Saudi chess tournament starts without Israeli players

Source: BBC News

An international chess tournament is starting in Saudi Arabia amid controversy after Israeli players were denied visas.

A Saudi official said visas could not be granted because the kingdom had no diplomatic ties with Israel.

The Israeli Chess Federation said it would seek financial compensation.

The hosting of this first major chess tournament is being seen as part of Saudi Arabia’s process of opening itself more to the outside world.

But a double world champion has said she will boycott the tournament because she does not want to wear an abaya, the full-length, loose-fitting robes women are required to wear in public in Saudi Arabia.

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