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Raed Hataby – a Syrian chess player from Aleppo, winner of the Dystro category– asking for help


fb_img_1436960848785.jpgRaed Hatab, a Syrian chess player with dystrophy, playing chess over the Internet, despite the conflict in his country.
Players from 13 countries, including one player from Syria, have signed up for the international chess tournament OMD Dystro Ope-net 2016Given the seriousness of the situation which Syria and its people are facing at the moment, I approached the Syrian player and asked him to answer some questions regarding his current life, chess activities and situation of disabled people in Syria in general. Raed Hatab readily agreed and so in the following post, we bring our readers an interview with a disabled chess players from Aleppo.



Could you introduce yourself in a few words?

I'm from an ordinary Syrian family.

Me and my family - my mum, handicapped sister, my three children and my lovely wife – live in Aleppo, Syria, in the same house.  My father died nine years ago, my mum now is 74 years old, and I have four sisters, one of them is handicapped. I studied mechanical engineering at Aleppo University, but due to my disability I couldn't find a job in the field of my study. In 1993, I started to use computer and began to study hardware and software by myself. Six months later, I started to give special lessons about using computers, and my real life has began. I continued to study the programming languages and have become a programmer, which means that I have been designing and writing programs for factories and companies, teaching computer science and working in maintenance and network security. In 2001, I got married with my lovely angle Nedal, and we have now three children: Sarah 11 is years old, M. Aly is 7 years old and Emalalddin is 5 years old. After the beginning of war, all of my jobs have stopped, and I try to save my family from the ever-present hell, but there no way to escape.


How long have you been playing chess and do you remember your first contact with the game?

I learned chess when I was in fourteen. In 1990, I won the Disabled Chess Players Championship in Syria, the only championship for the disabled held in Syria. The following editions were cancelled  for unknown reason. In 1992, I was third in the Aleppo Chess Open Tournament Championship. I have joined also some other championships in Syria, but because there are no sponsors for disabled sports I couldn‘t become a professional chess player. The last one before the war was held in 2011 and I qualified to the finals, but the troubles started and I couldn't continue the final round, which took place in another city.  I got my fist FIDE rating 2113 at this tournament but since I haven‘t joined any other further international  championship after that, my ranking has expired.

For the last five years, I have tried to join the chess tournaments for disabled to gain some money to support my family, but the foreign embassies have refused to grant me the necessary travel visa.

In your application, you stated the muscular atrophy with 95% move disability diagnosis. How is life with such disability (or any other) in Syria? Does anybody take care about handicapped people in Syria now? I mean a government, Red Cross, humanitarian organizations, hospitals...

About the help you asked, there is no association taking care of disabled people here in Syria as there was none before the war.

I have some brilliant friends supporting me in every steep I do. But I'm very sorry that most of them fleed to another county or were killed by snipers or.....

It's very difficult now to support my family and bring in some goods, considering that I have not been able to find a job anymore for the last five years ago, and I have spent all of my assets during this recession.

There is no one taking care of handicapped people in Syria now or before the war, I mean the government, Red Cross or humanitarian organizations.

Every seventy days, they give away some food to the people here if the aid comes from the U.N World Food Program (they give away some rice, oil, macaroni, granulate, lentils) that's for the most of people, otherwise you can find the food aids sold in the black market.

And what about the hospitals?

The hospitals are trying to help injured people now.

I have had a sudden heart failure eighteen months ago. My neighbors took me to the emergency at the University Hospital. There were medicine students working there, but the treatment was good.  And although they found that my four arteries were almost blocked, they were not able provide a phlebotomy, so now I'm living depending on the cardiac medications. No one here give me help but my remaining friends and my lovely wife. You have to take care of yourself by yourself.

Does Internet in Syria work without difficulties? Do you have a good internet access during the tournament?

Now I'm joining the OMD Dystro Ope-net 2016 simply to have some amusement, but I don't know if I'll be lucky to continue this event because the net connection here is very bad and unsteady, therefore I have three net connections, 2G, 3G and WAN-ADSL, on my mobile phone which I use to play the tournament and refresh the web page on the browser every fifteen seconds. I also change the connection type if the connection fails. By the way, I'd like to thank the player Iva Vejpustkova, who continued the match after I my connection had been lost for about two minutes in the fourth move and it was very kind of her to do that. Last year, the net connection was too bad by 2G and 3G and there was no WAN-ADSL for more than ten months here in Aleppo.

You have mentioned Zbigniew Pillimon, a president of IPCA. Do you know him personally or did you meet him at  some chess tournament before?

Yes, we met in person and I'd like to thank my big brother Mr.Zbigniew Pilimon for the positive support that he has given to me and he is still giving me whenever I ask him to.


I am really sorry for the conflict in Syria... Could I or Organization of Muscular Dystrophy in the Slovak Republic do something for you to make your life easier?

My aim now is to save my family from this hell here, but I don't have enough financial assets for that purpose. Baldly, I am not ashamed to say that I need any kind of help possible or imaginable.

And what can you tell us about the conflict and war in Syria?

I'd like to send massage to the European nations in general, and to the Slovakian nation especially:

In the name of the Syrian people:

We are very sorry for the tragic event that happened in Paris a few mouth ago.
As you know, Syria is in the center of the world, so because of this truth it has become a target of the terrorism.

During thousands years, many civilizations have been the part of our history and the Syrian people adore the peace, charity and brotherhood of the religions.
The terrorism has no religion, it's all the same around the world. And what's happening here in Syria or in Europe or in any other place is a result of game played by some active forces and some hidden fingers that don't feel any humanity, not even  responsibility for their actions.

I want to express my condolences to all families that suffer fatalities all around the world, whether in the past, in the present or in the future. We need a true and real solution.

Thank you for your interview and let the peace return into your country as soon as possible.

At the end, I'd like to thank Mr. Ondrej Bašták Ďurán, for the humanitarian spirit he has and shares with other people. God protect your nation.

If you or anyone you know could help by any means Rael and his family to cope with their situation, do not hesitate and contact him via e-mail or mobile phone:

Read Hataby
Aleppo - Syria
Telephone: +963 21 2270944
Mobile No: +963 947514201

E-mail: alqustas@gmail.com

I would like to add a note after the OMD Dystro Ope-net 2016 chess tournament has finished. Mr. Raed Hataby is a winner of Dystro category in this tournament. Congratulations.

Ondrej Bastak Duran

arbiter of the tournament



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Overview of comments


(Peter Kelemen, 2016-05-02 17:50)

Congratulations to dear winner mr Raed. Sometimes the Bible is right: the first ones will be the last ones and the last ones will be the first ones.

Re: Congratulations

(Raed Hataby , 2016-06-29 17:08)

Thank you very much my dear Peter Kelemen for your nice words.