A young chess player who was reportedly banned from Iran's national chess team has found a new home with the U.S. team.
Dorsa Derakhshani was allegedly banned from competing for the Iranian team in February for violating a rule involving Islamic headscarves—but that hasn't stopped her from playing.
Iran requires women to wear the hijab in public places, but Derakhshani allegedly attended an international competition without wearing one, according to an ISNA report cited by the Associated Press. Despite the report, some are saying that Derakhshani's team switch has nothing to do with this.
The president of Iran's chess federation Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh told an Iranian news agency, as reported by the AP, that Derakhshani changed her national federation to the United States on her own and that Derakhshani was not a member of Iran's national chess team anyway.
“She played for Iran only one time in 2014,” Pahlevanzadeh clarified. Derakhshani left Tehran in 2015 for Barcelona to play with a different chess club.
Back in February, Derakhshani spoke out against the ban, calling it a distraction tactic used to take attention away from Iran's chess team being on shaky ground with FIDE, the international governing body of chess.
“I didn’t have any problems for myself because I was not living in the country, but somehow I felt that it was very unfair and cruel," said Derakhshani.
Either way, we wish Derakhshani the best of luck competing.