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And it’s incorrect that those chess players who refuse to travel to Iran and wear the hijab simply lose the right to play for the World Championship for nothing. We talked about it, but for her becoming World Champion is a lifelong dream. 1 Carolina Lujan also turned down the chance to play in very similar terms, while American players faced the problem of travel to Iran also being discouraged by their government, even before Donald Trump’s attempted “Muslim ban” muddied the waters still further.

The 2017 FIDE Women’s World Championship was officially declared open in Tehran today, with top seed Ju Wenjun picking the white pieces in tomorrow’s first round.

63 players are competing in a 6-round, 20-day knockout that will determine a new Women’s World Champion.

At times, they even use bright colors, tighter pants, or shorter manteau.

These small but courageous acts of defiance are slowly gaining ground and affecting change.

Female players would be required to wear hijabs, while interaction with male coaches could also contravene local laws.

As for the World Championship in Iran, I decided not to take part, as it’s absolutely obvious that Iran isn’t a suitable country for such a prestigious event.

She hasn’t been replaced in the pairings, so Girya will qualify for the 2nd round.

Cristina’s daughter Sabina-Francesca Foisor is playing in Tehran and accepted a gift from the organisers: The event features former World Champions Zhu Chen, Antoaneta Stefanova, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Anna Ushenina as well as a host of top female players, but the run-up to the tournament has not been without controversy.

Iranian WGM Mitra Hejazipour, however, was among those who defended holding the event in Tehran: This is going to be the biggest sporting event women in Iran have ever seen; we haven’t been able to host any world championship in other sporting fields for women in the past. These games are important for women in Iran; it’s an opportunity for us to show our strength.

Sopiko will be hoping to improve on her warm-up in Wijk aan Zee!

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