In France, the name of Alireza Firouzja does not mean much to the general public. But in countries that love chess, like Russia, India or Norway, he’s already a star. During the recent European Championships, this young man of Iranian origin, licensed at the Chartres chess club (Eure-et-Loir) for two years, won the individual gold medal on November 21. With seven wins and two draws, at just over 18, he became the youngest player in the world to cross the 2800 point mark in the ELO rankings, which is to chess what the ATP rankings are to tennis.
“The week before he had already been very impressive by winning the tournament in Riga. He scored 30 points in two competitions to go from 12th place to 2nd place in the world, it’s unheard of ”, enthuses the president of C’Chartres Échecs, François Gilles, who sees in him“ the equivalent of a Zidane or a Messi in terms of creativity ”.
“I will represent France wherever I go”
Arrived from Iran in France in 2019 with his family to be able to devote himself completely to chess, the young man, recently naturalized, also took advantage of this tournament to make his debut for the French team, and allowed him to finish 2nd in the competition.
On his return to Chartres, the young champion, who trains 8 to 9 hours a day, was invited on November 23 to the prefecture for the official delivery of his decree of French naturalization, in the presence of the mayor of the city, who , like his club, accompanies him in his young career. “It’s a huge honor and I will represent France wherever I go,” said the young man in hesitant French, as he does not yet have a good command of the language.
His ambition now is to become world champion and to dethrone the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, whom he has already beaten in the fast part and in line, but never in the long part.