Doha, January 31 (QNA) – President of the Qatar Chess Association (QCA) Mohammed Al Madhahka affirmed Doha’s readiness to host the 3rd edition of the Qatar Masters Open in October, expressing his happiness at its return to Doha after having been organized for two consecutive editions in 2014 and 2015.
In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), Al Madhahka said that QCA attempted to bring the tournament back onto the International Chess Federation (FIDE)’s calendar during the previous period, yet it faced great difficulty, given FIDE’s hosting of a large number of tournaments, before succeeding to fix the tournament’s date October 10-20.
QCA President pointed out that this upcoming tournament will not differ much from the previous two editions, only that it is expected that there will be larger participation, with many players expressing their desire to be present in Doha.
Al Madhahka stressed that the presence of the world’s most prominent champions will enrich the tournament and raise its technical level, explaining that the 2015 edition received a great degree of distinction from FIDE.
He noted that the preparations are underway organizationally, logistically and technically, stressing QCA’s keenness on making this an ideal edition, pointing out that there are many options for the venue that will host the competitions, such as Aspire Zone or Lusail Multipurpose Hall.
Al Madhahka stressed that the Qatar Masters Open is considered one of the strongest open tournaments, given that it includes the most prominent Chess champions worldwide. Additionally, the Qatar Masters Open will take place days after the end of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022, and will be followed by the launch of the European Chess Clubs Cup and the FIDE Grand Prix, which qualifies for the World Championship.
QCA President stated that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the first-ever World Cup held in the Arab World and the Middle East was an undisputed organizational success, therefore, QCA seeks to continue the series of international sporting events’ hosting success and receiving a great support in maintaining the tournament’s format in the coming years, at least until 2030.
Al Madhahka pointed out that the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen confirmed his participation in this coming edition, welcoming the champion and expressing his happiness for Carlsen’s taking part, following his participation in the Qatar Masters Open in the 2014 and 2015 editions.
QCA President added that QCA works on spreading the popularity of the chess game in Qatar and on attracting major tournaments to Doha, making Doha a hub for international Chess champions and the FIDE.
He also expressed his hope that starting this year, the Qatar Masters Open becomes an annual tradition.
Al Madhahka indicated that the tournament will have a large international participation which will include the most prominent and brightest chess players’ names.
The tournament will have a total prize pool of USD 110,000, with USD 25,000 going to the champion. Qatari participation has not yet been determined, however, there is a classification that governs the selection process, with at least two or three players participating.
Speaking to QNA, Al Madhahka who first took over the presidency of the QCA in the General Assembly elections for the 2018-2020 term, said that Qatar maintained its presence in the Executive Office of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), with Jo Shen holding the position of financial secretary, Al Madhahka elected for Executive Director for International Relations, and Hamad Al Tamimi as a Competitions Committee member.
He added that the QCA is working according to a specific strategy, with the aim of developing the game at the Arab, Asian and international levels.
Al Madhahka, who featured for the first time in the U-14 World Youth Chess Championship in 1986 in Puerto Rico, and finished fourth, highlighted the positive impressions created by the Qatar Chess Federation about its potentials to host major world championships, unveiling plans to bid for organizing some tournaments in the future.
He unveiled a national plan to develop the game within schools in a bid to inject new blood in the near future, highlighting the recent local tournaments held in cooperation with some partners, especially the Public Cultural Village (Katara), and Abdullah Abdul Ghani Company.
Optimistic about the future of the game in Qatar, Al Madhahka said the Qatar national chess team will compete in the Arab Chess Championship in Khartoum from Feb. 25 to March 5, followed by an international tournament in Iraq. He noted that the national team are permanent contesters in Asian Championships.
Norwegian chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen won the Qatar Masters Open 2015, which brought together 150 players from 40 countries, after scoring +5 (7 points out of 9) and defeating Yu Yangyi in the tiebreak. In the Qatar Masters 2014, the then Chinese prodigy Yu Yangyi was crowned champion scoring 7.5/9.