2013 Maccabiah Games - The Jewish Olympics
By Ram Soffer
Once every four years, the best Jewish sportsmen from all around the world come together to compete in the Maccabiah Games. Some of them even make Aliyah afterwards.
Jerusalem was lit up with light shows for the Maccabiah Games
Huge displays and fireworks lit the nightline
This historic city has been the object of war, peace, and faith
Even though some people still dispute the fact that chess is a sport, the royal game has been recognized as a sport and was included in the Maccabiah Games as early as 1935. After a long pause, the chess events in the Maccabiah were renewed in 1977 under the leadership of Almog Burstein, who serves as the chief arbiter in this event. In 1989 Moshe Slav was elected as chairman of the Maccabiah chess committee. Since then the chess events in the Maccabiah have prospered.
Among past events is the legendary female player Judit Polgar, a former top ten
Former world title challenger Boris Gelfand has also participated
Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alexander Beliavsky played in 2009
For the last 40 years we have always had high-level chess competitions as part of the Maccabiah Games. The biggest chess festival took place in 2009, with the full participation of the members of the Israeli national team, winner of the Olympic silver medal in 2008, including World Championship contender Boris Gelfand. Their rivals from abroad included such names as Alexander Beliavsky, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Evgeny Najer. Still the icing on the cake was the participation of the all-time greatest female chessplayer: Judit Polgar from Hungary.
Saar Drori, bronze medal winner European U10-Boys, 2011
The chess tournament of the 19th Maccabiah has fewer big names, but we still have four round-robin tournaments affording the opportunity of title norms, and a big open with more than 100 participants.
The opening ceremony of the Maccabiah Games was worthy of the Olympics
It was held in Teddy Stadium with tens of thousands of fans
Countries from across the oceans came and were represented
Among the participants are members of the Israeli national team, GMs and IMs from abroad, and most of Israel's leading junior players. Two of them, Danny Raznikov and Avital Boruchovsky, are looking for their final GM norm which could make either of them Israel's 41st grandmaster.
Moshe Slav, currently chairman of the Israel Chess Federation and Chief
The International Invitational is but one of the excellent chess events held
The organizing team is led, as in previous editions of the Maccabiah, by Moshe Slav, currently chairman of the Israel Chess Federation. The tournament manager is FA Alon Cohen-Revivo, founder of a chess club and organizer of many chess events in Jerusalem. This year the capital of Israel is the host city of the Maccabiah chess tournaments. The games take place in the luxurious Dan Hotel, starting on Sunday, July 21 at 15:00 Jerusalem time (14:00 CET).
There is also a junior event
Christine de Pizan would be proud
Yuliya Shvayger, Israel national women team member
Pictures by Haggai Frank, Moshe Slav, and Yana Rotner