Boris Gelfand humbly accepted the praise of his countrymen on Wednesday — after his chase for the chess world title came up one point short — telling reporters in Moscow that he had been encouraged by the support and encouragement he had received from Israel.
“It’s always nice when people in your home country support you, and I heard that I got a lot of support,” Gelfand said.
Israeli media followed the 12-match final, and Wednesday’s four-match tiebreaker, with great interest. Israel’s leaders followed the events, as well — and they let Gelfand know it on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Gelfand on his “tremendous achievement,” telling the grandmaster that he had followed Gelfand’s moves.
“I was very impressed,” Netanyahu said. “You created a lot of interest in chess among a lot of people through your example.”
President Shimon Peres also congratulated Gelfand, saying that he displayed “an impressive intellectual effort” in challenging reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand of India and adding that he had done so “with humility, with consistency and with balance.”
Gelfand said the accolades were nice, but that “what is important is that this momentum be preserved, and that the status of chess in Israeli society be raised.”
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.