Chess in Arabia: Minds compete in lavish hospitality

For the first time in Saudi Arabia, the world chess championships kicked off on Tuesday at the APEX Convention Center with the participation of 400 international players.((SPA)
Updated 28 December 2017

Chess in Arabia: Minds compete in lavish hospitality

RIYADH: When entering the APEX Convention center, one would be astonished by how well organized and inviting the center is. Hosting over 400 international chess players, the center was abuzz with excitement and competition.
The whole center was turned into an Arabian mirage with traditional red Saudi textiles and coverings. In the far corner, a Bedouin tent was set up, with pillows and floor settings so visitors could get a taste of the Kingdom.
Arabic coffee was continuously poured and served to eager visitors who chatted enthusiastically during breaks. A falcon, a bird that holds its bearing in Arabian culture, was seated high in the midst of the center, and visitors were encouraged to hold it and even take pictures with the bird.
Female players were not required to wear abayas, but opted to wear black or navy suits.
Vladimir Fedoseev, a Russian chess champion, was awed by the beauty and comfort of Saudi. His first time in Riyadh, he was enjoying it a lot, even the Arabic coffee.
“The organization committee gave the players a very comfortable and good atmosphere. It’s very nice. Saudi Arabia may not have a long chess history, but with this tournament, it’s on its way.”
Afnan Hassan, a Saudi and chess player, was thrilled to enter the tournament. “I’ve played chess since I was very young, but it’s my first time to actually compete in a world championship tournament.”
Aljawhara Al-Hassan, the executive director of Alitihad, was pleased at how happy the international visitors were. She remarked: “All the visitors were enthralled by the event and how well organized it was. This is our Saudi; it is not new to such organizing.”
More photos from the event.


Luis Suarez suspected of cheating on Italian exam

Updated 22 September 2020

Luis Suarez suspected of cheating on Italian exam

  • The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus
  • Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport

ROME: Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is suspected of cheating to pass his Italian language test with the help of his teachers, the Perugia prosecutor’s department in charge of the investigation said on Tuesday.
The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus.
“The investigation showed that the subjects discussed during the exam were agreed beforehand with the candidate and that the grade was awarded to him even before the test,” the prosecutor’s department said in a statement.
Local prosecutor Raffaele Cantone, a former head of Italy’s National Anti-Corruption Authority, had been carrying out an investigation since February into University for Foreigners officials over various irregularities. Suspicions over Suarez were aroused by an overheard conversation.
“But what do you think, that we’re going to fail him? Today I have the last lesson (with Suarez) and I have to prepare it because he barely speaks a word” of Italian, Stefania Spina, one of the people targeted by the investigation, is claimed to have said according to prosecution documents cited by Italian media.
Asked by a colleague what level Suarez “should pass” in Italian, Spina reportedly replied: “He should not, he must, he will pass, because with a salary of 10 million (euros) per season, you can’t make him fail” his exam, “even if he doesn’t know how to conjugate verbs and speak in the infinitive.”
Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said last week a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport.
The Italian champions cannot recruit Suarez otherwise because they have already reached their quota for non-EU players.