Iran in protest of the country’s mandatory hijab law. All contestants were required to wear hijabs.

“I think it’s unacceptable to host a WOMEN’S World Championship in a place where women do not have basic fundamental rights and are treated as second-class citizens.

“For those saying that I don’t know anything about Iran: I have received the most support and gratitude from the people of Iran, who are facing this situation every day,” Paikdze wrote in an Instagram post explaining why she was not attending this year’s Championship.


AP News

Featured image via UMBChess