On February 24, 2019, Channel 1 TV (Iran) aired a report about Iranian chess prodigy Aryan Gholami's meeting with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who praised him for refusing to play against an Israeli chess player at the Rilton Cup chess tournament that took place in Sweden. The reporter said that Gholami "'checked' the dollar and 'mated' the oppression." Gholami was interviewed and said that he decided to refuse playing the Israeli representative quickly and gave up on the $10,000 prize. The reporter added: "Gholami showed that he knew how to play the chess of life… [He lost] the gold medal and dollar, but he wore the medal of humanity and honor."
Anchor: The young chess player of the Iranian national team, Aryan Gholami, who refused to play a rival from the Zionist entity in a recent international tournament, met today, along with his family, the leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei. The Leader praised him for what he did.
Reporter: Finally, his wish came true, and he met his beloved [leader]. This sportsman "checked" the dollar and "mated" the oppression in order to land another defeat atainst the Zionist regime – this time on the chess front. At the international Rilton Cup in Sweden, this chess played achieved his first grandmaster norm. In the blitz section, he reached second place. But the highlight of this young Iranian's activity was his refusal to play against a sportsman from the Zionist regime.
Aryan Gholami: In the rapid section, I won all six games, but then I was paired with a representative of Israel. I was the leader and eventually came in second. I was there alone. It was all very quick, and I had to make a decision in 2 or 3 minutes. I told the arbiter that if that was the case, I would not play. The total prize was $10,000. When I saw that I was paired with an Israeli, I knew that everybody would ask me why I wouldn't play him, but I still wanted to refuse.
Reporter: Aryan Gholami showed that he knew how to play the chess of life. Humanity and faith are better than on-the-board chess. He refused to play a representative of the Zionist regime, thus losing the gold medal and the dollars, but he wore the medal of humanity and honor.