12/24/2017 5:01:44 PM

Qatari chess players denied visas by FIDE

Qatari chess players denied visas by FIDE

Doha: Qatari players were denied visas by the world chess body FIDE for the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships, which starts in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.  

Doha had hosted the first-ever FIDE worlds last year. 

"Our players are denied to get the necessary visas to participate in the World Rapid&Blitz Championship 2017 in Riyadh. An outrageous move by @FIDE_chess to mix #sports with #politics. No wonder why #chess never became a sport of the Olympic Games!," Qatar Chess Association Secretary General Mohamed Al Medaihki tweeted.

The first two Rapid Championships (Open and Women) are on December 26 to 28 and the Blitz Championships (Open and Women) will be held on December 29 and 30 respectively.

A total of 250 players have been registered for the Open events while 150 for the women tournaments.

Classical world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who is also the highest-rated player in the world, will take part.

The incumbent world rapid and blitz Champions — Sergey Karjakin (Russia) and Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), along with over 180 top Grandmasters have confirmed their participation, making the competition the strongest open events of the year.

Notable entries include world No.2 Levon Aronian of Armenia and world No.3 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and India's former World Champion Viswanathan Anand. 

"The goal of Olympism, as defined by the Olympic Charter, 'is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity',"  said Al Medaihki. 

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