JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli chess grandmaster Boris Gelfand called on the Israeli government to invest in chess in the country, during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Gelfand met Sunday with Netanyahu and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat a day after returning from Moscow, where he was runner-up at the World Chess Championship 2012.
Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand of India defeated Gelfand, 2 1/2 to 1 1/2, in the four-game rapid chess tiebreaker on May 30. They had finished the 12-game championship match in a stalemate.
"I am certain that many Israelis are proud of your achievements and many more Israelis now love the game of chess. The State of Israel is a brain power and chess is game of the brain. Thanks to people like you, we will turn Israel into a chess power," Netanyahu told Gelfand during their meeting.
Livnat announced that her ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office planned to invest more than $250,000 in dozens of chess clubs in Israeli cities. The culture and sports ministry and the Sports Betting Council already spend nearly $308,000 per year on support for chess in Israel.