Muslim Nations Join Israel in Chess Match

Players from across the Muslim world, including Iran and Afghanistan, paid homage to the Abraham Accords by joining Israelis for online matches

By Yossi Aloni | | Topics: Abraham Accords
Photo: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

On the anniversary of the Abraham Accords, 618 chess players from 80 countries participated in an event of solidarity with Israel, including chess players from Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Oman, Niger and Indonesia.

The event took place online as part of an Israeli solidarity event titled Chess4Solidarity. The field of online chess has experienced a resurgence in the last year in part due to the Netflix series Queen’s Gambit as well as the Corona pandemic, which has increased the number of participants playing chess from home or from a smartphone.

The International Chess Summit also marks an achievement for Israel, which is the country that has signed the most peace agreements this year. This is the 28th event in the Chess4Solidarity project in which more than 6,000 participants from more than 100 countries took part.

Playing chess for peace. Israeli and Muslims from various Middle East countries compete online.

A team of skilled judges from Israel, Bhutan and Iraq handled the event. The online board included participation of dozens of skilled chess players as well as masters in their countries. The first two in the main competition (there were 3 categories in total) were the masters Gadir Gusinov and Rasul Wager from Azerbaijan, who finished with 8 points out of 9. The veteran participant in the event was 82-year-old Holocaust survivor Sami Steigman. Cash prizes were awarded to the outstanding players.

Lior Eisenberg, director of Chess4All, which works to strengthen national ties and promote solidarity between people through chess, said: “I am happy that we continue to connect through the language of chess. The blessings that also come directly from the Arab world convey a message about the process of change created because of the project and was the highlight of yesterday. We have interesting collaborations ahead of us.”

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