Chess in Maccabiah
Once every four years, the best Jewish sportsmen from all around the world come together to compete in the Maccabiah Games. Some of them even made Aliyah afterwards.
Even though some people still dispute the fact that chess is a sport, the royal game has been recognized as a sport and included in the Maccabiah Games as early as 1935. In fact, it is the most successful branch in Israeli sport, regarding the quantity of world-class achievements. As for the Jews of the diaspora, they have been part of the chess elite for many decades.
After a long pause, the chess events in the Maccabiah were renewed in 1977 under the leadership of Almog Burstein, currently General Manager of the Israel Chess Federation. In 1989 Moshe Slav was elected as chairman of the Maccabiah chess committee. Since then the chess events in the Maccabiah have prospered.
During the last 40 years we have always had high-level chess competition as part of the Maccabiah Games. The biggest chess festival took place in 2009, with the full participation of the members of the Israel national team, winner of the Olympic silver medal in 2008, including World Championship contender Boris Gelfand. Their rivals from the diaspora included the well-known GM Alexander Beliavsky, representing Slovenia, and the young Russian grandmasters Ian Nepomniachtchi and Evgeny Najer. The icing on the cake was the participation of the all-time women chessplayer #1: Judit Polgar from Hungary.
The chess tournaments of the 19th Maccabiah kick off on July 21, 2013. Undoubtedly we will have a chess event of both quality and quantity. Last time there were over 100 chessplayers from Israel and abroad taking part in the official competitions, and a few dozens more in the simultaneous exhibitions.
The organizing time is led, as in previous editions of the Maccabiah, by Moshe Slav, currently chairman of the Israel Chess Federation. The tournament manager is Alon Cohen-Revivo, a senior arbiter who founded a chess club and organized many chess events in the host city, Jerusalem.