12 young Israelis were crowned as chess champions in a competition in the WIZO youth village in Rishon Lezion this week, with 233 players from the ages of 6 to 18 competing in 12 championships. The championship took place amid the rocket fire in recent days from Gaza and Lebanon.
The competition was split into an up to 8 years old category, an up to 10 years old category, an up to 12 years old category, an up to 14 years old category, up to 16 years old category and an up to 18 years old category, with each category having separate competitions for boys and girls. All the games were broadcast live.
Yuval Yaniv, a FIDE master, from the Netanya chess club and Hoda Qassem from the Kfar Saba chess club were crowned as the champions in the up to 18 category. Both Yaniv and Qassem scored seven points.
In the under 16 category, the champions were Maxim Bellinky from the Beersheba club, who won with 7.5 points, and Noga Orian from the Haifa club, who won with eight points.
In the under 14 category, Orel Ribstein and Michal Moskovitch from the Rishon Lezion club were crowned as the champions. In the under 12 category, Eliran Shilon-Rahav from the Chess Excellence Center and Evelina Hairov from the Etude Ramat Gan club won. In the under 10 category, Noam Sasson from the Chess Excellence Center and Sheli Moskovitch from the Rison Lezion club won. In the under eight category, Barri Regev from the Etude Ramat Gan club and Brit Pierre from the Beersheba club won.
Champions receive chance to represent Israel at international championships
Aside from the trophies each champion received, the champions also received a ticket to represent Israel in the next World Championship and European Championship. Each champion will have the full expenses of the trip, including hotel stay and flights, paid for by the organizers and will choose to either go to the World Championship or the European Championship, with the runner-up in each category going to the second championship.
Zvika Barkai, the chairman of the Israel Chess Federation, stated "The championship in Rishon Lezion introduced us to the next generation of Israeli chess players. It was a great championship, tense and at a very high level. I'm sure that each of the boys and girls will remember this championship for the rest of their lives."