Chess second main sport after football in Iran: Sarasadat Khademalsharieh

Tasnim- Iranian International Grandmaster Sarasadat Khademalsharieh says that chess gains popularity among young people in Iran.

“Chess is actually developing in Iran and I’ve been hearing good things from people who are not chess players, but have been following my matches and progress. The great thing is that a lot of girls are also interested and they are actually doing better than the boys,” Khademalsharieh said in an interview with Al Jazeera.

“Our men’s national team has players aged 12, 13, 15 and 16. It has a great future. I saw in local media that chess was the second main sport in Iran after football last year. That’s phenomenal,” she added.

“Chess helps with concentration and imagination. Especially the way you think about things as an eight-year-old. At that age, thinking for five hours a day, chess helps you with life and thinking,” the 19-year-old player added.

“Maybe girls find other sports more interesting but whatever the reason is, we need more female chess events around the world so we can increase participation,” Khademalsharieh stated.