Chess4Solidarity: The Missing Player in the Bundestag (Press Release by Yochanan Afek)

L to r: Paul Meyer-Dunker, president of Berlin chess federation; Judit; Sofia; Lior Aizenberg –the man behind Chess 4 Solidarity and the event.

Judit and Sofia Polgar joined last Thursday (March 14) to play in a simultaneous exhibition in the German parliament in a moving tribute to the Israeli hostages held by Hamas. The event was part of Chess4Solidarity worldwide initiative in which 15,000 players have already taken part, mainly in unique online events that were created since the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2021. The aim of the initiative is to strengthen the ties between countries and to promote solidarity between people. The prestigious initiative has been recognized by UNESCO for promoting interracial dialogue through the game of chess.

Thursday’s event saw Judit Polgar, the all- time number one female chess player, alongside her sister Sofia, a well-respected chess master too, facing 40 German opponents on behalf of the 134 missing Israeli hostages. They have received huge support and Judit expressed her feelings in the social media: “I attended one of the most moving and emotional events of my life, fighting back tears. It was unique in every way. I will never forget that.” Family members of Gadi Moses and Carmel Gat told in moving words about their loved ones who had been held captive by Hamas for 160 days. German officials spoke out against antisemitism.

Judit Polgar in action

Marlene Schoenberg, a member of the German Parliament who hosted the event, 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 should be prevented from carrying out further attacks against Israel in the future. Schoenberg thanked the Berlin Chess Federation for organizing the event that also featured a round-table discussion on antisemitism in sports.  Ingrid Lauterbach, the president of the German Chess Federation, stated that stronger action should be taken against Iran that prevents Iranian players from competing against Israelis. Israeli Deputy Ambassador to Germany Aharon Sagi noted that the relations between Israel and Germany were stronger than ever. Paul Meyer Dunker, president of the Berlin Chess Federation said: “I am glad that this event strengthens the ties between the Israeli and German chess communities. There is no place for anti-Semitism and our Jewish chess friends can be sure that we will always stand by their side”.

Sofia Polgar in action

Additionally, Lior Aizenberg, the CEO and Founder of Chess4All and Chess4Solidarity Initiative, who organized the event from the Israeli side, spoke about Chess4Solidarity initiative that seeks to fight antisemitism and connect players from all around the world. Lior shared his experience of being offended in the past because of his nationality and his actions. In another signal of strong ties, an international online blitz competition in three categories was held on Lichess platform with 133 participants from Israel and Germany. Grandmaster Georg Meier (winner of the chess Maccabiah in Jerusalem 2019), won the crown group with a perfect score of 9 points from 9 games ahead of IMs David Gorodetzky and Yuri Zhizmer 6.5 points each. Online tournament directors were: Idan Lavi, Jonathan Born and Matias Petasny. Commentators were: German FM  Christian Polster and Israeli FM Shachar Gindi. Following this successful event, it has been decided to strengthen the relationships between the two countries by having more such activities in future.




Lior Aizenberg with Marlene Schoenberg, member of the Bundestag, the host of the event.

Photos: Judit Polgar; Chess 4 All

[Event “Chess 4 Solidarity “]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2024.03.14”]
[Round “?”]
[White “GM Shteinberg, Nitzan”]
[Black “IM Gorodetzky, David “]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C73”]
[Annotator “,Afek”]
[PlyCount “42”]
[EventDate “2024.??.??”]
[SourceDate “2024.03.18”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5. Bxc6+ bxc6 6. d4 exd4 7. Nxd4 Qd7 8.Nc3 Bb7 9. O-O Nf6 (9… Ne7 10. Re1 Ng6 $14) 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Nf5 O-O 12. Qf3 Bd8 $2 (12… Kh8) 13. Bh6 $1 Ne8 (13… g6 14. Bxf8 Kxf8 $16) 14. Bxg7 $1 Nxg7 15. Qg4 $1 $18 Qxf5 (15… f6 16. Nh6+ $18) 16. exf5 d5 17. Qf4 Bf6 18. Na4 Rab8 19. c3 Rfe8 20. Rfe1 Bc8 21. g4 Bd7 1-0



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