US Chess Welcomes Dorsa Derakashani, IM and WGM

19-year-old IM and WGM Dorsa Derakashani, who was born in Iran in 1998, has switched federations and is now officially a US Chess player. Dorsa told US Chess, “It feels good and…peaceful to play for a federation where I am welcomed and supported.”

As covered by FM Mike Klein on NPR’s “Only a Game”, and also in the New York Times, the Iranian Chess Federation barred Dorsa for not wearing hijab during the Gibraltar Chess Festival this winter. At the time Dorsa was living in Barcelona.

Two-time Chess Journalist of the Year FM Mike Klein delves into Dorsa’s childhood, where she was a brilliant and precocious reader and student. He also asks her about the sudden punishment of Dorsa and her brother (who played against an Israeli player in Gibraltar), earlier this year.

“(Dorsa) believes the action against her and her brother was a tactic to divert from other news. The announcement came in the middle of the Women’s World Chess Championship, which was being held in Tehran.

Several notable players, including the reigning U.S. women’s champion (Nazi Paikidze), boycotted the event because players were required to wear a headscarf. All three Iranian women competing had just been eliminated in the opening round. The federation was also on shaky financial ground with FIDE, the international governing body of chess.

“So in the middle of all this, they needed another distraction. And somebody tipped off the reporters to specially ask about my brother and I, which worked perfectly,” Dorsa says. “Everybody started talking about us.””

Since then, Dorsa has moved to Saint Louis and is a student at Saint Louis University.

Derakashani was featured in coverage of the Sinquefield Cup and Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz, where she worked on the production side of the Spanish language broadcast (episodes are all archived on the Saint Louis Chess Club channel).

Dorsa in the studio for the Spanish language broadcast of the Sinquefield Cup

Join us in welcoming this inspiring talent to the US Chess Federation and enjoy a couple of Dorsa’s recent victories!

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