Political problems at the 15th Corsican Circuit
25.10.2011 – The event is fifteen years old and thriving – this year it has a record number of participants (over 800) and a great prize fund (95,000 Euros). Everything went smoothly until round four, when GM Ghaem Maghami from Iran refused to play against Israeli FM Ehud Shachar, demanding a re-pairing. The organisers refused, the game was forfeited. Video reports and background.
In round four there was a political incident when Iranian GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami refused to play against FM Ehud Shachar from Israel, against whom he was paired. At the end of the round the official live broadcast showed a 0-1 result for the game, and no moves on the board.
At the same time the organisers sent us the following statement:
" Iranian grandmaster Ehsan Gahem Maghami informed me of his refusal to play against his fourth round opponent, Israeli Fide Master Ehud Shachar. I told Mr. Gahem Maghami that as an organizer of a international sporting competition I could not accede to his request to change the pairings, so that he could play against another player. The presence of five Israeli players in this tournament was known to all participants since Saturday, October 22. It honors our competition, as does the presence of Iranian players and those from about thirty other nationalities. The motto of our Federation is gens una sumus, we are developing in Corsica an awareness of the positive aspects of the chess sport on our youth. Being complicit to any form of segregation would be unworthy, and in total contradiction with the foundations of our sporting activities. So regretfully I have to exclude the player who unfortunately has stuck to his choice, in spite of my entreaties. I regret it, but I could not shirk our responsabilities. "
Iranian GM Ehsan Gahem Maghami