Dubai Open Chess Tournament starts Monday with record number of participants

Record number of grandmasters also competing this year

Dubai, UAE (April 8, 2016) – The organising committee has completed its preparations for the Dubai Open Chess Tournament 2016 – Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup, which is held annually under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance of the UAE. Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan will personally witness Monday’s opening of the 18th edition of the tournament, which registered a new record in participation this year.

Most of the foreign players are expected to start arriving on April 9 (Saturday) and April 10 (Sunday). Some players, however, have arrived much earlier to acclimatise and ensure good preparation for the tournament. Players arriving at Dubai International Airport are received by a welcome committee comprising tournament representatives and guest relations officers of the official hotel, Marriott.

International reputation

This year’s tournament has more than 190 registered players, which is a new tournament record. Participants come from 42 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. India has the largest contingent with nearly 60 players, followed by the UAE with 24, Egypt 11 and Azerbaijan  9. The tournament also has a much larger delegation from Europe this year.

Reaffirming its reputation as one of the strongest open tournaments in the world, there are 133 titled players competing in the Dubai Open, including 47 international Grandmasters (GMs), which is another record for the championship. There are also seven Woman Grandmasters (WGMs), 37 International Masters (IMs) and six Woman International Masters (WIMs). More than 25 players have an International Chess Federation (Fide) rating of over 2600. These statistics make the Dubai Open easily one of the best events for players seeking to fulfil their title norm or rating requirements.

Headlining the list of participants are GM Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria and GM Anton Korobov of Ukraine, who both have a Fide rating of 2695, followed by Armenian GM Gabriel Sargissian (2693). Also competing is world junior girls champion WGM Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan and IM Esha Karavade of India.

Arab participation

Egypt is sending the largest delegation among Arab countries with 11 players. Featuring a mix of youth and experience, the Egyptians are led by GM Bassem Amin and WGM Mona Khaled, the Africa women’s champion. Other Arab countries represented in the tournament are Jordan, Qatar, Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Sudan and Somalia.

Promising talents

A number of young and promising talents are also competing in the tournament, including Fide Master (FM) Mahammad Muradli of Azerbaijan, the world Under-12 champion, and Iranian FM Aryan Gholami, bronze medallist in the world Under-14 championship, and his compatriot Mohammed Amin Tabatabaei. In addition, young Egyptian talents IM Fawzy Adham and IM Abdelrahman Hesham are expected to give the more experienced players tough competition.

Strong UAE contingent

The host country is also well represented, led by the golden boy of UAE chess, GM Salem Abdul Rahman Saleh, veteran campaigner FM Nabil Mohammed Saleh, FM Saeed Ishaq, Arab Under-18 champion IM Sultan Ibrahim and the UAE’s top lady player WIM Amna Nouman.

Emirati International Arbiter (IA) Mahdi Abdul Rahim, the tournament Chief Arbiter, and Mohammed El Husseiny, tournament coordinator, led a meeting on Saturday at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club to discuss the final preparations for the tournament. The meeting was attended by IA Naji Al-Radhi, IA Jamal Qasim and IA Walid Abu Obeid and IA Augusto Marcial.

The tournament’s media committee will produce a daily bulletin in Arabic and English. Games will also be broadcast on the club’s website, www.dubaichess.ae and other leading chess websites.

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