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Gelfand meets Netanyahu, calls for support for chess

JTA

June 4, 2012 | 10:24 am

World chess champion Viswanathan Anand, right, of India receives the trophy from the World Chess Federation (FIDE) President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov during an award ceremony at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, May 31. Photo by REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

World chess champion Viswanathan Anand, right, of India receives the trophy from the World Chess Federation (FIDE) President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov during an award ceremony at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, May 31. Photo by REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

Israeli chess grandmaster Boris Gelfand called on the Israeli government to invest in chess in the country, during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Gelfand met Sunday with Netanyahu and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat a day after returning from Moscow, where he was runner-up at the World Chess Championship 2012.

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand of India defeated Gelfand, 2 1/2 to 1 1/2, in the four-game rapid chess tiebreaker on May 30. They had finished the 12-game championship match in a stalemate.

“I am certain that many Israelis are proud of your achievements and many more Israelis now love the game of chess. The State of Israel is a brain power and chess is game of the brain. Thanks to people like you, we will turn Israel into a chess power,” Netanyahu told Gelfand during their meeting.

Livnat announced that her ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office planned to invest more than $250,000 in dozens of chess clubs in Israeli cities. The culture and sports ministry and the Sports Betting Council already spend nearly $308,000 per year on support for chess in Israel.

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