Israeli, Moroccan players compete in New Year's Eve chess tournament

Youness Ben Jelloun, from Morocco, who participated in the event, said that "the game of chess which is a combination of sports art and science was used for peace between the peoples."

Chess (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Chess
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
An online chess event, hosting Israeli and Moroccan competitors, took place on December 31 after normalization between the countries was announced in early December.
As part of the Chess4Solidarity project, the event hosted 209 participants - that included a live message via Facebook from Israeli chess phenom Nitzan Steinberg - where the Moroccan competitors faced their Israeli counterparts after years of boycotting sporting events or competition with Israeli players.
Israeli, Moroccan players compete in New Year's Eve chess tournament. (Courtesy)Israeli, Moroccan players compete in New Year's Eve chess tournament. (Courtesy)
Israeli Avital Borchovsky won first prize in the tournament. The "Queen's Gambit" award, an award for the most outstanding women in the competition - named after the new Netflix show - went to Israeli Marcel Afroimsky.
Joint Zoom conversations, WhatsApp groups and discussions were also held between the Moroccan and Israeli competitors to foster new relations, newfound relationships as well as to organize more tournaments between the two sides in the future.
Youness Ben Jelloun from Morocco, who participated in the event, said that "the game of chess, which is a combination of sports, art and science, was used for peace between the peoples."
Lior Ben-Dor, director of the Maghreb and Egypt division at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said that the Israeli and Moroccan delegations that will be set up in Rabat and Tel Aviv, respectively, would be happy to support, in the future, endeavors like the competition that took place last week.
Project director Lior Aizenberg said that he is pleased that Chess4Solidarity has become a way to bridge gaps between countries, and intends to hold more competitions in the future to make it easier for people who are in "cultural lockdown."