Iranian Chess Queens Checkmate Without Hijab

To protest against mandatory hijab use by women in their Islamic republic, two Iranian women are playing in the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan without a head scarf or hijab.

They are Sara Khadem and Atousa Pourkashiyan. Photos of their participation in the international chess tournament without hijab are making rounds on social media.

According to a report in the Independent, 25-year-old Khadem was seen playing without a headscarf on Wednesday. She is a rising star in Iran’s competitive chess world. But she is having a tussle with the authorities. She resigned from the Iranian national team in 2020 to rejoin a few months later. Without her hijab, she has shined in Almaty, winning four games and losing three.

Her partner, Pourkashiyan (34) is a six-time Iranian champion. In Almaty, she has won five games, lost once, and had two draws in the first two days of the competition.

Islamic rulers of Iran are too vindictive towards players who oppose the strict hijab rule. In December Tehran’s clerical rulers demolished the home of Elnaz Rekabi. This champion climber had taken part in an event in South Korea without covering her hair with a hijab. In November an Iranian archer appeared without hijab at an award ceremony.

Anti-hijab protests are continuing in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iranian moral police. She was allegedly abducted for allegedly “improperly” wearing her hijab.

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