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Israel, Kazakhstan celebrate 30 years of diplomacy with online chess tournament

Fourteen-year-old boy from Kazakhstan takes second place in Chess4Solidarity event

(Photo courtesy Chess4Solidarity)

More than 180 chess players from Israel and Kazakhstan participated in an online event last Wednesday through the Chess4Solidarity project.

The project aims to strengthen ties between countries and people. UNESCO recognized the initiative for promoting interracial dialogue. More than 12,000 participants have taken part in 38 events since its founding in May 2020.

Wednesday’s event marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Israel and Kazakhstan and was attended by Israeli Ambassador to Kazakhstan Edwin N. Yabo Glusman and Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Israel Satybaldy Burshakov. 

The event kicked off at 4:45 p.m. Israel time (8:45 p.m. in Kazakhstan) and was livestreamed on several Facebook pages in Hebrew, English and Russian. Videos depicting Israeli and Kazakhstan tourism and culture were shared throughout the broadcast.

An Israeli chess player, Victor Mikhalevski, won first place. The second-place winner was 14-year-old Daniyal Sapenov from Kazakhstan. A $1,350 cash prize was split evenly between the best players from both countries. 

Israel’s Lior Aizenberg, who founded Chess4Solidarity, told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that players have participated from Arab countries, including from Iran.

“The purpose is to strengthen relations between Israel and her allies, as well as to promote solidarity and many other goals,” Aizenberg said. “The main thing is to connect people who live long distances from each other with a modern cultural language, which is chess.”

Next month, Kazakhstan will host the World Chess Championship. In 2017, Saudi Arabia barred Israeli chess players from the same competition and were ultimately forced to give up its right to host it as a result. 

Maayan Hoffman is a veteran American-Israeli journalist and strategic communications consultant. She is Deputy CEO - Strategy & Innovation for the Jerusalem Post, where she also served as news editor, head of strategy and senior health analyst.

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