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Chess tournament controversy

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Chess tournament controversy

Israel's chess team have been banned from top tournament
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In the chess world a storm is brewing.

Saudi Arabia has effectively banned Israel in participating in the World Chess Championship. The Israeli team were denied visas to enter the country. Saudi Arabia says this is because they have no diplomatic ties with the state of Israel.

The Israeli Chess Federation Spokesman condemned the decision, saying;

"We have to decide what actions we will do in the near future with full power in order that this situation will not happen again in the future. We hope FIDE understand the situation that is very bad for chess, very bad for the Israeli players and very bad for sport."

But it's not just the exclusion of Israel which is causing problem. Ukrainian two time Women’s World Champion Anna Muzychuk has boycotted the tournament.

She's refused to wear the abaya - loss fitting robes which all Saudi women have to wear in public. She says her decision is in protest to how the Middle Eastern state treats women.

Her sister, Maria, the 2015 Women’s World Champion has also refused to go.

Saudi Arabia has been trying to market itself as a welcoming country - but last year a top cleric had said chess is 'forbidden in Islam'.