Invitation to the Al-Ain Classics

by Sagar Shah
11/14/2014 – If you want to play a strong tournament in idyllic surroundings, the Al-Ain Chess Classics might be just the tournament for you. From 18th to 27th December a lot of Grandmasters, International Masters and also rank amateurs will travel to the United Arab Emirates to play for a sizeable prizefund in Al-Ain, the so-called "Garden City" in the Arabian Gulf. Sagar Shah offers a preview.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The Al-Ain Chess Classics: A strong tournament at the end of the year

Gradually, countries in the Middle-East are becoming famous for organizing strong open events; especially the United Arab Emirates. In April they usually organize the strong Dubai Open, which is already in its 16th year. And in August the 21st Abu Dhabi Open took place. To finish the year on a high, the Al-Ain Classic will be held in the city of Al-Ain from the 18th-27th December 2014.

Al-Ain is the second largest city in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the fourth largest in the UAE. Thanks to its greenery it is known as the “Garden City”. It lies 160 kilometres to the east of the capital Abu Dhabi and 120 kilometres south of Dubai. Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai form a geographic triangle in the country and Al-Ain shares its inland border with Oman.

Al-Ain is famous for its parks and gardens

The city of Al-Ain has hosted many strong and important events.

In 2012, the World Cities tournament took place in Al-Ain. The tournament
was won by the Hoogeven team featuring Anish Giri, Sergei Tiviakov, Ivan Sokolov and Jan Smeets.


In 2013, Al-Ain organised the World Youth Chess Championships. More than 1.800 participants from 120 nations took part.

Simultaneously to the World Youth Championships the Al-Ain Classic 2013 tournament was played.

Baadur Jobava (2705) (on the right) was the top seed of the event in 2013

But the tournament was won by the charismatic Indian GM Abhijeet Gupta

Now the Al-Ain classic is back: bigger, better and stronger. In fact, the tournament which will take place from 18th to 27th December 2014 is one of the strongest open events in the world.

Schedule of the event

The Ayla Bawadi Hotel is the venue for the tournament

The tournament has a very decent first prize of $11,000,
and this tops the tournaments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi,
in which the winner received $10,000.
I am curious to know how they will decide on
the prize in the bottom right: Best Score sheet!

Thanks to the handsome prize fund, a lot of strong players have already confirmed their entries to the tournament.

Yuriy Kryvoruchko (2706)

Sergei Zhigalko from Belorussia (2672)

GM Alexander Areshchenko (2655) and GM Yuriy Kuzubov (2661)

Tigran Petrosian (2651) from Armenia

Zahar Efimenko (2644)

GM Constantin Lupulescu (2643) (picture by Alina L’Ami)

GM Samuel Shankland (2642) from the United States of America

List of participants

There are quite a few tourist attractions in the city of Al Ain.

For instance, the impressive Hazza bin Zayed football stadium, home of the Al-Ain football club. In 2003 the team won the Asian Champions League and no other team has won the UAE Football league, founded in 1973, more often winner than Al-Ain: no less than eleven times.

If you are an animal lover, Al-Ain is the place to be. The Al-Ain zoo comprises 400 hectares, and is situated on the foothills of Jebel Hafeet mountain. As seen above, it hosts the white lion, an animal that is almost extinct. (Picture by Rolf Crisovan)

A view from the Jebel Hafeet mountain (Picture by Amit Singh)

The Jebel Hafeet mountain is primarily located in United Arab Emirates but part of it lies in Oman. The mountain rises to 1249 metres above sea (4098 feet) and offers a spectacular view of the city.

The winding road leading up to the Jebel Hafeet mountains

There are many forts and heritage structures in Al-Ain. Al Jahili is one of the most popular.

The temperature in Al-Ain in December is usually around 25 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius.

Ebrahim Qadoomi for hotel accommodation: +971506810075
Ahmed Adel for registration to the tournament - after scanning the entry fee slip and emailing it to the above address: +971-50-4374221
Rafiq Thengil for VISA procedures: +9715-9314161

Tournament page

For more information on the tournament, such as entry fee and the procedure for Visa applications see also the tournament invitation.

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register