Middle East

Israeli chess master takes Guinness record from Iran

A general view of the chess competition in Tel Aviv 21 October
Image caption The 523 game tables were lined across Tel Aviv's Yitzhak Rabin Square

An Israeli chess grandmaster has broken the world record for simultaneous chess games, taking the title from Iran.

Alik Gershon, 30, took title after a 19-hour marathon match against 523 players whose row of tables snaked across a Tel Aviv square. He won 454, lost 11 and drew 58.

Image caption Alik Gershon started on Thursday and finished overnight

His 86% win rate also outstripped the former record holder, grandmaster Morteza Mahjoob of Iran.

Mr Mahjoob last year bested 397 out of 500 chess players in Tehran.

Jack Brockbank, the on-site adjudicator for Guinness World Records, confirmed the new Israeli record and predicted a renewed chess challenge from Iran.

The new record holder acknowledged the strained relations between the two regional powers, but expressed a wish for peace.

"Hopefully all our wars will be on the chess board, or something cultural, and not real wars," Mr Gershon said.

But he did admit that breaking an Iranian record was a "big bonus" for Israel.

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