India pulls out of World Cadet C’ships in Egypt due to Israel-Palestine conflict
All India Chess Federation has decided to withdraw the team from the World Cadet Championships in Egypt, citing security reasons due to the war between Israel and Palestine.
The All India Chess Federation (AICF) has decided to withdraw the Indian team from the upcoming World Cadet Chess Championships, starting on October 14 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.
The decision by AICF came in the wake of the conflict between Israel and Palestine's militant group Hamas. The Indian authority has taken this decision as a safety measure as there is uncertainty over flight operations owing to the volatile situation in the region.
Since Hamas left Israel surprised by invading the country and killing civilians on the streets in an October 7 attack, the Jewish country declared war on Hamas and launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave.
The war-torn Gaza Strip is only 400 km from the host city.
As many as 39 players from India were supposed to take part in the tournament, which included events in the Under 12, 10 and 8 categories.
"Considering the ongoing situation at Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas and the age of participants, after due deliberations, it was decided to withdraw the participation of the Indian team in the World Cadet Chess Championship-2023," All India Chess Federation (AICF) said in a press release.
"The All India Chess Federation took this decision considering all the aspects of safety and security of young players as Egypt shares the border with Gaza as well as Israel," the release added.
"Sharm el Sheikh, the host city for the championship is less than 400km from the Israel border and the conflict can significantly impact commercial airlines in the Middle East on short notice," AICF noted.
"The Federation took this hard decision based on force majeure and unforeseen scenarios as we give paramount importance to the safety of our players even though our players put in almost one year training to participate in this important event," the release added.
Meanwhile, an AICF official said the Indian federation has requested the world chess body (FIDE) to postpone the tournament, considering the escalating situation in Gaza.