Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat met with Borish Gelfand,
the world chess runner up on Sunday. The two congratulated Gelfand for his achievement and promised to increase chess funding.
Netanyahu noted he had watched the matches in between meetings. "I am sure that many Israelis are proud of your achievement and that many more Israelis love the game of chess because of you," he told Gelfand.
"The State of Israel is a 'brain superpower' and chess is a game of brain. Thanks to people like you, we shall turn Israel into a chess superpower," Netanyahu said.
Gelfand with Netanyahu and Livnat (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)
During the meeting Minister Livnat announced the government's intention to invest NIS 1 million in dozens of chess clubs, in addition to ongoing funding of NIS 1.2 million.
The minister added that an additional NIS 1.2 million will be allocated to the European Chess Club Cup, which will be held in Eilat in October. Israel is set to host 80 teams from more than 50 countries.
"It's important that we continue to develop this field and initiate international competitions that will see Israeli chess players recognized," Gelfand told the two.
He also complimented Netanyahu, with whom he had once played, for his love of chess. "It's so nice to see a prime minister that plays chess. I'm sure that abilities in chess help in the decision making process," he remarked.
Last week, Gelfand lost the Chess World Championship to India's Viswanathan Anand.