Tehran the capital city of Iran was host to the 2nd edition of the Ladies Grand Prix series 2015/16 which ran from 10th to 24th February 2016. The 1st edition was held in Monte Carlo, Monaco from 2nd to 16th October 2015. The other two editions will be held in Tiblisi, Georgia in May 2016 and in Chengdu, China in July 2016.
A total of 12 players from 8 federations were present.
Round 1 of this event commenced on 11th February 2016 which was a public holiday to commemorate Revolution Day. The Phalavi dynasty under the late Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was overthrown and replaced by a National republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. This was probably Iran’s darkest hour with civil unrest and the death of an estimated 2,700 to 8,000 civilians. You can read more of this story on Iranian Revolution.
Enough of history and now back to chess.
The interesting thing about this event is that it was the first high profile FIDE event organised by the Iranian Chess Federation which was great news for Iran. However this event attract a huge amount of adverse publicity when the news broke out that the ladies had to play chess while wearing a head scarf.
I have enclosed a sample of some of the comments; The main reason for putting up this story on my website is to tell all these narrow minded chess players that chess is bigger than any person, federation or country.
I am very happy that this event took part in Iran which has been facing severe economic sanctions imposed by USA and Western nations as in the end chess came out tops.
I now leave you with some fine photos of the event and you can then decide whether you agree with my views or if you want to join the legions of the rabid chess players!
We were extremely fortunate Alina L’Ami was the photographer for this event and she has very kindly given me permission to publish them on this website. Alina is an IM and was World Under 10 World Youth Chess Champion in 1995. She is a regular reporter with one of my favorite chess website http://www.chessbase.com. I do consider Alina L’Ami to be one of the world’s best chess photographer and I am sure you will agree with me.
We were also very lucky that a number of the chess players were not just talented but extremely beautiful. I believe that the head scarves made the ladies look so much more elegant in this charming and historic city. Here are a sample of some of the photos.
We also have some games which shows some exciting chess being played.
In the end Ju Wenjun of China prevailed to win the event with 7.5/11 points to go home with a cash prize of Euro 10,000.
This was a great event and we look forward to the 3rd edition in Tibilisi, Georgia.
I end the story with two more photos which will convince you that it is worth visiting Tehran despite all the negatives comments we see in our media.