Dubai: The UAE’s No 1 chess player, Grand Master Salem Abdul Rahman, is preparing in earnest for next month’s World Cup thanks to sponsorship from Emirates airline.
The tournament starts on August 10 in Norway, but Abdul Rahman is currently participating in the Beil Chess Festival in Switzerland, flanked by his Dutch coach, the World No 45, Grand Master Loek van Wely.
Abdul Rahman beat Croatian Grand Master Saric Ivan in the fourth round in Switzerland and leads the tournament on 3.5 points.
The Sharjah University student, who won silver at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in South Korea recently, said: “In 2006, I was received by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for winning the Under-14 Arab Championship. “I promised His Highness that I would work hard to win more medals and tournaments, and I kept my word. Since then, I managed to be the youngest Arab Grand Master, won the Asian Junior Championship three times, the Arab Championship six times and a bronze medal in the U20 World Junior Championship in 2010. I’ve still got to work on my weaknesses but I have no limit to my ambitions.”
Emirates’ vice-president of commercial operations, Badr Abbas, said: “Emirates is more used to dealing with check-ins than checkmates, but we wish Salem all the best as he travels around the world representing the UAE.
“Chess is one of the exciting offerings on our 1400-channel ice entertainment system, so even at 40,000 feet, Salem will never be too far away from the game.”
Saeed Abdul Karim Al Marzouqi, head of the UAE Chess Federation’s technical committee, said: “This sponsorship will definitely boost the player’s performance and will support him to break new records.”