Chess enthusiasts from all over the UAE gathered at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club on Saturday (October 12) for the country’s historic inaugural staging of the Global Chess Festival. Participants of all ages took part in day-long activities that included a blitz chess tournament, chess quiz, simultaneous exhibitions by masters, chess masterclass and much more.
The festival was held simultaneously in more than 20 other countries and dozens of other cities around the world as part of a global initiative founded by Judit Polgar, the legendary Hungarian grandmaster who is recognized as the strongest female chess player in history.
Dubai Chess Club vice-chairman Ahmed Al Thani, board member Saeed Yousuf Shakari, executive director Mohamed El Husseiny, along with Mahdi Abdulrahim, FIDE Rules Commission chairman, were on hand to officially open the festivities.
Apart from chess competitions, there were other activities involving parents and children alike, including face painting, lectures on brain health and nutrition, LEGO chess art competition and the “Human Chess Match” featuring young kids standing in as chess pieces on a giant chess board. There were also competitions in the digital gamers’ lounge where players competed against each other on chess game consoles, as well as billiards and babyfoot events. Participants also availed of discounts on chess merchandise at the venue, while handsome prizes were given away in raffle draws.
Nearly 100 players took part in the blitz event in the evening, with the club’s up-and-coming players taking home some of the top prizes, including Mesfer Al Mesafri, who emerged champion in the Kiddie division, and Abdulla Mahmood, who took the special prize in the Under-12 age bracket. Nelman Lagutin won the championship in the nine-round open blitz tournament, while Emerlinda San Andres was the women’s champion.
The activity was part of year-round events organised by the club for chess players of all ages and skill levels. Dubai Chess Club also recently hosted the International Chess Day in July, which marked the 75th founding anniversary of the World Chess Federation (FIDE).
The Global Chess Festival was concurrently held in several other countries, including the USA, Canada, Russia, France, China and Hungary, where the festival originated under its creator and main organizer, Judit Polgar.