IM Dorsa Derakashani at the Pan-American Championships with SLU coach GM Alejandro Ramirez, Photo Al LawrenceInternational Master Dorsa Derakashani wrote an op-ed for the New York Times over New Year's Day weekend, where she explained why she left her native Iran to attend college at Saint Louis University and play for the US Chess Federation, "“America at its best reflects the best values of chess. Chess doesn’t care how old you are or what you wear. It doesn’t care about what gender you are, or how much money you have...It cares only about merit.That’s why I’m applying for United States citizenship and why I hope to someday represent this country in the Olympics. And it’s why barring people from the game based on their ethnicity, religion or clothing is so wrong.” Derakashani also says that she was happy to "join the U.S. federation in a matter of weeks — a rarity and something I remain deeply grateful for."
Dorsa just participated in the Pan-American Championships in Columbus, Ohio. SLU tied for 2nd-6th with 5/6 match points (final standings here), and she told US Chess about the intense suspense at the Awards Ceremony, as the teams qualifying for the Final Four, set for Easter weekend in New York, were announced.
"For me the craziest moment was the slow announcement of the teams that qualified for the Final Four. 5th was Webster B and up until they announced we became second, we were all holding our breath and biting nails!" Dorsa told US Chess the fight is not over, "This year we came very close to winning the event. One game decided the match against Webster. But we still have our chance to win in the Final Four!"
Look for Al Lawrence's full story on the Pan-American Championships and Webster's sixth consecutive victory.