Abu Dhabi: Top-seeded British GM Nigel Short will be vying against 50 Grand Masters in the 24th Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival that got under way here at the capital on Sunday.
The competition, which will run until August 23, consists of Masters, Open and Under-16 competitions and has attracted more than 600 players from 57 countries battling for a purse of $65,000 prize money.
While Short, 52, the oldest of the world’s top 100 players, will headline the championship, Emirati Grandmaster (GM) Salem Abdulrahman Saleh spearheads the home challenge.
The Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival consists of a wide variety of tournaments for all strengths and groups. The strongest section (Master tournament) has 144 players with 51 grandmasters including four Women GMs, and 29 international masters apart from title holder players. The winner of the nine round Swiss tournament takes home $13,000.
This year there will also be a family team tournament, where one will witness parents taking on their children.
“The tournament is growing in strength every year. There a lot of newcomers and we see an increase in Grandmasters participating in the tournament, every passing year. The festival which is entering its 24th year has become the focus of most international players across the world and the UAE is proud of this status reached by the festival. This year we have seen a great turnout and that is because of the efforts made in the past years,” said Hussain Abdullah Khouri, chairman of the organising committee.