September 29, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The president of the Sudanese Chess Association (SCA) Tariq Zaroog tendered his resignation on Sunday following a game of chess that took place against an Israeli player at the World Youth Chess Championships in South Africa.
Zaroog said that he as an administrator of the top chess body in the country is stepping down and offered his apologies to the Palestinian and Sudanese people.
Sudanese players and athletes refuse to compete against Israeli players in any tournament because it does not recognize the Jewish state and declines to normalize ties without withdrawing from Arab occupied lands.
The incident was extensively covered in the Sudanese media with some describing the chess match with the Israeli player as a “sports shame” while others noted the resignation of Zaroog as a rare precedent in a country where public officials refuse to stand down unless they are forced to.
Omar Albargdar Eltigani who was born to a Sudanese father and a Hungarian mother is ranked as the top chess player in Sudan by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).
SCA recruited him to play on behalf of Sudan two years ago at the Arab Boys Under-18 Championship in which he managed to secure the first Arab title for his country.
He has continued to represent Sudan in all subsequent competitions.
The draw in South Africa put him in a game with an Israeli player but SCA chief demanded that he turn it down unless the contender is changed or else he has to withdraw.
But the Sudanese chess mission was surprised to learn later that Eltigani proceeded with the game under the pretext of being subjected to pressure from his Hungarians friends.
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– GM Susan Polgar