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Thread: FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Ch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

  1. #1
    Nigel Hanrahan's Avatar
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    FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Ch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    It's official, GM Susan Polgar noted today, that the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between the 26th and 30th December 2017.

    https://www.themaven.net/chessdailyn...DHzaxcQ?full=1

    FIDE is pleased to announce that, under the aegis of the General Sports Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the 2017 King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between the 26th and 30th December 2017.

    The first two Rapid Championships (Open and Women) will be on the 26th to 28th December and the Blitz Championships (Open and Women) will follow on the 29th and 30th December. The events offer a record breaking prize fund of US$2,000,000 with the Open events having individual prize funds of US$750,000 and each women event having a prize fund of US$ 250,000. 30 prizes shall be offered in each event. A payment of 20% from the above total prize fund shall be made to FIDE....

    The qualified players will be offered free accommodation in Riyadh, as well as travel expenses as per regulations, if they confirm and sign their participation by the deadline of 30 November 2017.
    The FIDE announcement can be found over here. There is a very, very impressive list of GMs and Super GMs playing in the event.

    ...............................................................

    I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that ChessTalk will have NO threads tut-tuting about the status of women in Saudi Arabia, no tirade lamenting the "shameful" practice of forcing the use of the burqa, etc., etc., and no calls to boycott that country or call for its expulsion from FIDE as was the case in a thread here recently regarding the Iranian republic.

    After all, Saudi Arabia is so nice and buys billions of dollars in weapons from Canada - even if they're used against Yemeni and other civilians - is a military ally of NATO, and so on.

    And just look how well funded the event is! No, there is no cause for complaint! lol. Just play chess!
    Dogs will bark, but the caravan of chess moves on.

  2. #2
    J. Ken MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Ch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel Hanrahan View Post
    It's official, GM Susan Polgar noted today, that the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between the 26th and 30th December 2017.

    https://www.themaven.net/chessdailyn...DHzaxcQ?full=1



    The FIDE announcement can be found over here. There is a very, very impressive list of GMs and Super GMs playing in the event.

    ...............................................................

    I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that ChessTalk will have NO threads tut-tuting about the status of women in Saudi Arabia, no tirade lamenting the "shameful" practice of forcing the use of the burqa, etc., etc., and no calls to boycott that country or call for its expulsion from FIDE as was the case in a thread here recently regarding the Iranian republic.

    After all, Saudi Arabia is so nice and buys billions of dollars in weapons from Canada - even if they're used against Yemeni and other civilians - is a military ally of NATO, and so on.

    And just look how well funded the event is! No, there is no cause for complaint! lol. Just play chess!
    Reverse psychology?

  3. #3
    Kerry Liles's Avatar
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    Re: FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Ch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    Hikaru Nakamura‏ posted this on Twitter:

    @GMHikaru
    To organize a chess tournament in a country where basic human rights aren't valued is horrible.
    Chess is a game where all different sorts of people can come together,
    not a game in which people are divided because of their religion or country of origin.

    http://www.fide.com/component/conten...ouncement.html

    11:59 AM - 9 Nov 2017

  4. #4
    Nigel Hanrahan's Avatar
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    Saudi Arabia in the news

    For some background, I should just add that political events around Saudi Arabia are coming fast and furious. Enough to make even a seasoned observer be more inclined to watch and wait.

    The Lebanese PM, for example, recently flew to Saudi Arabia to announce his resignation. Odd, you say? Not when it's know that he's essentially a Saudi asset. And the Saudis are furious over recent rapproachment between Iran and Lebanon, what with successes in finishing off the Saudi-sponsored ISIS jihadists in Syria and Iraq. Not that the Western MSM is saying very much at all about that. The press conference with the Lebanese PM was a tirade of well-choreographed denunciations of the Iranian Republic and could have been held in Tel Aviv. Too bad for the terrorists. Iran was on the right side on that one. The House of Saud is telling its nationals to leave Lebanon immediately, says commentator Pepe Escobar.

    But that is not all. It looks like the Saudi King is about to announce that his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will take power in the Kingdom. For those of you who think Iran and Saudi Arabia are much the same, I can assure you that the Iranians actually have ... elections.

    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article...n-coming-days/

    When it comes to Saudi "liberals", you can judge by the following...

    In September, the Saudi government announced that it would ease restrictions on female spectators in sports stadiums and starting June 2018 all women in the country would be allowed to drive. Women in Saudi Arabia have been barred from driving since the late 1970s.
    This is the Crown Prince's doing, according to the article.

    And, of course, there is the brutal war on Yemen in which, despite the truckloads of money and weapons from Western countries (like Canada), the Saudis have failed at. They have killed many civilians, however, and there are epidemics and fammine in Yemen, horrific ones, but that doesn't get the media attention that other conflicts get. The Saudis are our "ally" after all.

    Democracy Now notes that there have been a score of arrests of high profile individuals.

    Saudi authorities arrested scores of prominent officials over the weekend, including 10 princes, four ministers and dozens of former ministers, in a massive shakeup by King Salman aimed at consolidating power for his son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the main architect of the kingdom’s war in Yemen. Among those arrested was Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest people, with an estimated net worth of at least $17 billion. Talal has investments in many well-known U.S. companies, like Apple, Twitter, Citigroup—and Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, News Corp. The arrests, on unspecified “corruption” charges, came just hours after the crown prince convened a new anti-corruption committee with wide-ranging powers to detain and arrest anyone accused and to search their homes and seize their assets.
    Mind you, business is still business.

    Meanwhile, the White House said President Trump called King Salman to offer thanks for the kingdom’s purchases of billions of dollars in U.S. weaponry, while praising what it called the kingdom’s “modernization drive.”
    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/11...n_consolidates

    So there is a great deal going on. By the time the FIDE event takes place things could be very, very different in the Kingdom. I suppose the publicity associated with a high profile and prestigious chess tournament can't hurt.
    Last edited by Nigel Hanrahan; Thursday, 9th November, 2017 at 06:40 PM. Reason: business is business
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  5. #5
    Wayne Komer's Avatar
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    Re: FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Ch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Ch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    November 16, 2017

    From haaretz.com:

    Top Israeli chess players won’t be able to compete in a major tournament for three years after the World Chess Federation agreed to host the event in Saudi Arabia in return for a $1.5 million fee.

    Saudi Arabia is one of a number of Arab or Muslim countries that normally do not allow entry to Israelis.

    In fact, the move by the World Chess Federation sparked fury around the world with 150 players expected to boycott the event in Riyadh next month. Many non-Israelis are staying away to protest the Saudis’ human rights record or customs like a requirement that women wear a head scarf or similar garb.

    As one of the strongest chess nations, with three players in the top 50, Israel has the most to lose from the decision, which also means entrants from Qatar and Iran, bitter rivals of the Saudis, won’t be able to go.

    This week the Association of Chess Professionals condemned the decision to stage the World Rapid and Blitz Championships in Saudi Arabia.

    “This kind of event cannot and should not take place in a country that does not guarantee an entry to the representatives all federations, and has gender and religion discriminatory laws,” the association said in a statement.

    The association’s president, Emil Sutovsky, an Israeli grandmaster, blamed a lack of transparency at the top of the world federation, where the decision to award Saudi Arabia the tournament was made by a handful of people.

    He noted that the world federation stood to gain four times the normal annual fee from Saudi Arabia, which the federation agreed could host the event for three years. This is because organizers in Riyadh have increased the prize money for the tournament to $2 million, of which the world federation gets a quarter, or $500,000 a year.

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.823015

    __________

    From The Telegraph:

    Holding chess championship in Saudi Arabia is a ‘horrible’ move, top players say

    See:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017...e-top-players/

    The above article finishes off with these two sentences:

    On Saturday Fide announced on its website that English Grandmaster Nigel Short, another fervent critic of the organisation, was the first to sign up for the Saudi Arabia event.

    World champion Magnus Carlsen, the winner in 2014, is also expected to attend after finishing runner-up to the Russian Sergey Karjakin last year in Doha, Qatar.

  6. #6
    Egidijus Zeromskis's Avatar
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    Re: FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Ch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Komer View Post
    Top Israeli chess players won’t be able to compete in a major tournament for three years
    Why three years?

  7. #7
    Kerry Liles's Avatar
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    Re: FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Ch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Egidijus Zeromskis View Post
    Why three years?
    I think the statement means that Israeli players cannot compete in that one specific tournament for 3 years because THAT tournament was awarded to Saudi Arabia for the next 3 years.
    A rather unfortunate way to state things in the first sentence (but to be fair, that is likely what any sort of headline would likely say too!).

    As a Canadian I don't understand why we have *anything* to do with Saudi Arabia - their record on fundamental human rights is horrendous and backward and pathetic.
    Of course, I realize it is all about oil and money but we should have nothing to do with them.

  8. #8
    Egidijus Zeromskis's Avatar
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    Re: FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Ch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Liles View Post
    I think the statement means that Israeli players cannot compete in that one specific tournament for 3 years because THAT tournament was awarded to Saudi Arabia for the next 3 years.
    I see. I've not read yet that it was awarded for 3 years to the same place.

  9. #9
    Kerry Liles's Avatar
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    Re: FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Ch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Egidijus Zeromskis View Post
    I see. I've not read yet that it was awarded for 3 years to the same place.
    From Wayne's post:

    He noted that the world federation stood to gain four times the normal annual fee from Saudi Arabia, which the federation agreed could host the event for three years. This is because organizers in Riyadh have increased the prize money for the tournament to $2 million, of which the world federation gets a quarter, or $500,000 a year.

  10. #10
    Nigel Hanrahan's Avatar
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    oh, the irony

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Liles View Post
    As a Canadian I don't understand why we have *anything* to do with Saudi Arabia - their record on fundamental human rights is horrendous and backward and pathetic.
    Of course, I realize it is all about oil and money but we should have nothing to do with them.
    It is also about Canadian weapons sales to the Kingdom. Both the Harper and Trudeau regimes approved the sale of billions of dollars in armored vehicles, rifles, and expert Canadian training. In addition, the Saudis are a key military ally of NATO, and therefore of Canada, and share that organization's virulent hostility to the Iranian Republic, the Syrian Arab Republic, Hezbollah (one of the largest factions in the Lebanese Parliament), and general NATO goals in the Middle East. Having noted that, Saudi Arabia is rampaging in Yemen, killing thousands by famine, cholera, bombing, and blockade, and looks to want a war with Lebanon as well. 3 or 4 years from now could look very, very different in the Kingdom.

    It's rather ironic that both Israelis AND Iranians won't be able to attend the event, when the latter are often boycotting contests and events with the former. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

    Another comment of note is from IM Lela Javkhishvili who, quite rightly, pointed out that all the noisy proponents of human rights and so on are dead silent when it comes to top women players getting properly paid for their appearance and participation in top chess events.

    Quote Originally Posted by IM Lela Javkhishvili
    "I didn't see some of those players protesting against ridiculous and somehow insulting prizes in the recent ACP Women’s Rapid and Blitz European Championship, where almost nobody got conditions and where for example 5th place wouldn't even cover travel expenses. For me it's not less insulting than to wear a hijab for four days. And where in those cases are the voices of "principled" chess players and "human rights defenders?"
    Again, it is ironic that possibly the most misogynist country in the world is providing the funding for a top women's chess event when the "enlightened" Europeans can't be bothered.
    Last edited by Nigel Hanrahan; Tuesday, 21st November, 2017 at 01:07 PM.
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