Best female chess player in history plays simultaneous exhibition to honor Israeli hostages

Best female chess player in history plays simultaneous exhibition to honor Israeli hostages

The event saw friendly competition and sportsmanship between Israelis and Germans, and a moving tribute to the Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF

Updated: MARCH 16, 2024 00:41
 Chess players gather to play in honor of Israeli hostages held in Gaza in Berlin, Germany, March 14, 2024. (photo credit: CHESS4SOLIDARITY)
Chess players gather to play in honor of Israeli hostages held in Gaza in Berlin, Germany, March 14, 2024.
(photo credit: CHESS4SOLIDARITY)

A special chess event was held at the Berlin Parliament for the hostages held in Gaza and to strengthen Israel-German ties on Thursday evening. 

Thursday’s event saw Judit Polgar, the number one chess player of all time, alongside her sister, Sophie, who is also a well-respected chess player and artist, face 40 German participants in a simultaneous exhibition on behalf of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

Polgar is a chess icon in her own right and a powerful example to many women around the globe. World-renowned leaders, such as Polgar, tend not to participate in events that could damage their reputation and status in the world, but despite this, she took a brave step and participated in the event on behalf of the hostages.

The family members of Gadi Mozes and Carmel Gat, whose loved ones are held hostage in Gaza, gave moving words about their loved ones who have been held captive by Hamas for 160 days. 

German officials speak out against antisemitism 

The president of the event, Marlene Schoenberger, a member of the German Parliament, noted in her opening remarks the importance of fighting antisemitism in these times, which is erupting globally and threatening Jews around the world, along with stating that Hamas must be prevented from carrying out further attacks against Israel in the future. 

Chess players gather to play in honor of Israeli hostages held in Gaza in Berlin, Germany, March 14, 2024. (credit: CHESS4SOLIDARITY)

Schoenberger thanked the Berlin Chess Federation for organizing the event. The event also featured a round-table discussion on antisemitism in sports, and was followed by a speech in which Ingrid Lauterbach, the president of the German Chess Federation, stated that stronger action should be taken against Iran, which prevents Iranian chess players from competing against Israeli. 

Israeli Deputy Ambassador to Germany Aharon Sagi noted that the relations between Israel and Germany were stronger than ever. 

Additionally, Lior Isenberg, who organized the event, spoke about the Chess4Solidarity initiative that seeks to fight antisemitism, thanking the Diaspora Ministry for its support of the initiative and to other bodies that helped organize the event. 

In another signal of strong ties, an international online competition was simultaneously held with 133 participants from Israel and Germany, which allowed players to compete remotely. German Jewish chess grandmaster Georg Meier, who has won in the past, won the main competition with 9 points from 9 games.  

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