World Chess Olympiad Opens in Haifa

October 25, 1976

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the president of the International Chess Federation, Max Euwe, open the 22nd men’s and seventh women’s Chess Olympiad in Haifa despite opposition from many FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) member nations and a boycott led by the favored Soviet Union.

Only 48 of the 90-plus FIDE nations send teams, but some 450 players compete, including many Russian Jews who have earned strong reputations since emigrating from the Soviet Union. The Israeli authorities are determined to guarantee the safety of everyone only four years after the tragic events of the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics.

Without such chess powers as the Soviets and Hungarians, the United States is favored to win its first Chess Olympiad gold since 1937, and, after a slow start, the Americans do just that, defeating the Netherlands in the finals.