Chess in Iran – players and venues of the national league

by ChessBase
6/23/2008 – The Iranian Premiere League has a total of sixty players, fifty-six of them holders of international ratings. There are five GMs, with more – including super-GMs – to come. The rounds take place in different cities throughout the country. If you don't know the Si o Se Pol in Esfahan or the Ganjnameh of Hamedan, you will after you have read this pictorial report by Arash Akbarinia.

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Super Grandmasters and Grandmasters in the Iranian League

A report by FM Arash Akbarinia

Last week we told you about the Iranian Premier League, a double round robin tournament that takes place in different cities of Iran through the year. Ten clubs, with teams consisting of six players each (including two reserves) participate in the “Thinkers Cup”, another name of the Iranian Premier Chess League. So there are a total of sixty players, fifty-six of them holders of international ratings, including five GMs. That will be raised to eight in the next round, four IMs and nine FMs.

Let’s take look at some of the stars of the league, and at the different venues where the games are played.

Super GM Shakhryar Mamedyarov, 2752, from Sumgait, Azerbaijan, traveled to Iran two years ago to play for the “Tide Water” club, but due to financial issues it did not happen. Personally, I think that was a big shame. The presence of some superstars like Shakhryar could sharply promote the Iranian League – even boost the whole Iranian Chess Community.

Azeri GM (on the next FIDE rating list he will be a Super GM!!) Vugar Gashimov, 2679, in the green shirt, has played a couple of years for the “Thinkers Cup”. This picture was taken two years ago, when Vugar with Sanat-e-Naft-e-Abadan (Oil Industry of Abadan) club, won the League Cup. He is receiving his prize from the organizers.

GM Gadir Gusseinov, 2625, from Azerbaijan, also participated in Iranian League for so many years. As far as I can remember Vugar and he were always teammates. 

GM Tigran Petrosian 2616 from Armenia, with the Rahahan club, won the championship trophy two years in a row. Last year, in a very decisive game against GM Vugar Gashimov, Tigran beat him and thanks to this victory Rahahan grabbed the title (otherwise the Sanat-e-Naft-e-Abadan Club would have won the tournament).

GMs Tigran Kotanjian 2570 and Arman Pashikian 2537 from Armenia, Giorgi Kacheishvili 2575 from Georgia, Nidjat Mamedov 2577, Gamil Agamaliev 2479, Rashad Babaev 2482, Rasul Ibrahimov 2535, Sarhan Guliev 2487, and Farid Abbasov 2528 from Azerbaijan and so many others I cannot exactly remember have also played for some period of time in the Iranian League.

The venues

In the last part I have collected a few pictures, each of them representing a city that has a chess club in this competition. Those cities that do not have a team, must take part in the First Division League and battle for promotion.

“Toghrol Tower”, Ray, Tehran. The brick tower, built in the 12th century, is 22.5 meters high

“Si o Se Pol” (33 Bridges), Esfahan. Si o Se Pol consists of two layers of 33 arches, over “Zayandeh Rood”, the Zayandeh River. A tea house is also located in the lower section of the bridge, right next to the River. (Photo by Ali Majdfar)

A beautiful view of Arak, an industrial city and capital of Markazi province, located southwest of Tehran

“Ganjnameh” (Treasure epistle), Hamedan, is an ancient inscription.

The translation of the text, attributed to Xerxes, is: "The Great God [is] Ahuramazda, greatest of all the gods, who created the earth and the sky and the people; who made Xerxes king, and outstanding king as outstanding ruler among innumerable rulers; I [am] the great king Xerxes, king of kings, king of lands with numerous inhabitants, king of this vast kingdom with far-away territories, son of the Achaemenid monarch Darius."

“Masouleh” Village, Gilan. The town is built not dissimilar to the pueblo settlements, with the roof of one house being the courtyard of the next house above.

The incredible “Katale Khor” (Mount of Sun) Cave, Zanjan

The “Katale Khor” Cave has seven different underground levels, five of them and thirteen kilometers have been explored. This marvelous cave might be connected underground to the famous “Ali Sadr” watery cave in Hamedan. These two caves are around 100 kilometers apart.  (Photo by Ali Majdfar)

“Abbas Abad” lake and Palace, Mazandaran

Mazandaran is located in the north of Iran, next to the Caspian Sea, and is the most popular destination for Iranian travelers. Whenever there are a couple of days of a public holiday the roads to Mazandaran face a huge traffic jam! But all these troubles are worth it, when you arrive safe and sound at your villa!  

The club of gourmandizers! They can beat any teams easily 4-0!! (Photo by Ali Majdfar)

Sour, delicious and very mouth-watering! I strongly recommend that if ever you travel to Iran, try these sour foods. They are all natural and fruity. Learn the Persian words of “Lavashak” and “Aloocheh”, knowing these words might someday be useful!

 Finally, I must mention to the feminists, that I have not forgotten my great and elegant fellow countrywomen. Their league starts next month, and I am going to cover it extensively, just as it deserves.

The champion of last year's Iranian Women Premier League, the Daneshgah-e-Azad club. From right to left: WIM Sopiko Tereladze, from Georgia, Sareh Tajik, WFM Shirin Navabi, WIM Shayesteh Ghaderpour.

The author: FM Arash Akbarinia, 2322

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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