Face of the day

Ukraine’s grandmaster Anna Muzychuk celebrates after winning a two gold medals in the FIDE World Chess Rapid & Blitz Championships 2016, in the Qatari capital Doha on December 30, 2016. / AFP / KARIM JAAFAR (Photo credit should read KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)


Israeli players have been denied visas to Saudi Arabia and have not been allowed to take part. The other competitors have shrugged their shoulders at the gross injustice but have not boycotted the competition.

New Zealand’s Lorde cancelled her tour of Israel because she allowed a few noisy activists on social media to tell her how to live her life but today’s face of the day Muyzchuk is a woman of strong principles and is made of much sterner stuff than snowflake Lorde. Her choice is her own and it comes at a great personal cost.

The Ukrainian, 27, will not travel to Saudi Arabia, where she wouldn’t even be allowed to walk down the street unaccompanied

It takes years of work, days of staring at a board and hours of agonising over individuals moves en route to becoming a world champion in chess.

And it takes only a short-sighted decision from its governing body to ensure you lose that crown.

“In a few days I am going to lose two World Champion titles – one by one,” Anna Muzychuk says.

“Just because I decided not to go to Saudi Arabia.”

Muyzchuk is the defending world champion in two disciplines of speed chess – rapid and blitz. In rapid, each players gets 15 minutes to complete all of their moves and in blitz it is just 10.[…]

[…] Saudi Arabia is hosting the international speed chess championships for the first time this week. But, as the World Chess Federation has now confirmed, Israeli players have been denied visas to enter the country to play.

In spite of this outrage, which ought to invalidate the competition, the tournament will nonetheless be held as scheduled. As usual with such slights, outraged statements from Israel will follow, the world will shrug its shoulders and life will go on. (Jeff Tobin)
For all the talk about the progressive new king and the new detente between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the Saudis default position is Islam – Jew-hating, bigoted, misogynist, creed apartheid Islam. Islam needs a Vatican II. What better place to start then …. chess, a game of critical thinking and reason.

-Pamela Geller

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