A few days before the Missing Player simultaneous exhibition in the German Parliament in Berlin, the inspiration struck me with a set of six watercolor paintings. In each artwork, the chess pieces are representing a different group of people who were brutally kidnapped on October 7th from Israel, by Hamas terrorists.

The Missing Queen represents the women from the music festival, who were just enjoying the music and dancing. It is also in the memory of all the girls who were sadistically raped, murdered and kidnapped.


The Missing King represents the elderly people, who were captured in their slippers, without their medications. They were the ones who built the Jewish state and dealt with the horrible “cards” on October 7th. Most of them are still in captivity, dead or alive.


The Missing Rook represents the young Israeli men, who heroically fought on that dreadful Saturday and saved many from an even bigger catastrophe. The men who are being held hostage in Gaza are going through hell for more than five months now.


The Missing Bishop represents all those who couldn’t run away fast enough from the monsters that locked them up in the dark tunnels of Gaza.


The Missing Knight represents the teenagers abducted from their homes, who are being away from their families, being starved and can’t believe how they ended up in this never-ending nightmare.


The Missing Pawn represents the children and the babies kidnapped by Hamas. Many of them were removed from their beds in pajamas, without even their teddy bear. The “lucky ones” were brought back home after 54 days of captivity and some are still held by Hamas.

In the focus of the paintings is always a yellow chair, a symbol that was used in many art installations. Different games and sports are part of the Missing Player series: basketball, soccer, tennis, music, cards and toys. All the simple everyday things, that the hostages can only dream of in captivity.


Chess Exhibitions for the Hostages

Missing Player Simul Sofia Polgar

For a chess champion, The Missing Player simultaneous chess exhibitions are emotionally the toughest ever. In November 2023, in Savion, I was invited to a Chess4Solidarity initiative, to give a simultaneous chess exhibition in support for releasing the kidnapped children from Israel. On Saturday October 7th, 2023 Hamas attacked Israel and the horrible atrocities that Saturday included murder, rape, torture and kidnapping. You can read my photo report about this simul and the online tournament on Chessbase published shortly after the event. It was a great relief when soon after these chess games, many of the children were released.

In March 2024, a similar event on a much bigger scale took place in the German Parliament, organized by Chess4Solidarity and the Berlin Chess Federation. This time in the forty-board simultaneous exhibition my sister Judit Polgar was standing by my side in solidarity for the hostages.

Sofia and Judit Polgar Berlin 2024

160 days after the horrifying atrocities of October 7th, in this Missing Player chess event the German players were playing in the name of the 134 hostages held in Gaza. Here too, in the big circled shape conference room, the hall was full of the photos of the hostages. It was an unforgettable event, where all players including the best female chess ever, were fighting tears when hearing the families of the hostages speak.

Chess4Solidarity Bring The Home

Alon Gat told his story about his wife, daughter and sister abducted on that horrible Saturday. His sister, Carmel seen on the photo is still being captive by Hamas.

As a gesture of German-Israeli friendship the host, Parliament member Marlene Schonberger said in her opening speech: “Today, in the Bundestag, we are sending a signal of solidarity with this event. A sign of solidarity with Jews who are facing an existential threat – while the majority of society has long since turned its attention to other issues. We will not allow this. We stand together!”

Sofia and Judit Polgar Berlin Marlene Schonberger

She added: “Together we stand in solidarity with the Israeli hostages taken by Hamas, all Jews facing antisemitism and the Jewish state of Israel.”

Sofia and Judit Polgar Chess4Solidarity Berlin 2024

With the organizers of the event, Paul Meyer Dunker president of the Berlin Chess Federation, Lior Aizenberg and Judit Polgar. 
My hope is that by the time you read these lines it will be irrelevant and the hostages have been released. Until then please share and help us #BringThemHome.