Al Ain: Under the patronage of Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nayan, the President of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the first version of the Asian Chess Champions League will kick off today in Al Ain at 4.30pm at Al Ain Club.
Shaikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan, the President of the Asian Chess Confederation(ACC) and the President of the hosts Al Ain Culture and Chess Club (ACCC), welcomed the guests in their home away from home, Al Ain, and wished them luck.
"On behalf of myself and my brothers in the ACC and ACCC and all the Asian chess family, we thank Shaikh Hazza for his kind patronage and his continuous support to us in our quest to spread and improve the game of chess in the UAE and Asia.
"I am also honoured to welcome all the participants from all the Asian clubs wishing them a good stay in the UAE and good results in the competition." Shaikh Sultan told reporters yesterday.
"We are happy that Al Ain is playing host to the first ever Asian Champions League, which we regard as an important competition to improve the technical standards of the game and to provide opportunities to clubs to compete with each other and gain more experience."
Players from 30 clubs, representing India, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Brunei, China, Iran, Iraq, Singapore, Syria, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Jordan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen will attend, Al Ain and Sharjah chess clubs will represent the UAE.
Three guests of honour will take part in the competition: former President of the FIDE (International Chess Confederation) Florencio Camponanes, from the Philippines, Lakhdar Mazouz form Germany and Kema Goraeva from Russia.
The players competing in the tournament will include 22 grandmasters five from Vietnam, four from Uzbekistan, Iran and the Philippines, three from China and one from Mongolia and Russia.