14th Asian Team Championship in Esfahan

1/2/2006 – Iran is the cradle of chess, the nation that reputedly produced it in the sixth century. For a while, in our days, it was frowned upon, but now chess is thriving in the country of 70 million – thanks to the work of some very industrious people. Recently they staged the Asian Team Championship in Sefahan. We bring you an illustrated report.

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14th Asian Team Chess Championship – Esfahan, Iran

Report by Ali Nihat Yazici

Iran is a country of great mystery but with a culture going back thousands of years. It is the country where the game of chess is reputed to have been created. The country has a population of around 70 million people and a geographical size of 1.65 million square kilometres. It borders Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. If you want to visit Tehran the time is GMT +3:30 hours.

Chess in Iran has been increasing in popularity over the last few years thanks to the work of some very industrious people. The tournament was organised by two people who have been doing a big job for chess in Iran. The Hon. Dr. Mohammad Ebrahim Maddahi, President of Iran Chess Federation and Mr.Hossein Sistani, the President of the Chess Association of Esfahan.


Hossein Sistani (left) and Mohammad Ebrahim Maddahi

Everywhere you go people have smiles on their faces, a mark of hospitality you learn to recognize.


The Esfahan Chess Club

To get to Esfahan, where the Asian team championships were being held, a flight needed to be taken. Esfahan is located to the south of Tehran but nearly in the middle of the Iran. The delegations were met at the airport by Mrs. Zohreh Jafari (picture right), who is the Vice President of Chess Association of Esfahan and who was co-ordinating an efficient team of Iranian colleagues to help teams. No need to talk about hospitality in Middle East, it is really unique and you have to taste it.

The tournament hall was located close to the famous bridge of Sio Se Pole. The bridge is one of the legends of Esfahan with 33 arches and quite a few hundred years old.

The 14th Asian Chess Team Championships were organised in the best of conditions. Federations who did not send a team to this tournament missed out on some excellent treatment and hospitality. Players have stayed in the Suite Hotel. If you like kebabs, the food was exquisite. Classical Oriental Kitchen!

Esfahan is truly a beautiful place with many things to see and do. Some of the best places are shown above: the Suite Hotel, a sculpture in a park in Esfahan, the famous Ali Qapu of Esfahan, Main Entrance, and a night view of Sio Se Pole. Isn’t it beautiful ?

A garden, a basaar, the beautiful entrance door of a mosque. The marble work and architecture are breath-taking.

A traditional oriental soup house which serves Ash, a very tasty soup. On the walls of place there were some paintings. The story behind them represent a true tragedy from the very famous Shahnameh Poem Book by Ferdosi, who also designed many chess puzzles. It is more than 2,000 years old. Rustam was a national hero and at the time it was kingdom ruling Esfahan. He was much respected fighter and hero. The enemy was Turan.

Rustam had gone to Turan secretly and there he met the daughter of the King and they fell in love. He then returned to his own country. More than 20 years passed by after his return. It was after this period that Turan declared war against Rustam’s country and the Turanian army attacked Iran. At the time it was a tradition for both army to select the best soldiers before war and these soldiers would fight each other.

Rustam, was always the first choice on the Iranian side, but Turan sent a young man to fight against Rustam. It was the most difficult battle that Rustam had ever had to face. They had fought three times but none of the fighters could win. Then, Rustam after the third time found an opportunity to injure the young man fatally.

During these times, swords were poisoned. The young man fell down; he was losing a lot of blood. Rustam took off the young man’s tunic and saw that the man carrying his family sign on his shoulder. Rustam understood that this was his own son. Rustam asked for help and he started to cry. Unfortunately the son Sohrab died.


IM Morteza Mahjoob (Iran)

So back to the chess tournament! Iran has had a tradition of chess for hundreds of years. They have two young Grandmasters, Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (23 years old and 2586 rating) and Elshan Moradiabadi (20 years old and 2497 rating) and one Woman Grand Master, Shadi Paridar (19 years old), all young and very strong players. Their rating list is expanding rapidly and a number of other players are close to getting their grand master title as well.


Asefi Zaheeruddeen (Afghanistan) vs GM Nguyen Anh Dung (Vietnam)

14th Asian Chess Team Championships – Men

Rk.

Team

1

2

3

4

5

6

TB1

TB2

1

India

 *

5

5

7

7

31.5

18

2

Vietnam

3

 *

7

8

29

17

3

Iran A

3

 *

6

6

8

25.5

13

4

Turkmenistan

1

1

2

 *

15

6

   

Iran B

½

2

 *

15

6

6

Afganistan

1

0

0

½

 *

4

0

The tournament was played on a double round robin basis. India were the favourites fielding a team of experienced GMs. After some hairy moments in the tournament, India confirmed their ranking and won the gold medal, while Vietnam who had been leading the tournament till the last round finished in second place. The host country Iran scored 25.5 points with Team A and won the bronze medal.


IM Sergei Simonenko (Turkmenistan)


India's GM Krishnan Sasikiran


GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly, India

Asian Chess Team Championships – Women

Rk.

Team

1

2

3

4

TB1

TB2

1

Vietnam

 *

3

3

10.5

7

2

India

3

 *

5

9.5

6

3

Iran B

 *

8.5

6

4

Iran A

3

1

 *

7.5

5

Vietnam won the gold medal in the women’s section, India was in second place and Iran was third.


WFM Mona Maahini Salman (Iran)


WFM Shirin Navabi (Iran)


Nguyen Thi Thanh An (Vietnam)


IM Mahjoob and his wife, with GM Ghaem Maghami and his wife


The Afghan Table in the restaurant

The tournament was managed by Mehrdad Pehlevanzadeh (right), who is a very well known Iranian arbiter. He was assisted by another famous International Arbiter from UAE, Mahdi Abdulrahim. Mahdi and Pehlevanzadeh, are very hard workers, always busy behind a laptop.


Mehrdad's sister, checking out the digital pictures.
His sisters were also assisting in the event organisation.


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