Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the 29th Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival will take place from 14-25 August at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Abu Dhabi, with a total prize fund of AED300,000.
The festival will be held under the supervision of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and organised and conducted by the Abu Dhabi Chess and Mental Games Club. The competitions are divided into 14 different championships commensurate with the levels and age groups of the participants, led by the Master’s Championship.
Participating in the upcoming festival are the top seeded Dommaraju Gukesh, and Arjun Erigaisi, the defending champion, and the third seeded Vladislav Artemiev.
The local challenge will be spearheaded by the Emirati champion Salem Abdul Rahman, who has won the greatest number of individual chess tournaments in the UAE since 1991.
The UAE’s Imran Al Hosani, winner of the West Asian Youth Championship, the Arab Youth Championship, the UAE Men's Championship and the President's Cup, will also participate in the event.
The competition will be broadcast live via the website of the International Chess Federation, the Asian Federation and the Arab Federation.
The Referees Committee in the tournament is chaired by Mahdi Abdel Rahim, Chairman of the Referees Committee of the International Chess Federation, and a group of Emirati international referees, including Majid Al Abdouli, Salman Al Taher, Maryam Jihad, Al Arabi Bin Yahya from Algeria, Mehrdad Pahlawanzadeh, Bogdan Garbia, Maha Mahmoud, and Marlon Conan.
Hussein Abdullah Al Khoury, Chairman of both the Board of Directors of the Club and the Higher Organising Committee, confirmed that the festival is one of the most important sporting events on the international chess calendar.
It enters its 29th year in this session, having gained international attention befitting Abu Dhabi's expertise in organising sports tournaments on such a grand scale.
Hussein Abdullah Al Khoury, Chairman of both the Board of Directors of the Club and the Higher Organising Committee, said: “What we witnessed through our position in the organising committee is a great demand for participation in the festival from the first-class players in the world this year.
“It makes us firmly convinced that we are on the right track, and it is expected that the number of participants will exceed 1,600 male and female players from 67 different nationalities across 14 different tournaments.
“The organising committee took into account the technical skill and age level of the players. It also leads international festivals in terms of the number of participants, surpassing several prestigious international festivals.
“Our government and those in charge of the sports sector have spared no effort to support sports, athletes and youth movements of all kinds.”
Al Khoury praised the vision of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and its prominent supportive role in organising international sporting events.
He thanked the distinguished sponsorship of the Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat) for the festival, as a national institution that has a leading role in supporting sporting events, as well as the Malabar Gold and Diamond Company, Nirvana Holding Company, Reportage Real Estate Company, Mohammed Rasool Al Khoury and Sons, Riviera Water Company, Italian International School, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, Emirates Heritage Club, and the Radisson Blu Hotel, which will host the festival.
Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, emphasised the wise leadership’s interest in supporting all sports and advancing its path towards success.
He emphasised this as the main impetus for Abu Dhabi hosting and organising several major events and tournaments, including the Chess Festival which has attracted the participation of the most prominent players and Grand Masters.
Aref Hamad Al Awani said: “I am pleased to take the opportunity to praise the great efforts made by the Abu Dhabi Chess and Mental Games Club in the process of developing the game of chess through a set of plans, programmes, courses and hosting, which have achieved the goal for which the club was founded since its inception.
“We at the Abu Dhabi Sports Council renew our support for this important and prominent annual event on the agenda of sporting events hosted by the capital, Abu Dhabi, and are proud of its great global value, as it has become the focus of attention of international players from all over the world. We wish success to all.”