Abu Dhabi is the new capital of chess, says Indian GM Arjun Erigaisi

Hussain Khoori, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chess Club and the organising committee of the festival, was delighted with the grand success of the event



Indian grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi. (Supplied photo)
Indian grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi. (Supplied photo)

By Ahmed Alawlaqi

Published: Mon 29 Aug 2022, 7:29 PM

The 28th Abu Dhabi Chess Festival recently attracted more than 1,100 players, including 150 titled players, from around 40 countries.

More than 50 Emiratis took part in the open tournament, including five Emirati masters. Ahmed Al Romaithi and Ali Abdulaziz took the lead with an astonishing 6.5 out of 9, proving the depth of Emirati chess talent.

The 11 chess tournaments in the festival, held over nine days at Radisson Blu Abu Dhabi Corniche, concluded on August 25.

It was organised by the Abu Dhabi Chess Club in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

Arjun Erigaisi, the 18-year-old Indian grandmaster, emerged champion as he outplayed former Chinese champion Wang Hao. The Indian prodigy proved his class by beating the biggest chess players in style.

Hussain Khoori, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chess Club and the organising committee of the festival, was delighted with the grand success of the event.

“This year we have attracted more than 150 titled players from around the world. We undoubtedly want to attract more titled players in the upcoming festivals," Khoori said.

“Throughout the festival we were lucky enough to discover new chess prodigies, Indian chess players could be an example. Indian grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi has shown us how a young grandmaster like him can break all realities and play all different chess styles.”

This year's event also saw the introduction of a community tournament, a family tournament and a frontline hero's tournament, all with one goal — to introduce chess in every Emirati household.

“The festival is one of the strongest on the chess stage. It is marked in the international federation calendar. This year we have proved our large capacity, and we hope that we can host the world championship here, in Abu Dhabi," he said.

"Our vision is loud and clear. We want to attract titled players from all around the globe, but personally, I see the bigger picture to reach chess in every house in the Emirates.”

Meanwhile, Erigaisi expressed his delight at his achievement and hailed Abu Dhabi for playing its part beautifully in growing the sport in the country.

“We experienced a new wave of chess at this year's festival. It is amazing what has been done by the organising committee in the club, and we can’t wait for another year of this exquisite festival," Erigaisi said.

"We now call Abu Dhabi the new capital of chess. A capital that is developing every day in the elegant field of chess. A capital that delivers the highest standards of chess for all players. We can't wait to see future achievements from Abu Dhabi.”

Armenian grandmaster Ter-Sahakyan Samvel also heaped praise on the Abu Dhabi event.

“The Abu Dhabi masters experience can be easily compared with other very strong chess tournaments. Not only with players but also with great conditions, the hotel, the food, the transportation. Those small things make a difference at a tournament,” Samvel said.

Egyptian grandmaster Bassem Amin echoed Samvel's sentiments.

“Abu Dhabi has given players a perfect environment for them to do their best in the tournament. I try to never miss any tournaments here. I have great memories and won the festival twice in the past," said Amin.

Meanwhile, Georgian grandmaster Jobava Baddur revealed why the Abu Dhabi event continues to attract the top players.

“It's organised at an extremely high level. There are always new talent and it’s getting harder for me even to snatch a point," Baddur said.

"The prize is going up every year. It’s tempting and continuously attracts new chess players.”


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