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Tim Krabbé, the Dutch author, is very interested in chess, and a few years ago had a wonderful exchange of letters with the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani, Iraq's highest ranking Shiite cleric. Sistani had issued a fatwa proclaiming that chess was no longer permitted to Iraqi Shiites. Krabbé wrote him a very polite letter: he said he fully understood that playing chess was forbidden, but how about composing and solving chess problems? These were more like jokes or riddles. He e...more