Sara Khadem, a lady’s courage

The chess player Sara Khadem (1997) is one of the formidable players who have participated in this edition of the Llobregat Open Chess Tournament. Sara is a talent who endears herself by her frank smile and, although watching her go by she carries calmness with her, her story goes far beyond a conventional life.

Among the sporting merits of the Spaniard, of Iranian origin, are the title of grandmaster and two runner-ups in the women’s world championship. In fact, a few days ago the president of the Spanish Federation, Javier Ochoa, shared with us that Sara, now 13th in the world ranking, has objective possibilities of giving us our first absolute women’s world championship. It would be a major step for the popularization of chess in Spain and, if you want to dream with us, know that Sara is working with the renowned David Martinez “Divis”, coach of the Spanish national chess team.

For some time now it has been common to find news about Sara Khadem in the media, related to her iconic gesture of playing without a veil in the World Rapid and Blitz Championship held in Kazakhstan, in solidarity with the people protesting in Iran for women’s rights. It would be a mistake to pretend that Sara is a flag to wave for political purposes, as she herself maintains that it was a one-off action and that “(…) the real activists are those who defend freedoms in the country every day”, but it is worth remembering that she has an international arrest warrant from the Iranian authorities and that she would be imprisoned as soon as she sets foot in her homeland.

Among the many qualities of this woman, I would like to highlight the gentleness that she transmits in her personal treatment. At first glance, when Sara plays chess she is reminiscent of one of the caryatids of the Erechtheion in Athens: serene, lanky, silent and, if I may be so bold as to confide, with a halo of elegant mystery. Then, in close dealings she is extremely polite, possessing a delicate voice that extends in the conversation governing the pauses between words. It is, in this short distance, that we discover the Sara, fond of poetry, who takes great care of human relationships.

The chess games of the talented Sara Khadem speak for themselves. Proof of this is his victory over Alexander Donchenko in 2019, which we reproduce below.

By Jorge I. Aguadero Casado, editor-in-chief of Peón de Rey.

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