Firouzja Seeks Nationality Change After World Rapid & Blitz Ban By Iranian Federation
"Firouzja is currently living in France...and may want to play under the French or U.S. flag," Pahlavanzadeh told ISNA.
The Iranian chess star and the country's top player Alireza Firouzja is considering changing his nationality after the Iranian chess federation withdrew its players from the upcoming World Rapid & Blitz in Moscow, according to the Iranian chess federation.
Update: Firouzja is now back on the World Rapid & Blitz players list under the FIDE flag.
The federation had objected to Parham Maghsoodloo and Amin Tabatabaei playing games against Israeli opponents in a blitz tournament that was part of the recent Sunway Sitges Chess Festival. Subsequently, the federation decided to withdraw participation of all Iranian players from the World Rapid & Blitz, but Firouzja has not gone along with this decision.
"Firouzja has made his decision and has told us that he wants to change his nationality," the Iranian Chess Federation's president, Mehrdad Pahlavanzadeh, told the news agency Tasnim.
Firouzja is currently listed in the FIDE database as a registered player—but not an Iranian player—after the news was released, and is now recognized as "FIDE licensed" on his official profile.
The 16-year-old phenom is willing to play in the upcoming championship, but not under the Iranian flag, according to comments made by Pahlavanzadeh to the news agency ISNA.
Losing Firouzja would be a blow to the Iranian federation, which has produced two of the top juniors in recent years in Firouzja and Maghsoodloo. It is unclear where Firouzja will land if he is to renounce his citizenship, and his status for the upcoming World Rapid & Blitz is still up in the air.
Chess.com will have updates on this breaking story as it develops and expects to have a comment from Firouzja in the coming days.
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