Chinese chess master Liu Jianzhong said he believes chess has been banned in the Middle East because of Israel’s settlement policies.
Liu Jianzhang, director of the International Chess Federation’s Centre for Strategic Studies, said the Chinese federation does not believe the ban would be imposed on chess because of its geographical position.
“Chess has been on the world stage for centuries, and we’ve always been very careful to make sure it doesn’t interfere with world affairs,” he told Al Jazeera.
“There are no issues with chess here, because we have the strongest and most stable borders in the world.”
China has more than 70 million citizens living in the occupied territories, and has a strategic position in the region that stretches from Israel to the Arabian Gulf.
Lujianhong said that, despite the current wave of anti-Semitism, Israel is a Jewish state and is a member of the United Nations Security Council.
“In a few decades, the situation with Jews will be different, because they will be able to move freely in Israel and enjoy the right of return, and then we will have a peaceful situation in the Jewish state,” he said.
Lui Jianzh, a professor of Chinese chess at the University of Nottingham, told Al-Jazeera he believed the chess ban would have a “negative impact” on the chess scene.
“The ban would affect the games, not the players,” he added.
“The chess world is very good, because the game has never been played without a ban.”
Liu said the ban could have a devastating effect on the local chess community, which has been active since the 1990s.
“We’ve never had problems in the chess community,” he explained.
“We have never had trouble with the Jewish community.
If the ban is imposed, we can be the first country to cancel the event.”
The International Chess Association (ICA) did not respond to a request for comment.