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International Chess City set to grace city skyline

A Staff Reporter
Filed on August 8, 2004 | Last updated on April 2, 2015 at 12.10 pm

DUBAI - Kirsan Ilumjinov, President of the Russian internally self-governing republic of Kalmykia, has announced his intention to establish an international chess city in Dubai, with total investment expected to reach Dh9.6 billion. With that, Dubai would become a centre for the game worldwide.

The announcement was revealed during the recent private visit of Kalmykia’s president to Dubai, where he discussed prospects for future cooperation with leading UAE businessmen.

During his meetings with Mr Sulaiman Al Fahim, Chief Executive of Dubai Projects and Dr Mohammed Raheef Hakmy, Chairman of Armada Group, Ilumjinov announced plans to establish the Dubai-based International Chess City.

The project will include 32 buildings, with the two King towers standing at an altitude of 64 floors, in the design of the traditional black and white chess board. The new development will have three to seven-star hotels and hotel apartments where the King and Minister towers will be categorised as seven-star. The whole facility will cover an estimated 64,000 sq metres.

“After much deliberation,” President Ilumjinov, who is also Head of the International Chess Association, said “we chose the Emirate of Dubai to host this gigantic undertaking, precisely because of Dubai’s international reputation as a place where imaginative projects such as the International Chess City can come to life.”

“It is Dubai’s destiny to become the centre of such a magnificent game,” Ilumjinov said. “Dubai will play host to over 60 million amateur and professional chess followers from around the globe annually. They will have a permanent venue where they can congregate and play 24-hour championships throughout the year, while some other 500 million lovers of the game will have the chance to follow the excitement via interactive electronic screens. Chess lovers from around the world will also have the chance to take part in the first Dubai World Chess Cup.”

“All the buildings that will make up the International Chess City,” President Kirsan Ilumijinov clarified, “will be shaped like chess pieces and have the traditional black and white colors of the game. The ÔKing’ buildings will be the highest,” he continued.

“Work is now underway to collect all building plans, as well as deciding the location of the project,” he said, adding: “This has been made possible by the cooperation of Mr Sulaiman Al Fahim” who has played an important role in supporting “this innovative initiative and whose untiring efforts have made the project possible.”

Commenting on the new innovative initiative, Mr Sulaiman Al Fahim welcomed the president to Dubai and praised the close cooperation between the two sides.

“In the past, we have had prolonged discussions with President Kirsan Ilumjinov, on issues relating to the possibilities of future economic cooperation between our two nations,” Mr Sulaiman Al Fahim said.

“This has culminated in the historical announcement we are making today. This is the beginning of a massive real estate project to add to the existing, marvelous high standards of architecture in Dubai.”

“We intend to make the International Chess City a centre for all chess lovers, whether they are beginners, masters of the game, or amateurs. And through its unique design, we will have in place massive interactive screens, where international contests can be held,” Mr Al Fahim said.

President Ilumjinov also revealed intentions to reallocate the headquarters of the International Chess Association from Lausanne in Switzerland to the new International Chess City in Dubai.

During his special visit to Dubai, the President of Kalmykia also met Dr Mohammed Raheef Hakmy, Chairman of Armada Group, which is one of the major investors in the project. Both parties discussed the required steps needed to bring the development to fruition and finalising details of the project.

“President Kirsan has been an invaluable asset to the project, because of his enthusiasm to invest in innovative real estate projects in Dubai,” said Dr Hakmy. “We are now finalising plans for the International Chess City and are convinced that Dubai is the perfect location for it,” he added. Further details about the project are expected to be announced when President Kirsan Ilumjinov will visit Dubai at a later date.

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