October 27, 2011
(JPOST h/t Vlad Tepes)Iranians and any other athletes from rogue regime should be given short shrift internationally regardless of what the individual does or doesn’t do. Given a country legitimacy only prolongs its shelf life. Time to end the meme that sports promotes peace and stability, it’s just a ruse to allow players from totalitarian regimes to participate in international sports.

Iranian grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami was expelled from an international chess tournament after refusing to play Ehud Sachar, an Israeli. Maghami refused to play Sachar, his scheduled opponent in the fourth round of the Corsica Masters championship, for political reasons. Leo Battesti, the tournament’s organizer, told AFP that, “Politics has no place in competition at this level. I was forced to expel Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, who unfortunately refused to change his mind.” More than 800 players from 30 countries participated in the tournament, according to AFP, including about 40 Grandmasters and International Masters. Battesti has indirectly gone head-to-head with an Israeli in chess before; in February, he went up against a world record for simultaneous chess games set by Israeli Alik Gershon.  Maghami played 614 simultaneous games, beating Gershon’s record of 523.