Category Archives: Chess

Turkey wins 12 golds at the European School Chess Championship 2024 – European Chess Union

European School Chess Championship 2024 concluded yesterday in Limerick, Ireland. The event gathered nearly 200 players coming from 18 European federations, who competed in 6 age categories: U7, U9, U11, U13, U15 and U17, open and girls sections separately.

Turkish players achieved a historical result, winning all 12 golds in all categories, and a total of 28 medals (12 gold, 8 silver and 8 bronze)!

Omer Taha Dede (TUR) triumphed in the U7 section scoring perfect 7/7 points. David-Christian Talaba (ROU) clinched silver with 6 points, and Amandeep Singh (ENG) won bronze scoring 5 points.

Miray Akinci (TUR) and Kumsal Islek (TUR) tied for the top in the GU7 category, scoring 7/9 points each. Miray Akinci had better tiebreaks to win gold, Kumsal Islek won silver medal, while Goksu Yildiz (TUR) won bronze with the score of 6 points.

Scoring 7/9 points, each, Ata Peray (TUR,1623) and Efe Aynaoglu (TUR, 1516) tied for gold in the U9 category. Ata Peray had better tiebreaks to finish first, Efe Aynaoglu came second, and Aaron-Mathias Dragoi (ROU, 1493) clinched bronze with 6.5 points.

Elem Tolan (TUR, 1424) emerged as the sole winner of the GU9 section with the score of 7.5 points. Irmak Keser (TUR, 1545) followed with 6.5 points, and Anne-Sophie Constantin-Ciuntu (ROU, 1761) finished third with 6 points.

Turkish players conquered the top of the U11 section as well, winning all three medals. Ali Poyraz Uzdemir (TUR, 1896) won gold medal thanks to better tiebreaks than Ege Oz (TUR, 1754) who had the same score of 8 points, and Murat Kutay Gokturk (TUR, 1861) claimed bronze scoring 6.5 points.

Zeynep Sonmez (TUR, 1561) secured gold in the GU11 section with a round to spare. With a win in the final round, Sonmez Zeynep finished the event with impressive 8.5/9 points, 2.5 points ahead of Shelley Potikha (ISR, 1497) and Elif Deniz (TUR, 1491) who tied for second with 6 points each. Shelley Potikha had better tiebreaks to win silver medal, and Elif Deniz came third.

The top-seeded player of the U13 section, CM Ali Alper Celik (TUR, 2102) won the championship scoring 7/9 points. He finished half a point ahead of three players who tied for second, and the tiebreak criteria determined the medalists. Dragos Stefan Leu (ROU, 1997) had the best additional criteria and came second, Umut Anil Dogan (TUR, 1957) was third, and Gorkem Unsal (TUR, 1969) finished fourth.

Three medals from GU13 section went to Turkey, as Zumral Yazici (TUR, 1651) won the event thanks to better tiebreaks than Cagla Yudum Sahin (TUR, 1725) who had the same score of 6/7 points, and Arya Aydogan (TUR, 1756) won bronze with 4.5 points.

Similarly, in the U15 section, Egehan Yildiz (TUR, 1984) won the tournament with 7 points, and Efe Yalcinkaya (TUR, 2026) and Alper Demirtas (TUR, 2060) tied for second place with 6.5 points each. Having better tiebreaks, Efe Yalcinkaya won silver and Alper Demirtas finished third.

Pelin Seyhan (TUR, 1719) triumphed in the GU15 section with the score of 4.5/7 points, while Maryna Petrenko (UKR, 1991) and Eylul Ceren Gedik (TUR, 1792) tied for silver scoring 4 points each. Maryna Petrenko had better tiebreaks to win silver medal, and Eylul Ceren Gedik came third.

IM Adar Tarhan (TUR, 2457) convincingly won the U17 championship with the score of 8.5/9 points, folloed by IM Eray Kilic (TUR, 2433) who won silver with 8 points, and Kerem Tuna Yilmaz (TUR, 2039) who finished third with 7 points.

In the GU17 section, WCM Ecrin Efsa Buyuk (TUR, 1891) and Hatice Asli Mustu (TUR, 1925) tied for the top scoring 8 points each. Ecrin Efsa Buyuk won gold thanks to better tiebreaks and Hatice Asli Mustu finished second. Lara Putar (IRL, 1983) won bronze medal scoring 6.5 points.

Final rankings of all sections can be found here.

The Closing ceremony of the event took place in the evening with attendance of the President of the Irish Chess Union Mr. Desmond Beatty and the Chairman of the ECU Events Commission Mr. Paris Klerides.

The event was organised by the Irish Chess Union, under the auspices of the European Chess Union.

Official website of the event

Photos by Irish Chess Union

See the article here:
Turkey wins 12 golds at the European School Chess Championship 2024 - European Chess Union

Why Filipinos are reacting to Norways post about 1st female chess champ – Interaksyon

A photo of a Norway Chess champion on Facebook went viral as Filipinos see the resemblance between the winner and a controversial mayor in the Philippines.

Ju Wenjun, a Chinese chess grandmaster, made remarkable history for Norway as she became the first female chess champ against another world champion challenger Lei Tingjie.

Commemorating her victory, Chess.com posted a photo of her via Facebook on Saturday, which eventually found its way to the Filipino community.

A few Pinoys left nearly 3,000 reactions to the photo and several comments stating that Wenjun looks like Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo.

One Facebook user quipped, Congratulations for growing up in the farm, your honor!

Grabe! From Pogo to Chess! Amazing! said another in jest.

Meanwhile, online users in the comment section of the post attempted to explain the thread of jokes made by Filipinos. Some even sent apologies on behalf of the majority who found the post funny.

Theyre probably wondering about these comments and unusual number of shares, one commenter remarked.

Congratulations Ju Wenjun! And also I apologize for the disrespectful comments of my fellow Filipinos. So proud to see a womens chess champion! an online user interjected.

While Norway continues to honor its first female chess winner, online users from the Philippines continue to talk about Guo following numerous Senate hearings tackling her background and her ties to illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) hubs in Bamban.

The probe into POGO and Guos background has raised several speculations about the latters potential involvement in espionage.

READ:Pinoys call for Comelecs attention amid Senate hearing revelations about Alice Guo

Guo then made online buzz for her response Hindi ko na po maalala, Your honor in response toSenate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros questions about her background.

This line has spawned memes created by online users and garnered public interest, as many looked forward to watching the Senate inquiries that Alice is anticipated to attend.

READ:POGO probe with Bamban Mayor Alice Guo gives birth to your honor, hindi ko na po maalala memes|Looking for a new series to watch? Pinoys suggest Senate hearings

Guo has since denied the allegations of POGO ties as well as the speculations of being a Chinese spy and claimed that she isthat she is a love child of her father and a house helper.

RELATED:Birthday greeting for Mommy Patty brought up after Alice Guos love child revelation

Meanwhile, on Monday,the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation reminded Filipinos that there are legitimate POGOs who are licensed are complying with government standards. It said that licensed POGOs are intensely monitored by legal regulators.

Original post:
Why Filipinos are reacting to Norways post about 1st female chess champ - Interaksyon

Almaty to Host 26th Asian Youth Chess Championships – Astana Times

ASTANA Almaty is hosting the 26th Asian Youth Chess Championships from June 9 to 21, announced the Kazakhstan Chess Federation.

Photo credit: Maxim Morozov/inbusiness.kz

In an interview with Kazinform, grandmaster Darmen Sadvakassov, the federations first Vice President, shared that the competition features over 640 players from 33 countries, competing in three time controls: classic, rapid, and blitz.

We hope that this tournament will become a launching pad for future chess stars, such as Gukesh Dommaraju, the current official senior world champion contender, who collected five gold medals at the 2018 Asian Championships, he stated.

According to Sadvakassov, all participants in the world title matches represent Asia this year: Ding Liren and Gukesh Dommaraju for men, and Ju Wenjun and Tan Zhongyi for women.

Our womens and youth team players have shown outstanding results on the international stage, winning medals at world championships. New mens grandmasters are emerging, and the national team is being revitalized. In total, nearly 40 international and FIDE masters will compete in the Asian Championship in Almaty. Our players will vie for medals in various age categories, he added.

The federation has prepared a rich leisure program, including a match between chess and football players, master classes, and other engaging side events.

We want to pay great attention to the environment: all plastic used during the tournament will be recycled, and participants will contribute to this effort. The recycled plastic will later be used to create chess boards and cups, Sadvakassov said.

Link:
Almaty to Host 26th Asian Youth Chess Championships - Astana Times

The Romanian Chess Federation invites you to play at the Romania Grand Prix 2024 – Chess News | ChessBase

Press release Text: Gabriel Grecescu

GM Shant Sargsyan (ARM) won the first leg in Bucharest on 24th March. There are still four more legs left. The second leg will be held at Cluj-Napoca on 13th and 14th June. A total of 290 players including 20 GMs, 11 IMs and 3 WGMs have registered from 16 countries across the world. That's not all, you will get to play in the same arena as Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi. The VIP guest will be Vishy Anand. So register now if you have not yet.

The Romania Grand Prix began in 2022 as a need to provide to young Romanian chess players the opportunity to compete in a strong tournament in their home country. Additionally, the Romanian Chess Federation initiated efforts to establish a new European "Chess Capital."

Cluj Grand Prix Rapid (13-14 June 2024) - sneak peek | Video: Federaia Romn de ah

Bucharest Grand Prix Rapid 2024 - festivitatea de premiere | Video: Federaia Romn de ah

Bucharest GP Rapid 2024 Top 3 (L to R): 3rd GM Anton Korobov(UKR) 8.5/9, 1st GM Shant Sargsyan (ARM) 8.5/9 and 2nd GM Ruslan Ponomariov(UKR) 8.5/9 | Photo: Federaia Romn de ah

The beautiful trophies for the prize winners | Photo: Federaia Romn de ah

For more photos of Bucharest Grand Prix Rapid 2024, please click here.

In 2023, the RGP saw significant growth compared to 2022:

1,775 players participated (+72%)

37 countries were represented (+30%)

Total prize fund reached 175,000 EUR (+25%), with Romanian chess players winning 67,000 EUR (41,000 EUR by juniors and 26,000 EUR by adults).

The goal for 2024 is to attract over 2000 players from more than 40 countries. The first leg in Bucharest set a new record with 442 players from 20 countries.

Bucharest Grand Prix Rapid 2024 - the biggest chess tournament in Romania | Video: Federaia Romn de ah

Also, starting this year, during each event we will host a tournament for the kids that are learning chess in schools, on the national program Education thru Chess.

The next leg will take place in Cluj Napoca on June 13-14, during the Sports Festival. You can register here. This event will feature chess among other popular sports and will be held in the same arena where Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf will play a demonstrative tennis match. The VIP guest will be Mr. Viswanathan Anand.

The one and only Vishy Anand will be the VIP guest at Cluj Napoca leg of the GP to be held on 13th and 14rh June 2024 | Photo: Federaia Romn de ah

Tennis legends - Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi willplay a demonstrative tennis match at the same arena as Vishy Anand | Photo: Coadic Guirec / Bestimage

The chess summer in Romania will continue with the following events:

Braov - 15-21 July - total prize 30.000 EUR - prizes for each rating category

Timioara - 3-4 August - total prize 30.000 EUR - prizes for each rating category

Arad - 5-11 August - (60km from Timioara) - total prize 30.000 EUR - prizes for each rating category

Additional inputs by Shahid Ahmed

Excerpt from:
The Romanian Chess Federation invites you to play at the Romania Grand Prix 2024 - Chess News | ChessBase

Interview with IA & WFM Shohreh Bayat – Chess News | ChessBase

International Arbiter and Womens FIDE Master Shohreh Bayat was born in 1987 in Rasht, Iran. When she was nine years old, Bayat started playing chess. She won her first international title in 1998 when she became Iranian Girls U12 Champion. Many other national victories followed in classical chess, rapid and blitz.

Bayat began her career as a FIDE chess arbiter at the age of 25, after which she became the first Grade A arbiter from Asia and a prominent arbiter in Iran. In 2020, while executing her role as the tournaments chief arbiter at the Women's World Chess Championship in Shanghai, pictures that insinuated she was wearing her hijab wrong (and thus, not respecting the strict Islamic dress code she had to follow as an Iranian arbiter) reached Iran and generated great controversy. Bayat had to apply for asylum in the UK after refusing to apologize publiclyas the Chess Federation of Iran requested from herfor a wrong she didnt commit. Bayat now lives in the UK and referees under the English flag since September 2020. Bayats husband and family live in Iran.

Bayats ambitions and talents didnt remain restricted to the world of chess, as in 2017 she became the first female General Secretary of the Iranian Sport Federation. Besides graduating with a Master's Degree in Natural Resources Engineering, Bayat has published several scientific articles in journals, as well as at the 1st International Conference of IALE-Iran.

The Iranian chess arbiter and player Shohreh Bayat has found a new home in the UK where she enjoys an environment full of diversity. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Are you content living in the UK?

Yes, I am currently extremely happy living in the UK. One of the main reasons is its remarkable diversity. This diversity is incredibly important to me as it spans various aspects of life. I appreciate that people in the UK can freely express their identities, whether it's related to religion, gender, neurodiversity, or political views. The respect and acceptance of differences here are exemplary, making the UK a uniquely inclusive place to live. It's like experiencing the world within a single country, with people from all backgrounds coexisting harmoniously. This rich tapestry of cultures and perspectives is something I truly love about living in the UK.

What do you do as an international arbiter, what does your job consist of?

That's a good question. Being an International Arbiter is not a full-time job, but a part-time one. In addition to being an arbiter, I work for Chess in Schools and Communities, developing chess among primary school children. As an International Arbiter, I officiate at various tournaments (both within the UK and internationally) covering all levels of play. This role is very special to me because I get to work not only at top-level tournaments, but also at children's tournaments, which offer a unique and lively environment.

Each tournament I work at provides an opportunity to learn something new. Sometimes, I officiate at school tournaments, which are typically lower-level, and other times, I travel to other countries for top-level tournaments featuring some of the best players in the world. Regardless of the level, each experience contributes to my growth as an arbiter.

An essential part of my job involves continuous study. I need to be thoroughly familiar with the rules and all related regulations because there isn't time to look things up in the FIDE Hand book while a tournament is going on. I must have everything memorized and understand the rule behind each article.

As an arbiter, you meet a lot of interesting players and people, and get to see different venues all over the world. Do you have some memorable moments and anecdotes to share with us?

One of the most memorable tournaments I've had the privilege to work at is called Chess to Change, organized by GM Pontus Carlson. It's an annual online tournament that holds a special place in my heart. What sets this tournament apart is its transformative impact on people's lives.

Chess to Change isn't just about competition; it's about making a tangible difference. In this tournament, we see a unique blend of playersfrom seasoned businessmen to African children in need. The entry fees paid by these businessmen go directly towards supporting the education, food and basic needs of these children. It's incredibly touching to witness how this tournament brings about immediate positive change in the lives of these individuals.

Being a part of Chess to Change has been a profoundly meaningful experience for me. It's a reminder of the positive power of chess.

Bayat is not only a successful arbiter, but has also won many national chess titles in her home country Iran. | Source: https://ratings.fide.com/profile/12501018)

You have a masters degree in natural resources engineering and have published scientific articles in diverse papers and journals. Why and when did you decide to become a professional chess arbiter?

I began playing chess at the age of nine, and soon, I found myself drawn to the role of an arbiter. Observing arbiters at work during my childhoodespecially in the era of manual pairingignited a genuine interest in their responsibilities. Assisting them occasionally only fueled my curiosity. However, in my country, one had to be at least 18 years old to become an arbiter. So, around the age of 14, I delved into studying the Laws of Chess and participated in arbitrating courses, despite not being eligible for the final exam.

Meanwhile, I actively competed in chess tournaments and achieved success, notably winning national youth championships. Upon turning 18, I promptly obtained my arbiter's degree. In Iran, this process involved progressing through three grades: starting from grade three, advancing to grade two, and finally attaining grade one. Balancing arbiter courses with university studies and competitive chess engagements was challenging, so I prioritized arbitrating over playing.

Interestingly, during my university years, I recognized the importance of learning English for my research endeavors as well as for my role as an arbiter. Obtaining an IELTS certification opened doors for me to establish connections with international colleagues. This marked a significant turning point in honing my skills as a chess arbiter.

Has the incident at the Womens World Championship 2020 in Shanghai (with the pictures of you falsely wearing the hijab wrong) affected your job as an IA?

Yes, the incident regarding my hijab at the Womens World Championship 2020 in Shanghai has significantly impacted my life as an arbiter. At the time, I was living in Iran, and following the incident, I had to immediately relocate to the UK and apply for asylum. This process resulted in the loss of my passport, rendering me unable to travel for a year. This was a period of transition for me as I had been actively participating as an international arbiter, traveling extensively to tournaments.

Upon settling in the UK, I encountered a different arbitration environment than the one I was accustomed to have in Asia and FIDE events. Through these experiences, I found opportunities for growth and steadily adapted to the new environment and gained valuable experience. I learned about the cultural differences in arbitration approaches, with a greater emphasis on common sense prevailing in the UK compared to the strict adherence to rules in Asia.

I managed to integrate my experiences from different parts of the world, leveraging each to enhance my arbitration skills. While the incident brought about significant changes in my life, some aspects were positive. It has also garnered recognition for me, but I always identify first and foremost as a chess arbiter.

You have pointed out in an interview that your career accomplishments as an arbiter are often overlooked since the incident with the hijab. Therefore, I want to know how it felt for you to receive the International Women of Courage Award in 2021only one among many acknowledgements you have received.

Receiving the International Women of Courage Award in 2021 was indeed a deeply touching experience for me. While I felt immensely honored, I never viewed it as an individual achievement. Instead, I saw it as a representation of the resilience and courage of countless Iranian women who confront challenges and fight for their freedom every day. This award symbolized their unwavering bravery and determination in the face of adversity. Thus, I accepted it on behalf of all those remarkable women who inspire me with their strength and perseverance. It was a moment of recognition not just for me, but for the collective struggle of women striving for a better future.

Shohreh Bayat was awarded the Women of Courage Award 2021 by the Department of State for "her dedication to womens rights in the face of threats from the Iranian government." | Photo: Courtesy of Iran Watcher, Embassy of the United States of America

What have been your personal highlights in your career as both, a chess player and an arbiter?

In my chess journey, winning the Iranian under 12 Chess Championship marked the beginning of my success. I went on to secure victories in various age categories, including gold in the under 16 and under 20 (Iranian Junior Chess Championships). Representing both, the Iran and England national teams, was a privilege. Additionally, I've triumphed in numerous other events and championships, contributing to my overall success as a player.

Regarding my job as an arbiter, I became the first female category A arbiter in Asia and was later recognized as the best European Female Arbiter by FIDE in 2022.

Furthermore, I've officiated in numerous FIDE events, including serving as the chief arbiter of the Womens World Championship Final 2020 and as the deputy chief arbiter in various championships such as the Womens World Chess Championship, FIDE World Rapid Chess Championship, and FIDE World Blitz Chess Championship. I've also worked in many top-level international events, including Norway Chess, Gibraltar, London Chess Classic, Abu Dhabi Masters, US Masters, Sharjah Masters, Maia Chess Festival, and Thailand Open.

Whats your current opinion on the chess world?

Well, in my opinion, the current state of the chess world is one of rapid development. I believe this is largely due to the accessibility of online chess platforms, coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, we've seen a surge in the number of chess enthusiasts joining the online chess community. The majority of new participants in the chess world are those engaging in online play from around the globe, thanks to its increased accessibility.

I consider this trend to be significant. Some countries, like the UK and US, have implemented chess programs in schools, leading to a growing number of children learning chess as a skill, even if they may not participate in tournaments. So, from my perspective, chess is evolving rapidly, and its community is expanding. It's becoming an integral part of people's lives, serving as a mental health tool and contributing to educational development. I believe this aspect is particularly important.

What would you like to change or improve in the chess world?

I believe that incorporating chess into school curriculums would be a significant improvement in the chess world. This initiative has been incredibly successful in the UK, where I personally teach chess to approximately 400 students each year. Witnessing the positive impact of chess on their lives and seeing it become one of their favorite subjects is truly rewarding. Moreover, chess has shown remarkable benefits for children with special needs, including those with ADHD and other learning difficulties, making it a valuable tool in education for students with diverse needs.

My desire is to see chess integrated into school programs in more countries, as currently, only a few nations have made it a compulsory subject. It's disheartening because starting chess education at a young age can have a profound and lasting impact on individuals. Therefore, I advocate for broader implementation of scholastic chess programs to enrich the educational experiences of children worldwide.

Bayat on the cover of the British Chess Magazine for an interview in 2020. | Photo: Courtesy of the British Chess Magazine.

Thank you very much for your time, Ms Bayat. The ChessBase team and I wish you all the best and strength for your future.

The interview was conducted in English via Zoom in May 2024.

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Interview with IA & WFM Shohreh Bayat - Chess News | ChessBase

Lindsey Vonn Describes Skiing & Tennis As "Very Fast Chess Game" – Unofficial Networks

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Lindsey Vonn Describes Skiing & Tennis As "Very Fast Chess Game" - Unofficial Networks

Top tournament in Tashkent – the UzChess Masters live – Chess News | ChessBase

6/6/2024 Today, the UzChess Masters starts in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The UzChess Masters is a strong 10-player round robin, in which all players have an Elo rating of 2600+ while eight of the participants have a rating of 2700+. Top seed is Nodirbek Abdusattorov. Round 1 starts at 12.00 CEST (6.00 ET).

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Top tournament in Tashkent - the UzChess Masters live - Chess News | ChessBase

Israel is playing chess with itself amid the Israel-Hamas war – The Jerusalem Post

As the war in Gaza approaches its eight-month mark, as the heart breaks at the news that four additional hostages were killed in Hamas captivity, as the North is engulfed in flames, and as the government teeters on collapse, there is a tendency to lose the thread.

All the pain, all the anger, and all the frustration can blur the vision, confusing those responsible for the misery with those trying to ensure such misery is not revisited in the country again.

Guy Metzger, whose father, Yoram Metzger, was among the four hostages whose death was announced to a shell-shocked nation on Monday evening, has not lost the thread.

In an interview on Tuesday morning with Army Radio, he stated clearly that Hamas was responsible for his fathers murder. The actual circumstances of his fathers death, whether by accidental friendly IDF fire or by the bloody hands of one of Hamass many murderers, was inconsequential, he said.

Asked whether he harbored anger toward the government or the IDF, Metzger replied that the actual circumstances of his fathers death were beside the point.

This question was not out of place in the current climate where claims are rife that the IDF despite having lost some 300 soldiers in Gaza, trying to force the release of the hostages and degrade Hamass capabilities has not done everything it can to set them free, and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would rather have the hostages rot in the tunnels than lose his grip on power by ending the war.

The circumstances of their [the hostages] deaths are unimportant, Metzger said. They were kidnapped by Hamas. Hamas was responsible for their lives. Hamas is guilty of everything that happened to them there.

Hamas kidnapped people, and the exact manner by which they perished is less important, he said, adding: My father was killed by Hamas under the ground. That is the situation.

It is a situation that gets lost in the Israeli penchant to play chess with itself a penchant the country honed to an art during previous rounds of diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians over the last three decades and which is now evident in wartime negotiations as well.

What does it mean that Israel plays chess with itself? It means that Israelis argue passionately and debate among themselves endlessly about solutions to problems that are only partially in their hands to solve, i.e., if Israelis could only agree on a solution, that solution would then magically appear.

For instance, for years, Israelis argued with each other over peace with the Palestinians: what the final boundaries of a future deal would look like, what settlements would remain a part of Israel and which ones would be uprooted, and what neighborhoods would remain under Israels control in Jerusalem. All that was missing was taking into consideration the Palestinian point of view and the real possibility that whatever Israelis decided among themselves might not be enough for the Palestinians (which, in the end, is what transpired).

Just as Israelis played chess with themselves regarding peace negotiations, so, too, are they now playing chess with themselves during wartime.

Perhaps impacted by the misplaced slogan about the hostages, Bring them Home, as opposed to the more accurate slogan that places the onus on Hamas, Let them Go, many have the sense that if Israel would just do X or Y, then Hamas would do Z and release the hostages, and this whole nightmare would be over. When cast in this light, the onus is on Israel because of an unwillingness to do X or Y.

Seal the deal is one of the slogans currently being chanted in protests against the government, as if a heartless government in Jerusalem is blocking a deal within grasp.

Yet no less a personage than State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, someone not shy of criticizing the Israeli government, on Monday said the obstacle to the current deal is not Israel.

To be clear, the roadblock right now to a ceasefire is not Israel, he said. The roadblock to a ceasefire is Hamas. The world should know, the Palestinian people should know, that the only thing standing in the way of an immediate ceasefire today is Hamas.

Not only the world and the Palestinians should know this, but so, too, should Israelis, especially those creating the impression that the government does not care about its citizens languishing, suffering, and being tormented in Hamass tunnels.

It is quite possible that what Hamas is demanding an end to the war, a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, allowing all the Gazan residents to return to their homes, and a guarantee that it be allowed to remain in power may be beyond the price that this country is willing to pay. Do those who say, Pay any price, really mean any price? Do those who say, Seal the deal, mean any deal?

None of the above is meant to absolve the government of its responsibility for the current mess.

There is something extraordinarily unseemly about the public squabbles among government leaders at this time, about Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich threatening to bring down Netanyahus government, feeding the impression that this is what is driving the prime ministers life-and-death choices.

US President Joe Biden, when asked in a Time magazine interview published on Tuesday whether Netanyahu is prolonging the war for his own political reasons, replied: There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion. That from a leader facing his own upcoming election and whose decisions regarding the war are clearly not free from his own political considerations.

Has this government made mistakes in prosecuting this war over the last eight months? Certainly. Did it miss previous opportunities to perhaps secure the release of additional hostages? Maybe, at least according to some leaks in the press.

But to place the bulk of the onus on the current depressing and sad state of affairs on the government is to absolve Hamas of its ultimate responsibility. The grieving son of Yoram Metzger understands that. It is incumbent upon others eight months into this horrific war to also keep that in mind.

Read more:
Israel is playing chess with itself amid the Israel-Hamas war - The Jerusalem Post

Play Chess Against The Mechanical Turk – Chess.com

Youve played fun, new monthly Chess.com bots for years. Now its time for you to play the first chess robot ever built, The Mechanical Turk!

Created in 1770, The Mechanical Turk was a chess playing automaton that toured around Europe and dazzled opponents. For over 80 years it played and defeated famous historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin. But The Mechanical Turk had a secret

There was a real chess player hidden inside!

This month, The Mechanical Turk debuts on Chess.com with a fun, famous chess opponent controlling him. Can you defeat him and figure out who it is?

Want a more relaxing opponent this June? Play against summer versions of our most popular Chess.com bots! Martin, Jimmy, Nelson, and Isabel are back with new openings, new outfits, new dialogue, and a new challenge!

Summer Martin (325)

Martin loves playing chess at the beach with his kids. All 12 of them. See if you can teach him a lesson or two as he pulls pieces out of the sand castle.

Summer Jimmy (675)

Jimmy is one of Chess.coms most popular bots and the self-proclaimed "coolest chess player in town." See if you can beat this two-time Prom King runner-up before he gets too sunburned.

Summer Nelson (1400)

Nelsons dangerous queen openings and aggressive playing style have given a lot of chess players headaches over the years. Now hes back, stronger than ever, ready to ruin your June.

Summer Isabel (1750)

This is Isabel's summer to shine. Shes out by the pool, drink in hand, waiting to crush you without even taking off her sunglasses. See how long you can last on the board. The Mechanical Turk (?)

Created in 1770, The Mechanical Turk was the first ever chess robot. But why do we hear sneezes from his stomach? Play him and see if you can unravel this month's secret...

Who do you think the Mechanical Turk is? Can you figure it out from the opponents or dialogue hints? Let us know down below!

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Play Chess Against The Mechanical Turk - Chess.com

Rapport Returns To Play For Hungary In Budapest Olympiad, Teams Up With Leko – Chess.com

In a surprising turn of events, the Hungarian Chess Federation has announced that GM Richard Rapport will return to play for his native country just two years after transferring to Romania. GM Peter Leko also confirmed his participation.

Hungary has received a significant boost with the return of Rapport, three months before the Chess Olympiad begins in its capital Budapest and runs September 11-22. The news was presented at a press conference on Monday, with Rapport expressing his happiness to be back. He's quoted by Telex.hu:

"A long-awaited moment has arrived in my life. I am very happy to be here. For a long time I felt that I was not important to my native country. Now it seems that they have discovered value in me, which I am happy about."

For a long time I felt that I was not important to my native country. Now it seems that they have discovered value in me, which I am happy about.

Zoltan Polyanszky, President of the Hungarian Chess Federation, is also thrilled, telling Chess.com: "Richard Rapport has always been a Hungarian chess player. He played under another flag for two years, owing to an understandable decision related to his individual career, but we always took him as our man. It means a lot that we could bring him home, but this is not enough to say."

The 28-year-old became Hungary's biggest prospect when he gained the grandmaster title in 2010 at the age of 13 years and 11 months. Rapport has been among the world's top 30 players since 2018, reaching a peak rating of 2776 and ranking fifth in 2022. Although he has dropped to 29th with a rating of 2715, he remains a fan-favorite due to his creative and unorthodox playing style.

In 2022, Rapport fell out with the Hungarian federation and surprisingly switched to play for Romania. The transfer came after Sacha Dragic, the owner of the Romanian gambling portal Superbet, made an offer that the Rapports "couldn't refuse," according to Hungarian media.

Since then Rapport has been a regular in the Dragic-backed Grand Chess Tour events, but he was absent in this tour's first event, the Superbet Rapid & Blitz Polandin Warsaw, with the "Romanian spot" taken by the Ukrainian-born GM Kirill Shevchenko.

Rapport recently denied a rumor that he had received Romanian citizenship, instead confirming that he had turned down such an offer.

During the GRENKE Chess Classic in March the 28-year-old was already using the Hungarian flag, however the transfer has not yet been confirmed by FIDE. Its Legal Director Aleksandr Martynov tells Chess.com that they have not yet received the official documentation for the transfer, but that it's expected in the next few days.

Hungary will have to pay the transfer fee of 50,000 euros before the grandmaster can play FIDE competitions for Hungary without a two-year waiting period. Polyanszky told Chess.com that this process has started.

"As soon as the Romanian colleagues declare that they let him leave, we are ready to pay the fee instantly," he said.

Polyanszky added that the federation also intends to pay the transfer fee for Rapport's Serbian wife, WGM Jovana Rapport. "She is a decent player who could strengthen Hungarian women's chess if she decides to focus on her tournament play in the coming years."

Rapport will re-unite with former world championship challenger and Chess.com commentator Leko, who also confirmed that he will play for the national team for the first time since 2018. The duo were key members of the team that scored a silver medal in the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway.

Leko told Chess.com that his only condition for returning was that Rapport would be on board: "I have no intention just to participate, but if given the chance to fight for something, it is a completely different story."

The Hungarian chess legend praised the efforts by Polyanszki and the State Sports Secretary, calling it a miracle. "Despite holding my ground, I have been very impressed and touched by all the efforts they made to try make me return to the Hungarian national team. This is the reason why I have offered that if I am not playing then I would like to contribute as a coach to help preparing the team. We really had a fantastic time together during the training camp when I was acting as the coach of the team. The chemistry had been excellent."

With the addition of GM Sanan Sjugirov, who transferred from Russia last year, Hungary is now expected to fight for medals in Budapest.

Hungary's Secretary of Sports Adam Schmidt told Nemzeti Sport: "Chess is a serious sport, here every step has consequences. Preparing for the Budapest Chess Olympiad, Mr. President and I set the goal of being able to compete with the strongest possible team. In the last thirteen months, we have had a lot of phone conversations and meetings, thanks to which I can report results today."

The Hungarian team could look like this, even if there is great competition for the two remaining spots:

[Updated May 30 with comments from Leko]

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Rapport Returns To Play For Hungary In Budapest Olympiad, Teams Up With Leko - Chess.com