Chess May be Banned in Afghanistan – World Chess


AsAfghanistan falls totheTaliban, lives ofmany people will change dramatically, andthat unfortunately includes those who play chess, because apparently theTaliban do notapprove ofchess.

One ofseveral tunnel entrances inAfghanistan partially blocked bytwisted metal supports. US Deputy Secretary ofDefense Ashton B. Carter visited thetunnels andanearby Taliban stronghold May 14, 2013. Photo: Wikimedia

World Chess, theofficial FIDE gaming platform, has 64 subscribers from Afghanistan, andwe reached out tosome ofthem tofind out how they are coping with themajor changes taking place intheir country. Theanswers were disheartening: thecountry is inadire condition andwe do notknow if chess will be allowed under thenew government. I heartily appreciate you reaching out.

Those who love chess now have every reason toworry. According tothe 2002 report from Counterpunch, theTaliban declared awar on thegame:

When theTaliban caught Haji Shirullah, aKabul businessman, playing chess inhis office with his brother they burnt thechessboard andthepieces. They put us injail fortwo days, he recalled with arueful smile. TheTaliban believed chess was aform ofgambling anddistracted people from saying their prayers.

One Taliban list ofprohibitions included pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair, satellite dishes, cinematography, andequipment that produces thejoy ofmusic, pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television, anything that propagates sex andis full ofmusic, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs, pictures, Christmas cards.

Chess is notinthelist ofpriorities inacountry where many fear fortheir families safety (nor it should be), butchess is also ametaphor forbasic freedoms, andit is clearly injeopardy.

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Chess May be Banned in Afghanistan - World Chess

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