A head-to-head chess competition will kick off on Thursday between Israeli and Bhutanese players as part of the Chess4Solidarity initiative, organized by the Chess4All organization in order to connect between countries and to form solidarity between people through the game of chess.
Although Bhutan lies nestled far away in the Himalayas, its deeply-founded and well-preserved culture will be reflected throughout the day's competition as the event will have live commentary and interactive footage that will help people understand the cultures in both countries, allowing the games to reflect the recent normalization between the two states.
Between 200 and 250 players are expected to participate in the event, which will be broadcast live on the Twitch streaming platform.
Chess4Solidarity has held 12 international chess events with multiple countries, including Morocco and Sudan which recently signed normalization deals with Israel, and has seen over 2,500 participants. Now, Bhutan is joining the list of countries with normalized relations with Israel that will now face off against Israeli players in the game of chess.
Chile, Ecuador, Finland, New Zealand and Spain are just a few of the numerous countries which Chess4Solidarity has collaborated with in the past.The event is being held in coordination with the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, which has invested a lot of effort to strengthen Israeli and Bhutanese relations. This unique event will be supported by the Lawfare Project, an organization that helps protects Jews and Israelis around the world from antisemitic and prejudiced actions.
In the last decade, some players from Arab states that do not have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state have refused to play against Israelis. However, in this recent tournament, players from Lebanon, Syria and other Arab countries that do not have diplomatic ties with Israel have logged in to play.
On January 31, another event will be held with Chess4Solidairty in collaboration with the Israeli Consulate in New York. There will be a prize of $1500 that will be divided between outstanding competitors. It is estimated hat approximately 400 players will participate in the competition.
"We are happy to break forth once more and hope that during the event we can expedite additional events and warm connections between the two countries," said Chess4All following the announcement of the competition."