Ukrainians want to win a chess tournament in Jerusalem to help the Ukrainian Armed Forces

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 Ukrainians want to win a chess tournament in Jerusalem to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine

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In peacetime, Igor Kovalenko works as a chess teacher and church priest, and studies theology. He now fights in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. But it was his primary profession as a chess player that brought him to Jerusalem as part of a team participating in the World Chess Championship, which began on Sunday.

A grandmaster ranked 68th in the world by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, Kovalenko learned how to shoot a pistol a few months ago when he was drafted into the Ukrainian army. He was called to active duty in April, and in July he was sent to the Donetsk region, where he remained until a few weeks ago. Kovalenko serves in the army as a soldier and, if necessary, a chaplain, seeing no contradiction between these two roles.
< br /> “It's all about your goal”, — he explains. “I'm not in the army to kill Russians, I'm in order to save Ukrainians”.

According to Kovalenko, the game in Israel is of great importance, as it strengthens ties between countries.

“Many Israelis and many Jews have helped the Ukrainian army with donations”,– says the chess player.

“I know that Israel is helping with humanitarian aid!,– adds his teammate Aleksienko. “But Ukraine would be very happy if Israel could help militarily as well. We can win this war – we showed it”.

“Since childhood I wanted to play for my country, my Motherland”, – recognized by Kovalenko. “And right now I have achieved this, for the first time playing for the national team of my country. This is a very difficult time for the country, but it is very symbolic for me”.

“It was difficult to assemble a team”, – the captain of the Sulyp team is recognized. Nevertheless, according to him, it is important to represent Ukraine in Israel. “If we win something, we will send it to the APU”.

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