Over 100 players from all over the UAE are expected to take part in the 2nd Abu Dhabi Open backgammon championship starting here on November 27.

The four-day championship, being organised by the Abu Dhabi Health & Fitness (ADHFC) under the patronage of Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will be played at the ADHFC Indoor Stadium in the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

"A total of Dh70,000 is on offer for the top four players who will then proceed to represent the UAE in the International Backgammon Championship scheduled for March next year," said Nasser Al Tameemi, General Secretary of ADHFC.

"This year we have slightly reduced the prize-money as we intend to hold two tournaments for local players every year. This will help the game grow in the UAE and we are keen on this aspect," Tameemi added.

The championship is being sponsored by Omeir bin Yousef and Sons with Al Super Magazine being the event co-ordinators.

"Matches will be played every night between 9.00 pm to 2.00 am. The players will be divided into four groups and the group winners will then contest in the final which will be a round-robin affair," Tameemi added.

The winner will get Dh25,000, runner-up Dh20,000, third-placed and fourth-placed players Dh15,000 and Dh10,000 respectively. A car raffle will also be held for all the players who enter in the tournament. Last date for entries is November 26 and more details can be had from the Club's website, www.adhfc.com .

Canadian backgammon player Alexander Juskovic, the Technical Co-ordinator for the championship said the US-style of play and rules will be applied.

"The initial matches will be played for 17 points while the final league will be for 25 points. A league in the final stage is more preferred as luck plays a major role in this game. By playing more matches we hope the winner will depend lesser on luck and more on skill," Juskovic said.

"We are also keen to start a club for all backgammon players and after this tournament we will work towards this. As of now we plan to grade the players and establish three categories to place them in during competitions," Juskovic added.

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