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June 5, 2012 10:19 am

Israel, Next Chess “Superpower”?

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Chess Grandmaster Boris Gelfand (left), with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (right). Photo: Facebook.

Boris Gelfand, the Israeli chess Grandmaster who recently placed 2nd at the World Chess Championships, may have inspired a new chess “superpower”.

“The State of Israel is a ‘brain superpower’ and chess is a game of brain. Thanks to people like you, we shall turn Israel into a chess superpower,” the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu told Gelfand during a meeting on Sunday, which included Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat.

Israel will host the European Chess Club Cup in October, with over 50 countries participating in the event, and Ms. Livnat announced that additional state funds will be allocated  to the tournament.  He also said that Israeli chess clubs will receive additional financial support.

Gelfand welcomed the news from Livnat, noting the importance of having Israel represented on the world stage.

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“It’s important that we continue to develop this field and initiate international competitions that will see Israeli chess players in getting recognition,” he said.

“It’s so nice to see a prime minister that plays chess,” Gelfand added, referring to Netanyahu.  “I’m sure that abilities in chess help in the decision-making process.”

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