Saudi Arabia has denied seven Israeli chess players visas to take part in a competition this week in Riyadh, Reuters reported Sunday. World Chess Federation Vice President Israel Gelfer told the news agency via email that visas for the Israelis “have not been issued and will not be issued.”







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Israeli chess players were denied visas to take part in a speed chess competition in Saudi Arabia this week, according to Reuters. The news agency reported on Sunday that World Chess Federation Vice President Israel Gelfer wrote in an email that visas for the Israelis players “have not been issued and will not be issued.”

The four-day tournament is set to begin in the kingdom on Tuesday. Seven Israeli chess players reportedly requested visas to participate in the event. In a statement released on Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s Center for International Communication said that over 180 chess players from around the world are expected to take part in the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships 2017.

Israel Chess Federation Spokesman Lior Aizenberg told Reuters that “various parties” are still working to help the Israeli chess players receive the necessary visas. “The event is not a world championship if they prevent chess players from several countries from taking part,” he told the news agency. “Every chess player should have the right to participate in an event on the basis of professional criteria, regardless of their passports, their place of issue or the stamps they bear.”