The inaugural King Salman World Open and Women’s Rapid & Blitz Chess Championships in Saudi Arabia, opening today, marks an important advance in Saudi Arabia’s mission to become a sporting hub capital and provides a refreshing inclusion of women in such high profile public events.
The World Chess Championships are a vehicle for promoting peace and development of friendship amongst all nations. As stated by FIDE after combined efforts between FIDE officials and Saudi Arabian authorities, visas for players from Iran and Qatar were secured. Any publication on the internet stating that visas for players from Iran and Qatar have been "refused" is inaccurate. The fact that players from Iran and Qatar may decide not to participate, after consulting their own authorities, is clearly their own individual decision.
Quoting from a statement issued by FIDE, ‘to put facts into perspective, the Saudi authorities informed FIDE that the visas for Qatari players will be issued and they also proposed that for security reasons the Qatari players should play under the FIDE flag. This issue was resolved the next day by FIDE, and the Qatar Chess Association was informed that their players would play under their own flag. FIDE, additionally, had accepted the registration of two Qatari players as FIDE nominees, although they had not met the minimum rating requirements. FIDE took this extra responsibility knowing that it would create additional organisational burden.’
For more information contact Sam Dibley