Chess in Iran: Premier Women's League

7/15/2008 – In a patriarchal country like Iran women did not have fair opportunities to prove themselves, but since a few decades, thanks to the devoted efforts of feminists and activists, Iranian ladies have had better chances to demonstrate their abilities, and they have evinced themselves in different fields. So too in chess. Meet the Iranian women players in this richly illustrated report by FM Arash Akbarinia.

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Chess in Iran: Premier Women's League

Report by FM Arash Akbarinia

The winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi, who has won the very first and only Nobel Prize for Iran, is just one of the shining examples of successful Persian women. Ms Ebadi is not a rare paradigm in this ancient country; Iranian girls remarkably make up more than sixty percent of university entrants.

Shirin Ebadi was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women's and children's rights. She is the first Iranian, the first Shia and the first Muslim woman to receive the prize.

In chess, too, Iranian gentlewomen have won many Asian and World trophies. Currently Iran has one woman Grandmaster, two women International Masters and five woman Fide Masters; I am sure these numbers will be dramatically raised in a very near future, by our very talented young ladies.

The second Iranian Premier Women's League started July 9th in the building of the Iran Chess Federation. Ten clubs, including fifty players, more than half of them international rating holders, fight each other in a double round-robin tournament. The presence of three IMs, one WGM, two WIMs and five WFMs has warmed up the “Wisdom Cup”, another name of Iranian Premier Women's League.

IM Nana Dzagnidze, 2458, from Georgia, playing for Bayat Beton-e-Gilan, former champion in the World U12, U16, U18 and Junior Chess Championship. Nana has two grandmaster norms, I bet she will achieve her title in next to no time.

IM Salome Melia, 2416, from Georgia, playing for Khaneh-e-Shatrandj-e-Babol, former gold medalist of European U18 Championship and bronze medalist of World Girls U20 Championship

IM Sopiko Khukhashvili, 2408, from Georgia, playing for Petroshimi-e-Bandar-e-Emam. Next month in the Women's World Chess Championship, she plays against her compatriot IM Maia Lomineishvili, 2414.

In the first round that kicked off on Wednesday July 9th all the favourites won their game quite convincingly. In the most important board game Georgian IMs (Also WGMs) Sopiko Khukhashvili and Salome Melia, shared the point.

1
Petroshimi Bandar Emam Rtg
3½:½
10
Khaneh Shatrandj Babol Rtg
IM
Khukhashvili Sopiko 2408
½-½
IM
Melia Salome 2416
WIM
Pourkashiyan Atousa 2269
1-0
-
Soleimani Zahra 0
WGM
Paridar Shadi 2238
1-0
-
Akbari Marjan 0
WIM
Ghader Pour Shayesteh 2148
1-0
-
Nataj Khadijeh 0
2
Madreseh Shatrandj Kerman Rtg
½:3½
9
Daneshgah Azad Eslami Tehran Rtg
-
Sattarzadeh Sadaf 0
0-1
WFM
Hejazipour Mitra 2137
-
Golsorkhi Mohadesseh Sadat 0
0-1
-
Tajik Sareh 2041
-
Darini Tooba 0
0-1
-
Jafari Golnaz 2046
-
Shirvani Elham 0
½-½
-
Hammatizadeh N 1869
3
Mohandesi Abzangan Zanjan Rtg
½:3½
8
Rahahan Tehran Rtg
-
Nematifar Zahra 0
0-1
WFM
Hakimifard Ghazal 2018
-
Afhsar Niusha 1866
0-1
-
Khalaji Hanieh 1940
-
Saeidpour Mona 1842
½-½
-
Asgarizadeh Minoo 1846
-
Mehrabi Golnar 0
0-1
-
Hakimifard Raana 1850
4
Khaneh Shatrandj Gorgan Rtg
2:2
7
Daneshgah Payam Nour Rtg
-
Kia Fatemeh 1794
1-0
-
Mortaz Sepideh 0
-
Alinouri Fariba 0
½-½
-
Fardi Matin 1744
-
Mohaymeni Shadi 0
½-½
-
Mousavi Farzaneh 0
-
Rahimi Tara 1903
0-1
-
Mahboobi Shiva 1654
5
Daavat Oroumieh Rtg
0:4
6
Bayat Beton Gilan Rtg
-
Saeidirad Zahra 0
0-1
IM
Dzagnidze Nana 2458
-
Vardkar Mariam 1732
0-1
WFM
Salman Mahini Mona 2095
-
Lotfi Aylar 0
0-1
-
Alavi Homa 1723
-
Moradi Kimia 1790
0-1
-
Vakilpour Azin 1777

A member of Iran Team in the Dresden Olympiad, WIM Atousa Pourkashiyan, 2269, playing for Petroshimi-e-Bandar-e-Emam, will represent Iran in Women's World Chess Championship 2008, which will be held next month in Kabardino-Balkar Republic. She faces Russian GM Alexandra Kosteniuk 2510.

WGM Shadi Paridar, 2238, playing for Petroshimi-e-Bandar-e-Emam, member of the Iranian Team in the Dresden Olympiad. A few years ago she and her other two sisters played in the Tehran League as a club named "Paridar"!

WIM Shayesteh Ghader Pour, 2148, playing for Petroshimi-e-Bandar-e-Emam. She will play as a member of the Iranian Team in the Dresden Olympiad.

Thursday July 10th, nine o’clock: the second round has started. In this round, too, all the front-runners beat their opponents convincingly. IM Nana Dzagnidze managed to gain the full point against her fellow-countrywoman IM Salome Melia. WFM Shirin Navabi 2060, member of Petroshimi-e-Bandar-e-Emam, the top team (from the average rating of players), lost an important half-point against her unrated opponent, Elham Shirvani.

10
Khaneh Shatrandj Babol Rtg
½:3½
6
Bayat Beton Gilan Rtg
IM
Melia Salome 2416
0-1
IM
Dzagnidze Nana 2458
-
Soleimani Zahra 0
0-1
WFM
Salman Mahini Mona 2095
-
Akbari Marjan 0
0-1
WFM
Bayat Shohreh 1991
-
Nataj Khadijeh 0
½-½
-
Vakilpour Azin 1777
7
Daneshgah Payam Nour Rtg
2 : 2
5
Daavat Oroumieh Rtg
-
Fardi Matin 1744
½-½
-
Saeidirad Zahra 0
-
Mousavi Farzaneh 0
0-1
-
Vardkar Mariam 1732
-
Mahboobi Shiva 1654
½-½
-
Lotfi Aylar 0
-
Shams Negar 0
1-0
-
Moradi Kimia 1790
8
Rahahan Tehran Rtg
3½:½
4
Khaneh Shatrandj Gorgan Rtg
WFM
Hakimifard Ghazal 2018
1-0
-
Kia Fatemeh 1794
-
Khalaji Hanieh 1940
1-0
-
Alinouri Fariba 0
-
Asgarizadeh Minoo 1846
1-0
-
Rahimi Tara 1903
-
Bagheri Nadia 0
½-½
-
Sayyadi Parisa 0
9
Daneshgah Azad Eslami Tehran Rtg
3½:½
3
Mohandesi Abzangan Zanjan Rtg
WFM
Hejazipour Mitra 2137
1-0
-
Nematifar Zahra 0
-
Tajik Sareh 2041
1-0
-
Afhsar Niusha 1866
-
Jafari Golnaz 2046
½-½
-
Saeidpour Mona 1842
-
Hammatizadeh N 1869
1-0
-
Mehrabi Golnar 0
1
Petroshimi Bandar Emam Rtg
3½:½
2
Madreseh Shatrandj Kerman Rtg
IM
Khukhashvili Sopiko 2408
1-0
-
Sattarzadeh Sadaf 0
WIM
Pourkashiyan Atousa 2269
1-0
-
Golsorkhi Mohadesseh Sadat 0
WIM
Ghader Pour Shayesteh 2148
1-0
-
Darini Tooba 0
WIM
Navabi Shirin 2060
½-½
-
Shirvani Elham 0

WFM Shirin Navabi, 2060, Petroshimi-e-Bandar-e-Emam. Shirin has two bachelor degrees, one in law and the other in Physical Education. She is currently busy with her master thesis.

WFM Mona Mahini, 2095, Bayat Beton-e-Gilan, master student of Physical Education at Tehran University. Mona is one of the Iranian squad at the Dresden Olympiad.

WFM Mitra Hejazipour, 2137, playing for Daneshgah-e-Azad. She is fifteen and will also be part of the Iran Team in Dresden Olympiad.

Out of five matches of round three, which began on July 10th at five o’clock in the evening, three ended up with a four-nil result!! Bayat Beton-e-Gilan lost a vital point against Daneshgah-e-Payam-e-Nour; WFM Shohreh Bayat 1991 on board three was defeated by Shiva Mahboobi 1654.

2
Madreseh Shatrandj Kerman Rtg
2:2
10
Khaneh Shatrandj Babol Rtg
-
Sattarzadeh Sadaf 0
0-1
IM
Melia Salome 2416
-
Golsorkhi Mohadesseh Sadat 0
1-0
-
Azadvari Zahra 0
-
Darini Tooba 0
0-1
-
Akbari Marjan 0
-
Shirvani Elham 0
1-0
-
Nataj Khadijeh 0
3
Mohandesi Abzangan Zanjan Rtg
0:4
1
Petroshimi Bandar Emam Rtg
-
Nematifar Zahra 0
0-1
IM
Khukhashvili Sopiko 2408
-
Afhsar Niusha 1866
0-1
WIM
Pourkashiyan Atousa 2269
-
Saeidpour Mona 1842
0-1
WGM
Paridar Shadi 2238
-
Mehrabi Golnar 0
0-1
WIM
Ghader Pour Shayesteh 2148
4
Khaneh Shatrandj Gorgan Rtg
0:4
9
Daneshgah Azad Eslami Tehran Rtg
-
Kia Fatemeh 1794
0-1
WFM
Hejazipour Mitra 2137
-
Alinouri Fariba 0
0-1
-
Tajik Sareh 2041
-
Mohaymeni Shadi 0
0-1
-
Jafari Golnaz 2046
-
Sayyadi Parisa 0
0-1
-
Hammatizadeh N 1869
5
Daavat Oroumieh Rtg
0:4
8
Rahahan Tehran Rtg
-
Saeidirad Zahra 0
0-1
WFM
Hakimifard Ghazal 2018
-
Vardkar Mariam 1732
0-1
-
Khalaji Hanieh 1940
-
Lotfi Aylar 0
0-1
-
Asgarizadeh Minoo 1846
-
Ordoukhani Zahra 0
0-1
-
Hakimifard Raana 1850
6
Bayat Beton Gilan Rtg
3:1
7
Daneshgah Payam Nour Rtg
IM
Dzagnidze Nana 2458
1-0
-
Mortaz Sepideh 0
WFM
Salman Mahini Mona 2095
1-0
-
Fardi Matin 1744
WFM
Bayat Shohreh 1991
0-1
-
Mahboobi Shiva 1654
-
Alavi Homa 1723
1-0
-
Shams Negar 0

From right to left: Deep in thought WFM Shohreh Bayat, 1991, Bayat Beton-e-Gilan. Her father is the manager of the club. Shohreh is a student of Natural Resources, and apparently her GPA is excellent. WFM Mona Mahini, 2095 and IM Nana Dzagndize 2458. The gentleman in the pink shirt is Kioumars Bayat, Shoehre’s father and next to him is FM Hamed Mousavian, coach of the club.

 

Shiva Mahboobi, 1654, Daneshgah-e-Payam-e-Nour, student of Physical Education. So far she has got 3.5 points out of four games, not bad!

Sareh Tajik, 2041, playing for Daneshgah-e-Azad. She was one of Iran's representatives in the World Universities Chess Championship.

The last game of the first week, round four, took place on Friday July 11th. In the most important game, Rahahan stopped Bayat Beton-e-Gilan with a surprisingly 2-2 result. On the top board WFM Ghazal Hakimifard 2018 astonishingly conquered IM Nana Dzagnidze 2458. Petroshimi-e-Bandar-e-Emam and Daneshgah-e-Azad continued their storming start and both crushed their rivals. Therefore, after the first week, both of these clubs, just with a tiny minus one point, stand at the top of the table.

10
Khaneh Shatrandj Babol Rtg
2½:1½
7
Daneshgah Payam Nour Rtg
IM
Melia Salome 2416
1-0
-
Mortaz Sepideh 0
-
Azadvari Zahra 0
1-0
-
Fardi Matin 1744
-
Akbari Marjan 0
½-½
-
Mousavi Farzaneh 0
-
Nataj Khadijeh 0
0-1
-
Mahboobi Shiva 1654
8
Rahahan Tehran Rtg
2:2
6
Bayat Beton Gilan Rtg
WFM
Hakimifard Ghazal 2018
1-0
IM
Dzagnidze Nana 2458
-
Khalaji Hanieh 1940
0-1
WFM
Salman Mahini Mona 2095
-
Asgarizadeh Minoo 1846
1-0
WFM
Bayat Shohreh 1991
-
Hakimifard Raana 1850
0-1
-
Alavi Homa 1723
9
Daneshgah Azad Eslami Tehran Rtg
4:0
5
Daavat Oroumieh Rtg
WFM
Hejazipour Mitra 2137
1-0
-
Saeidirad Zahra 0
-
Tajik Sareh 2041
1-0
-
Vardkar Mariam 1732
-
Jafari Golnaz 2046
1-0
-
Lotfi Aylar 0
-
Hammatizadeh N 1869
1-0
-
Ordoukhani Zahra 0
1
Petroshimi Bandar Emam Rtg
4:0
4
Khaneh Shatrandj Gorgan Rtg
IM
Khukhashvili Sopiko 2408
1-0
-
Kia Fatemeh 1794
WIM
Pourkashiyan Atousa 2269
1-0
-
Alinouri Fariba 0
WGM
Paridar Shadi 2238
1-0
-
Mohaymeni Shadi 0
WIM
Ghader Pour Shayesteh 2148
1-0
-
Rahimi Tara 1903
2
Madreseh Shatrandj Kerman Rtg
2½:1½
3
Mohandesi Abzangan Zanjan Rtg
-
Sattarzadeh Sadaf 0
1-0
-
Nematifar Zahra 0
-
Golsorkhi Mohadesseh Sadat 0
½-½
-
Afhsar Niusha 1866
-
Darini Tooba 0
½-½
-
Saeidpour Mona 1842
-
Shirvani Elham 0
½-½
-
Mehrabi Golnar 0

Fourteen-year-old WFM Ghazal Hakimifard, 2018, playing for Rahahan, marvellously defeated her strong opponent IM Nana Dzagnidze 2458 in round four.

 

Rahahan Club, from right to left: Twelve-year-old Rana Hakimifard, 1850, Ghazal’s sister, fourteen-year-old Minoo Asgarizadeh, 1846, and fourteen-year-old Hanieh Khalaji, rated 1940. The Rahahan Club average age is just thirteen, considering top board player fourteen-year-old WFM Ghazal Hakimifard and forth board player twelve-year-old Nadia Bagheri, who are absent in this photo.

Matin Fardi, 1744, playing for Daneshgah-e-Payam-e-Nour. Matin comes from a province on the south coast of Caspian Sea, Gilan.

Ranking cross table after the fourth round

Rk. Team
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
 TB1 
 TB2 
1 Daneshgah Azad Eslami Tehran
 * 
-
-
-
-
-
4
4
15.0
8
2 Petroshimi Bandar Emam
-
 * 
-
-
-
4
4
-
15.0
8
3 Rahahan Tehran
-
-
 * 
2
-
-
-
4
13.0
7
4 Bayat Beton Gilan
-
-
2
 * 
3
-
-
-
4
12.5
7
5 Daneshgah Payam Nour
-
-
-
1
 * 
-
2
-
2
6.5
2
6 Khaneh Shatrandj Babol
-
½
-
½
 * 
2
-
-
-
5.5
3
7 Madreseh Shatrandj Kerman
½
½
-
-
-
2
 * 
-
-
5.5
3
8 Khaneh Shatrandj Gorgan
0
0
½
-
2
-
-
 * 
-
-
2.5
1
9 Mohandesi Abzangan Zanjan
½
0
½
-
-
-
-
 * 
-
2.5
0
10 Daavat Oroumieh
0
-
0
0
2
-
-
-
-
 * 
2.0
1

The second week will be held in Zanjan, 430 km from the Capital Tehran, on August 20th and 21st.


Venue of “Wisdom Cup”. At the end of the hall the poster of the 2000 World Chess Championship can be seen. The final match was between Anand and Shirov, which ended 3.5 to 0.5 for the Indian Super Grandmaster.

Petroshimi-e-Bandar-e-Emam shared the top place with Daneshgah-e-Azad after the fourth round. From right to left: IM Sopiko Khukhashvili 2408, WIM Atousa Pourkashiyan 2269, WGM Shadi Paridar 2238 and WIM Shayesteh Ghader Pour 2148.

Mona Saiedpour, 1842, member of the Mohandesi-e-Abzangan-e-Zanjan team. During the game she always plays with her Maghnae, headscarf!

 

Graphic artist Fatemeh Kia, 1794, Khaneh-e-Shatrandj-e-Gorgan. Apart from playing chess she is a very good chess teacher.

 
Sadaf Sattarzadeh, playing for Madreseh-e-Shatrandj-e-Kerman

 

Zahra Saeidirad, playing for Daavat Oroumieh. Zahra is WIM Atousa Pourkashiyan's cousin. It seems that chess is a genetic sport.

 

Negar Shams, playing for Daneshgah-e-Payam-e-Nour. From time to time Negar’s mother also takes part in chess tournaments.

 

Salome Melia is full of energy and always has a happy face. She poses for a picture in Jamshdieh Park, a very beautiful stony park in the northern part of Tehran.


FM Arash Akbarinia, 2322

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