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Banning Israeli 7-year-old, Tunisia may lose right to host world chess tournaments

Tunisia may lose the right to host world chess championships after refusing to grant a visa to a little Israeli girl, Liel Levitan, for the 2019 World Schools Chess Championship.

A young Israeli chess player takes part in a special chess tournament in Jerusalem marking Israel’s 70th anniversary, April 30, 2018. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
A young Israeli chess player takes part in a special chess tournament in Jerusalem marking Israel’s 70th anniversary, April 30, 2018. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Tunisia may lose the right to host world chess championships after refusing to grant a visa to Israel’s 7-year-old chess champion for the 2019 World Schools Chess Championship.

Tunisia has no diplomatic ties with Israel and will not make an exception to authorize a little Israeli girl, Liel Levitan—the European School Individual Chess champion in her age group—to enter the country for the upcoming World Chess Federation (FIDE) tournament.

If Levitan does not attend the tournament, she and the other Israeli contestants will be disqualified from the tournament.

The FIDE is reportedly attempting to put pressure on Tunisia to allow entry of the Israeli participants.

FIDE secretary Poline Tsedenova told the JPost that the organization has requested “an urgent explanation from the Tunisian Chess Federation” and demanded guarantees that the 2019 World Schools Championship would include Israelis—or else Tunisia would not be hosting the event.

The FIDE code of ethics states that the organization “attaches the greatest importance to fair play and good sportsmanship.”

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