Israelis and Cubans celebrate chess through Chess4Solidarity tournament

Some 200 chess players from the two countries faced each other in competitive matches through the Israeli chess club's Chess4Solidarity campaign.

 Chess4Solidarity chess match between Israelis and Cubans (photo credit: Courtesy)
Chess4Solidarity chess match between Israelis and Cubans
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Israeli chess club Chess4All and its Cuban counterpart celebrated the game of chess with an international competition on Sunday.

Some 200 Israelis and Cubans faced each other in competitive matches through the Israeli chess club's Chess4Solidarity campaign.

The competition, which was broadcast live on the Israeli and Cuban chess clubs' Facebook pages, was held via Zoom.

About $1500 worth of prizes were handed out to the winners of the competition.

Chess4All noted the chess competition between Israelis and Cubans was rare due to the lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Israeli chess players take part in a special chess tournament marking Israel's 70th anniversary at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, April 30, 2018. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)Israeli chess players take part in a special chess tournament marking Israel's 70th anniversary at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, April 30, 2018. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

Despite voting against the UN Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947, Cuba recognized Israel in 1949. In the 1950s, both countries opened diplomatic offices in Havana and Tel Aviv, respectively.

However, tensions between Cuba and the Jewish state began soon after Fidel Castro became Cuban prime minister in 1959.

In 1973, Cuba announced it would cease diplomatic relations with Israel during a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Algeria.

In recent years, there have been talks of re-establishing diplomatic relations after Castro announced Israel has a right to exist and expressed concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions in 2010.