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Saudi chess tournament mired in controversy

The first international chess tournament hosted in Saudi Arabia is part of the country’s bid to indicate that they are opening up to the world and getting rid of their longstanding conservative shackles that have kept them isolated. But the tournament’s organisers and Saudi Arabia have been heavily criticised after refusing to issue visas to Israeli players. The refusal follows the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Players from Iran and Qatar were issued visas at the last minute despite sticky political ties between them. The tournament has also been criticised by female players, such as world number three Hikaru Nakamuru, who tweeted: ‘To organise a chess tournament where basic human rights aren’t valued is horrible.’

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