(Left to right) Najeeb M. Saleh, Ahmad Khalifa Al Thani, Ebrahim M. Al Bannai and Jamal Al Abdouli during the press conference of the Dubai Open Chess Championship. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai Top players from around the world will take part in the 14th edition of the Dubai Open Chess Championship for the Shaikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Cup to be held at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club this month.

Speaking to Gulf News after a press conference to announce the event yesterday, Ebrahim Al Bannai, the chairman of the Arab Chess Federation and Dubai Chess and Culture Club, said: "Every year players from different parts of the world are competing in this championship, which has grown in reputation and participation.

"This year we have players from even El Salvador and South Africa. Players from North American countries are also participating. The fact that Jobava Baadur from Georgia with a rating of 2,706 is our top seed has lifted the profile of the event."

The championship will be held from Saturday to April 24 with a record 180 players from 32 countries competing for the title. "Nearly 30 local players will also be playing. The UAE's campaign will be led by Salem A.R. Saleh, who is the Arab and Asian champion. This is a good chance for local players to compete and improve their rating," said Najeeb M Saleh, the Technical Manager of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

India's top chess players, Gupta Abhijeet, Negi Parimarajan. Ganguly Surya Shekhar, will be here.

"A total of 10 Woman Grand Masters, 30 International Masters, one Woman International Masters and 17 FIDE [Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation] Arbiters will participate," added Saleh. "The Championship will be played in nine rounds according to the Swiss system. One hour and 30 minutes will be allotted for each player to finish the game, with an incremental time of 30 seconds per move according to the Fischer system."

The organisers have decided to stage a grand opening on Sunday at the Chess and Culture Club at 6pm, with Shaikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum inaugurating the championship.

The total prize money will be $50,000 (Dh183,500) and special prizes will be given for ladies and local players. The winner can get $10,000, while ladies and local players can win up to $6,000.

During a rest day the organisers will stage a Blitz Cup with prize money of $4,000. Different chess schools have been invited to the event.