Reports | February 15, 2011 16:07

Simul record back to Iran

Guinness simul record back to IranOne could hardly imagine anything more peaceful than a simultaneous chess exhibition, but it looks like political enemies Iran and Israel have turned the area into a fierce battlefield. It was only four months ago that Israeli GM Alik Gershon played a simul over 523 boards in Tel-Aviv, breaking Iranian GM's Morteza Mahjoob's August 2009 record of 500 boards. Last week GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami from Iran took up the gauntlet and set a new new world record of 604 boards.

World Record 604 Board Simultaneous Chess Exhibition by GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (IRI)

Report for and other media by Casto Abundo

GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, 9-time Iran national champion, set a new world record of 604 boards for Simultaneous Chess Exhibition by an individual. The simultaneous exhibition took 25 hours from 8th to 9th February 2011 at the sports stadium of the Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran.

He broke the 2009 record of 500 opponents set by Iranian GM Morteza Mahjoob who scored 88.4%. Last year, Israeli GM Alik Gershon reportedly took on 523 opponents with an 86% result.

The opening ceremony at 10am was attended by Iran Sports Minister Dr. Saeed Lou, Iranian Chess Federation President Mohammed Jaffar Kambuzia, Asian Chess Federation Deputy President Casto Abundo, who was the official FIDE Observer, and some well known Iranian sportsmen. The main sponsor was Ansar Bank. There was a festival atmosphere and all players received T-shirts of the event, a book on the Ehsan Ghaem Maghami-Karpov match, official ID card, the chess set and board on which they played, food and drink.

Some 1,500 registered on the official website and the first to come had the honour of being part of history. Of the field of 604 participants, over half were adults. One fourth were women who were seated separately, and most children were seated together. All players recorded their moves on score sheets.

Guinness simul record back to Iran

With all players at their boards, GM Ghaem Maghami began play at 10:20 am on 8th February. At around 2 pm there was a lunch break for all with players remaining at their boards. The record was assured at 6 am the next morning of 9th February as GM Ghaem Maghami achieved the 80% minimum score after beating 484 opponents.

The last games ended 11:25 AM on 9th February. After 25 hours, the final results were 580 wins, 16 draws and 8 losses for a total score of 588 out of 604 or 97.35 percent. Ten more boards were added which he won but which were not counted for the record.

Chief Organizer of the event was IA/IO Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh. Chief Arbiter was Hamid Reza Pour Shahmari assisted by Deputy Arbiter IA Najib, six Senior Arbiters and 48 national arbiters.

Players ranged from 5 to 85 in age, many coming from outside Tehran. The event enjoyed massive media coverage all TV stations with more than three hours live coverage.

Interestingly, Casto Abundo's report doesn't mention the word 'Guinness' at all. However, it's safe to assume that that's what the Iranian chess federation was after: to win back the Guinness record as quickly as possible.


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Andrew Martin's picture

To continue as my use of the IPad is not too great;)

We calculated an optimal joined- up shape to save time walking round,so the photos with rows of players and the idea that women and children were sitting separately is very surprising to me; in fact it makes very little sense.

Abundo also reported originally that the GM was getting round all the boards in 15 minutes ( which is omitted in the amended report above). That also surprises me; it seems like a physical impossibility.

In short,I think this has become more of a political battle and an exercise in one-upmanship than anything else.

Andrew Martin's picture

I played one of these displays in 2004.

It took six months to make sure we had 321 players who were willing to come and stay for what could be a very long time.

The Guinness rules include:

1) Players have to be of acceptable standard.

2) no blitzing allowed. Moves have to be played one at a time on all boards, thus elongating the display.

3) An impartial observer from Guinness has to be present to avoid any irregularities.Not a FIDE official certainly.

My simul took about 17 hrs and was very gruelling.

We calclated

silvakov's picture

There's something wrong there for sure: only 16 drawns and 8 losses for an over 97% score? I mean, maybe he did achieve that, but one can easily argue about the minimum opponents strength required for the world record...

As time goes by, these simul records look more and more like simple athletic marathons, where the chess result isn't as important as the physical preparation...

Gheradelli's picture

There is an American IM who is trying for the record, but canceled his first attempt as Guiness was looking to add additional requirements (everyone has to have a certain minimum rating).

So what will happen now is that Guiness won't recognize this latest attempt by Iran, and Iran will claim that this lack of recognition is a secret conspiracy by Israel.

And around and around we go.

Arne's picture

Women were seated separately...

Ajit's picture

What is this mad race going on?
I am 1800 player and can beat 1000 people who are rated at 500 or 1000 anytime. So what is the record about? chess skills? or physical stamina?

Tony's picture

The Israeli record will stand. They were very clear about having an impartial observer from the Guinness book to make sure rules were followed.
If you have nothing to hide then let them follow the rules.

TruthSeeker's picture

Unbiased here with no bias toward israel or iran but I notice when an axis portrayed country in the western media get a record or breaks a record from israel, people leave really crude remarks. The guiness book of world records cannot revoke this record by Iran becuase it means all the previous records with no rating requirements should also be revoked. They can have another record with only fide players above 2000 etc but you cannot assume that players in other events were stronger or weaker. A record is a record and you must honor it. It's not like most of the other participants in the guiness book are all fully fledged professionals. I find it sad that a lot of really intelligent people inadvertently insult these new records by mentioning great names in the past saying their record was ore important because he was so and so champion. Well guess what you don't have to be a champion to make that record more valuable.
Great names are always born and the people who condone iran or other countries just because they aren't mainstream should be ashamed of themselves! Let iran and Israel have their own chess world simul tug of war for as long as they want! But damn all you hicks for trying to lessen the achievment of this record just because they are iranians. You should be forced not to give israel preferntial treatment. SHame on you! Shame on you!

foo's picture


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