An Iranian grandmaster said he ousted the Israeli title holder on Wednesday to regain the Guinness record for simultaneous chess games after facing more than 600 players in over 25 hours.
Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, 28, won 96% of his games which began on Tuesday in Tehran's Shahid Beheshti University, a feat reportedly making him the new Guinness title holder of the game.
A representative of World Chess Federation (FIDE) who was present during the event was yet to confirm Maghami's victory. He had to win 80% of the games to seal the record, Iran's ISNA news agency reported.
Of the total 614 games, Maghami won 590, lost eight and drew 16 in a feat that took more than 25 hours and treading around 55 kilometres (34 miles) as he moved from opponent to opponent.
Maghami said there was "no problem to register the record given the presence of the FIDE representative who was observing the matches. FIDE will report the outcome to Guinness."
He said he would have put in the same zeal even if the previous title holder was a non-Israeli.
"Iran is great and deserves the best. Let's not talk politics... even if this record was held by another person, I would have gone all out to break it," he said after the matches when asked about ousting Israeli Alik Gershon.
On October 22, Gershon had won 454 games, lost 11 and drawn 58, setting the record at 523 after ousting another Iranian, Morteza Mahjoob, who previously won the title in August after victory in 500 games.
Alik Gershon's attempt - Rabin Square (Photo: Yaron Brener)
On defeating Mahjoob, an euphoric Gershon said: "Hopefully, all our wars against Iran will be on the chess board."
Iran and Israel are bitter rivals outside of chess with the latter not ruling out a military strike against the Islamic republic to stop its controversial nuclear programme.
The political animosity between the two escalated under Iran's firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has often denied the Nazi Holocaust and said the Jewish state will one day be "wiped off the map."
"I am so happy to break the record, but now I have to break my sleep record," ISNA quoted Maghami as saying. He said a physician, masseuse and a dietician were monitoring him.
Maghami said he would not be surprised if his record was also broken soon, adding he would like to better it himself.
"It is not strange for my record to be broken by anyone. Mr Mahjoob had the title for more than a year. I could try to improve it," Maghami said.
Mahjoob said he will pitch for the title again and expressed his joy at a fellow Iranian regaining the title.
"Soon I will set a record. The title will remain Iranian since I will have a go at the record in the coming summer. I am determined and I will do it," Mahjoob said, quoted by Mehr news agency.
In October, after his defeat to Gershon, he said he would exert extra efforts to win again and even play against 1,000 players simultaneously.
Chess was outlawed in Iran in 1981 because it was perceived to encourage betting, which is forbidden in Islam.
But in 1988 the Islamic republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a decree permitting chess as long as no gambling was involved. Since then the game has made a vigorous comeback in Iran.
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