Sara Khadem beats 25 opponents at the same time in the Llobregat Open Chess 2023 prelims

The chess player Sara Khadem, who fled Iran for refusing to wear the veil in a tournament, defeated 25 opponents on Wednesday in an exhibition of simultaneous games prior to the Llobregat Open Chess organized at the Podium sports center in Viladecans. Khadem is a Women’s Grand Master (WGM), International Master (IM) and is also the reigning champion of Spain, because she obtained her nationality after requesting political asylum.

The fourth edition of the Llobregat Open Chess has had as an exceptional preamble this Wednesday in Viladecans a chess exhibition in which the Women’s Grandmaster (WGM) and International Master (IM) Sara Khadem has simultaneously defeated 25 opponents of different levels. Khadem, the reigning Spanish women’s champion, is originally from Iran, from which she had to flee in 2022 for refusing to wear the veil in a Rapid Chess tournament held in Kazakhstan.

After fleeing with her husband (film director Ardeshir Ahmadi) and her son, the sportswoman applied for political asylum in Spain, where she was granted Spanish nationality on the basis of her exceptional circumstances. Khadem, 26, is the fifteenth in the women’s international ranking and won the crown as the best Spanish chess player last October at the national chess championship held in Malaga from 13 to 21 October, where she was in tenth position in the absolute ranking and the first among women.

By Masha Amini

After her exceptional performance, Sara Khadem has told that she took off her veil at the world championship in Kazakhstan in solidarity, because at that time there was in Iran because of the death of Masha Amini. “I joined in. Everyone was showing how they felt and so I did too.” The champion has recognized that the worst thing about exile is that she cannot return to her country, but has assured that “living in Spain is something I would have done anyway. I have no regrets”.

The feat of the Spanish-Iranian champion in the prolegomenon of the Llobregat Open Chess, staged in the municipal sports center Podium, has had as spectators of exception the mayor of Viladecans, Carles Ruiz, the deputy mayors Olga Morales and Ricard Calle, the councilman Francisco Chacon and the promoter of the tournament, Xavier Perez Llorca. Ruiz thanked the player for her presence in the city and recognized “the courage she has shown in defending women’s rights against the Iranian regime”.

Example for girls and young women

The mayor of Viladecans has also underlined the outstanding role that the Spanish champion plays in a sport like chess dominated by men. “Sara is an example for all girls and young women who are starting to practice a sport. They can achieve the same or more success than men and they must believe it,” reiterated Carles Ruiz.

The fourth edition of El Llobregat Open Chesswhich begins this Thursday, November 30 at Can Massallera, in Sant Boi, and will end on December 8, a total of 207 players of high competitive level are participating, as 187 of them have international titles, either Grand Masters (GM), Grand Masters (WGM), International Masters (IM), FIDE Masters (FM), FIDE Masters (WGM) or Candidate Masters (CM).

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