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  1. 27 Dec '17 20:24 / 7 edits
    https://en.chessbase.com/post/world-rapid-starts-in-riyadh

    "FIDE's Riyadh Gambit"

    "The World Rapid Championship attracted significant international media
    attention as it began on Tuesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but the focus
    was mostly centred around the absence of Women's World Rapid and
    Blitz Champion Anna Muzychuk, and all players from Israel, who were
    denied visas to travel to the country."

    There has been some religious disapproval of playing chess in Saudi Arabia.
    Hosting this major FIDE tournament is a government effort to counter that sentiment.
    Saudi Arabia's extremely weak in chess, much weaker than Iran or even Qatar.

    On the FIDE list of countries, averaging the ten best players, Saudi Arabia
    ranked 134th among men, with a total of 55 players counted.
    The highest rated is Ahmed Al Ghamdi (2159).
    A women's ranking does not exist for Saudi Arabia, as no woman in the
    KSA has ever participated in a rated international chess tournament."

    Ukrainian GM Anna Muzychuk (whose stature in women's chess seems to
    be somewhat exaggerated by the Western non-chess media) is boycotting.
    The world's highest rated (by far) woman player, Hou Yifan, also is not playing.

    "Muzychuk's concerns were partially addressed when FIDE reached an
    agreement with the organisers on a dress code for women which called
    for "dark blue or black formal trouser suits, with high necked white blouses".
    Outside of the playing hall and the hotel, women would still need to observe
    local dress code laws, including wearing an abaya. That is, arguably, an
    improvement over the situation at the 2017 Women's World Championship
    in Tehran, where players were requred to wear a hijab while competing."

    Saudi Arabia has major differences with several countries in the region
    (not only Israel), including Iran and Qatar. FIDE intervention was needed
    to enable Qatar's players (including GM Mohamed Al-Medaihki and his
    wife GM Zhu Chen) to participate.

    "From Iran, only IM Sarasadat Khademalsharieh qualified, but she decided
    not to travel to Saudi Arabia, without attempting to obtain a visa.
    Presumably she would have encountered a similar difficulty [as Israeli players]
    though we can't know for certain."

    Saudi Arabia might well have excluded players from Iran as well as from Israel.
    But far fewer Westerners presumably would object to excluding Iranians than Israelis.
    (President Trump might well have congratulated Saudi Arabia for excluding Iranians.)
    For a FIDE World Championship tournament in Las Vegas, the USA excluded players
    from Iran and Syria. (So let's not pretend that the USA's above reproach.)

    "None of the above dissuaded the bulk of the world's elite from attending, with the
    notable exception of Hikaru Nakamura [USA] ... But 20 out of the top 30 players are there,
    and aside from Nakamura, none of those absent (Lenier Dominguez, Vladimir Kramnik,
    Anish Giri, Wesley So, Fabiano Caruana, Dmitry Jakovenko, David Navara, Michael Adams
    and Gata Kamsky) have publically taken any sort of stand in protest."

    "Only GM Irina Krush (in the Women's tournament) and GM Varuzhan Akobian have travelled
    to Riyadh from the USA. (IM Anna Zatonskih plays for the USA, but lives in Germany.)"

    Irina Krush's of Jewish heritage, though she reportedly has converted to Orthodox Christianity.
    Saudi Arabia has excluded players seeking to use Israeli passports, but not all Jewish players.

    "Magnus Carlsen's manager, FM Espen Agdestein, was quoted saying:
    "[Magnus] will play the championship, and [is as] apolitical as he is a chess player.
    Norway has no sanctions against Saudi-Arabia and Norwegian politicians and corporate
    business are dealing with the country".
    Carlsen has even brought two of his sisters with him to Riyadh."

    ""For me it's not a big problem because I'm a man and I can go anywhere and I don't
    have big problems, but for women of course it's a bit unpleasant, but basically I don't
    see anything so complicated for them to play because it's not a [long] tournament like
    the World Cup — it's just four days and you can come and play and forget about this —
    and the prizes are huge for chess. Of course it's maybe not the best place which it could
    have been, but it's not a big problem."
    --Russian GM Sergey Karjakin

    Boycotts by a few top players like Anna Muzychak and Hikaru Nakamura will make no
    practical difference when more prominent players like Magnus Carlsen choose to participate.
    By the way, I don't recall anyone boycotting a FIDE World Championship tournament in
    Las Vegas in order to protest the USA's exclusion of players from Iran and Syria.

    Politically speaking, should the US government (led by President Trump) welcome this
    FIDE tournament as a sign of Saudi Arabia defying conservative religious opposition to
    chess or lament it for excluding players from Israel, though presumably not from Iran?
  2. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    28 Dec '17 04:25
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    https://en.chessbase.com/post/world-rapid-starts-in-riyadh

    "FIDE's Riyadh Gambit"

    "The World Rapid Championship attracted significant international media
    attention as it began on Tuesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but the focus
    was mostly centred around the absence of Women's World Rapid and
    Blitz Champion Anna Muzychuk, and all players from Israe ...[text shortened]... ition to
    chess or lament it for excluding players from Israel, though presumably not from Iran?
    Yeah... good luck on this debate!

    I reckon the whole point should be that the FIDE (is that the chess federation?) should be boycotted by all.

    Nobody should play, nobody should turn up and nobody should watch.

    How dare they organise tournaments which exclude players or force people to dress differently than they otherwise would.

    The mere fact that we live in a society where freakish behaviour (to be a champion in any sports means you’re not drinking enough wine, not shagging enough and have a severe personality disorder) is hailed triumphant over compassion, humor and love is disgusting.

    I’d rather have a beer with Whodey than participate in or watch organised sport.
    It’s not just chess: it’s football, the olympics, golf, all of it.
  3. 29 Dec '17 19:42
    Originally posted by @shavixmir
    Yeah... good luck on this debate!

    I reckon the whole point should be that the FIDE (is that the chess federation?) should be boycotted by all.

    Nobody should play, nobody should turn up and nobody should watch.

    How dare they organise tournaments which exclude players or force people to dress differently than they otherwise would.

    The mere fact ...[text shortened]... in or watch organised sport.
    It’s not just chess: it’s football, the olympics, golf, all of it.
    Some Islamophobic trolls may love to focus upon women's dress codes in Saudi Arabia.
    As the article noted, however, FIDE negotiated a women's dress code not requiring hijab.

    I would add that, at the recent FIDE World Cup, there was 'scandal' involving a male Canadian GM
    who liked to play while wearing shorts. After being rebuked, he protested by quitting the tournament.
    This had nothing to do with women's dress codes or Islam.
  4. 29 Dec '17 19:46
    The World Rapid Championship was won by Anand (India), who was a great speed player in his prime.
    World Champion Magnus Carlsen finished 5th. (Coincidentally, he finished just behind
    Bu Xiangzhi, who had eliminated him from the recent World Cup.)

    The women's World Rapid Championship was won by GM Ju Wenjun, followed by the
    rising junior GM Lei Tingjie. IM Elisabeth Paehtz finished third.
  5. 29 Dec '17 20:31
    Originally posted by @shavixmir
    Yeah... good luck on this debate!

    I reckon the whole point should be that the FIDE (is that the chess federation?) should be boycotted by all.

    Nobody should play, nobody should turn up and nobody should watch.

    How dare they organise tournaments which exclude players or force people to dress differently than they otherwise would.

    The mere fact ...[text shortened]... in or watch organised sport.
    It’s not just chess: it’s football, the olympics, golf, all of it.
    He likes me, he really likes me!
  6. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    29 Dec '17 23:53
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    Some Islamophobic trolls may love to focus upon women's dress codes in Saudi Arabia.
    As the article noted, however, FIDE negotiated a women's dress code not requiring hijab.

    I would add that, at the recent FIDE World Cup, there was 'scandal' involving a male Canadian GM
    who liked to play while wearing shorts. After being rebuked, he protested by quitting the tournament.
    This had nothing to do with women's dress codes or Islam.
    To put it bluntly: if the FIDE ref told me I couldn’t wear my sweat pants and T-shirt, I’d en passant a bishop up his arse.
  7. Subscriber mchill
    Infinitorum
    30 Dec '17 11:04
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    https://en.chessbase.com/post/world-rapid-starts-in-riyadh

    "FIDE's Riyadh Gambit"

    "The World Rapid Championship attracted significant international media
    attention as it began on Tuesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but the focus
    was mostly centred around the absence of Women's World Rapid and
    Blitz Champion Anna Muzychuk, and all players from Israe ...[text shortened]... ition to
    chess or lament it for excluding players from Israel, though presumably not from Iran?
    An unfortunate situation. The Saudi's are losing an opportunity here, and it's going to make them look like villains, but it's their country, and they can do this if they wish I suppose. There will always be other tournaments
  8. 30 Dec '17 19:21
    Originally posted by @mchill
    An unfortunate situation. The Saudi's are losing an opportunity here, and it's going to make them
    look like villains, but it's their country, and they can do this if they wish I suppose.
    There will always be other tournaments
    It's unclear what Mchill means by Saudi Arabia 'losing an opportunity' or 'looking like villains'.

    1) Despite some Islamic clerics' opposition to playing chess at all, Saudi Arabia's hosting
    a major international chess tournament for the first time in history.

    2) Regarding dress codes, Saudi Arabia reached an agreement with FIDE under which
    foreign women could appear in modest but not strictly Muslim (hijab) attire when playing

    3) Given international protests and boycotts toward Israel (particularly after the USA's recent
    declaration on Jerusalem), it was hardly shocking that Saudi Arabia excluded Israeli players.
    Saudi Arabia and Israel don't have diplomatic relations. In an earlier FIDE world championship
    tournament, the USA excluded FIDE-qualified players from Iran and Syria from participating.

    Considering where Saudi Arabia has been with respect to chess, should not hosting this
    major FIDE event be regarded as a step forward rather than a step backward?
  9. Subscriber mchill
    Infinitorum
    31 Dec '17 02:11 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    It's unclear what Mchill means by Saudi Arabia 'losing an opportunity' or 'looking like villains'.

    1) Despite some Islamic clerics' opposition to playing chess at all, Saudi Arabia's hosting
    a major international chess tournament for the first time in history.

    2) Regarding dress codes, Saudi Arabia reached an agreement with FIDE under which
    foreig ...[text shortened]... ld not hosting this
    major FIDE event be regarded as a step forward rather than a step backward?
    It's unclear what Mchill means by Saudi Arabia 'losing an opportunity' or 'looking like villains'.


    What Mchill means is, by restricting an entire country (or countries) with the excuse of lack of diplomatic ties, and imposing clothing regulations they know will drive away some players, they are indeed losing an opportunity. The Saudi's know full well that Israel has a number of strong players, and that some very strong female players will simply not attend, these actions will serve to undermine the very credibility the the event they are trying to host. This action imposed on foreign visitors will make the Saudis look like villains, since most other countries don't impose restrictions on Saudi visitors. As I said, it's their country and if the Saudi's wish to do this, they have the right to do so. Normally I would be more concerned about this, but happen to agree with Mikhail Botvinnik, in thinking that blitz and rapid, while enjoyable, is not a very high quality chess.
  10. 31 Dec '17 05:27 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by @mchill
    It's unclear what Mchill means by Saudi Arabia 'losing an opportunity' or 'looking like villains'.

    What Mchill means is, by restricting an entire country (or countries) with the excuse of lack of diplomatic ties, and imposing clothing regulations they know will drive away some players, they are indeed losing an opportunity. The Saudi's know full well t Botvinnik, in thinking that blitz and rapid, while enjoyable, is not a very high quality chess.
    McGill exaggerates the hostility to this chess tournament in Saudi Arabia.
    The original post's article made it clear that very few top players chose
    to boycott for political reasons or objections to the dress code.
    Anna Muzychsk and Hikaru Nakamura were the most prominent boycotters.

    Given the extreme pro-Israeli bias of most Americans, they fail to comprehend
    that Israel's widely regarded as an international pariah. If this event
    had been held in the USA, the USA (see Trump's travel ban) would
    have excluded Iranian players. Would McGill object to that?
  11. 31 Dec '17 06:54 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by @mchill
    What Mchill means is, by restricting an entire country (or countries) with the excuse of lack of diplomatic ties, and imposing clothing regulations they know will drive away some players, they are indeed losing an opportunity. This action imposed on foreign visitors will make the Saudis look like villains, since most other countries don't impose restrictions on Saudi visitors.
    The Saudis are currently bombing and starving Yemen and have spent the last several decades doing their best to poison the Muslim world with extremist propaganda. If that doesn't already make them "look like villains", then I fail to see how denying a few visas and imposing dress restrictions at a mere chess tournament could do so.
  12. Subscriber mchill
    Infinitorum
    31 Dec '17 07:53 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    McGill exaggerates the hostility to this chess tournament in Saudi Arabia.
    The original post's article made it clear that very few top players chose
    to boycott for political reasons or objections to the dress code.
    Anna Muzychsk and Hikaru Nakamura were the most prominent boycotters.

    Given the extreme pro-Israeli bias of most Americans, they fail to ...[text shortened]... USA (see Trump's travel ban) would
    have excluded Iranian players. Would McGill object to that?
    Given the extreme pro-Israeli bias of most Americans, they fail to comprehend that Israel's widely regarded as an international pariah. If this event had been held in the USA, the USA (see Trump's travel ban) would have excluded Iranian players. Would McGill object to that?

    1. Iran is not Saudi Arabia, I don't know what Iran has to do with any of this.

    2. I don't regard Israel as any different from any other country

    3. It's Mchill not McGill (There is a story behind this, but I won't bother you with it)

    4. I think Trump is an idiot, and I don't agree with his travel ban.

    The one positive sign from your recent posts Duchess is I'm not (for the moment) being branded as a racist, sexist troll. I'm sure this will change, but it's nice while it lasts
  13. 31 Dec '17 14:15
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    Some Islamophobic trolls may love to focus upon women's dress codes in Saudi Arabia.
    As the article noted, however, FIDE negotiated a women's dress code not requiring hijab.

    I would add that, at the recent FIDE World Cup, there was 'scandal' involving a male Canadian GM
    who liked to play while wearing shorts. After being rebuked, he protested by quitting the tournament.
    This had nothing to do with women's dress codes or Islam.
    a black feminist taking up for muslims...image that.
  14. 31 Dec '17 18:07 / 5 edits
    [i]Originally posted by @teinosuke[ to McGill [\i]
    The Saudis are currently bombing and starving Yemen and have spent the last several decades doing their best to poison the Muslim world with extremist propaganda. If that doesn't already make them "look like villains", then I fail to see how denying a few visas and imposing dress restrictions at a mere chess tournament could do so.
    I had thought that some players might consider Saudi Arabia's brutality
    (backed by the USA) in Yemen as a reason to boycott. But no one cited it.
    How many Westerners sincerely care about Arab lives?

    Anna Muzychsk's issue seemed to be the dress code, which seems
    hypocritical since she played in Iran in 2017. Hikaru Nakamura's issue
    seemed to be excluding Israeli players, though I doubt that he would
    have boycotted when the USA excluded Iranian players.
  15. 31 Dec '17 18:29
    The Western non-chess media shows its ignorance in lauding the
    "World Champion" Anna Muzychak for boycotting this tournament
    in Saudi Arabia to protest the female dress code.

    Earlier in 2017, Anna Muzychak (wearing a head scarf) played in FIDE
    world championship tournament (which Hou Yifan boycotted to protest
    the knockout format) in Iran. She lost in the final to Tan Zhongyi (China),
    whom the Western non-chess media tends to ignore as the FIDE official
    women's world champion.