Masterclass weekend at luxury villa in Marrakech

by ChessBase
6/23/2016 – Looking for something special – we mean really special? How about a weekend of chess, with two well-known British GMs (Short and Conquest) providing daily classes and lectures, in the most luxurious surroundings you can imagine (in Marrakech, Marocco)? It will set you back £2,000 per person, all inclusive, plus £600 for a partner in the same room. Before you shelve the idea take a look at these pictures.

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Chess Masterclass weekends at luxury villa in Marrakech

The first of a new series of niche events aimed at chess connoisseurs will launch this autumn in Marrakech. Villa Ezzahra, a luxury house in the Palmeraie in Marrakech, will provide the setting for this innovative concept. Owner Brian Callaghan is highly qualified to act as host, having organised a major chess event in Gibraltar for the past fifteen years – one which has grown to become one of the world's best: the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival.

Ezzahra (click for Google map) is situated in the most prestigious part of the Palmeraie, 15 minutes from Marrakech’s Medina and souks and 12 km from Menara airport. Activities close to Ezzahra include horse riding, camel riding, go-karting and golf. Experienced guides can easily be arranged to show guests the best of the Medina and souks. For a change of scenery, day trips to the Atlas Mountains, 40 km from Ezzahra, can also be arranged including a one or two hour mule trek and a country lunch.

From October 6th to 10th 2016, a group of chess enthusiasts and their partners will be exclusive guests at Ezzahra, on a fully-inclusive stay which includes all spa and beauty treatments. The resident chess team, which gives this trip its unique flavour, will be formed of two well-known British grandmasters: Nigel Short, seasoned professional of elite international events since the 1980s and former challenger for the World Chess Championship, and 2008 British Champion Stuart Conquest, Director of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival for the last six years.

Nigel Short [photo: Jason Dorday], former World Championship Challenger, has done
two popular DVDs for ChessBase, with which you can check out his style of teaching

Stuart Conquest, Director of the Gibraltar Chess Festival, interviewed on YouTube

The two grandmasters will run a bespoke course of daily classes: lectures based on real game analysis, tips and practical advice with lessons from their own careers, as well as informal question and answer sessions whilst inviting and commentating on guests' own games. Experienced players, such as those who are members of clubs and who play tournaments, can benefit from plenty of top flight instruction, while enthusiastic beginners will receive tuition sessions geared to their level of experience. All will have the opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world.

During your stay you will almost certainly have the opportunity to discover harira, different kinds of tajines, pastillas, and Kefta dishes made from the array of spices, oils, nuts and vegetables sold in the souk. Our house cook is very flexible, but here are some dinner menus just to give you an idea.

While the two grandmasters will run a bespoke course of daily classes, a flexible programme of non-chess activities will also be on hand. Visits to the grand souk, shopping trips, a tour of the Majorelle Gardens will be available as well as time to relax by the large swimming pool at Villa Ezzahra.

Hidden in the exclusive Palmeraie area of Marrakech, Ezzahra is a stylish private villa, just fifteen minutes from the Medina. The villa sleeps 14 in seven luxurious bedrooms, each with a dressing room, private terrace and some with open fireplaces.

The villa has a large garden with a terrace running along the back and side of the house ...

... and a 16 metre swimming pool with loungers and Indian daybeds, a large Berber tent
with comfy seating for evening drinks and a gym and cinema rooms

The villa is managed seamlessly by a team of 17, including house manager Maria, a cook who prepares a daily changing menu using seasonal produce and three beauty therapists on hand to provide unlimited spa treatments all included in the price.

The villa has a hammam, treatment rooms and unlimited spa treatments as well as many other touches. The spa menu offers a range of beauty treatments using Dermalogica products and Moroccan argan oil. These include massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and wet shaving for men. All treatments are included in the price and can be taken in the spa, in your room or by the pool.

Brian Callaghan already plans two further Chess Masterclass Weekends at Ezzahra for 2017, the expected leaders to be seven-times Russian champion Peter Svidler, and Indian superstar and five-times World Champion Vishy Anand.

The house has seven luxurious en-suite double bedrooms, each with a dressing room and private terrace – some with open fireplaces. The owner’s pavilion, separate from the main house, sleeps a further two guests.

The four-night Chess Masterclass Weekend at Villa Ezzahra from 6-10 October 2016 costs £2,000 per person all inclusive. The stay includes all chess classes, meals, non-alcoholic drinks, beauty treatments and airport transfers. The price for non-chess playing partners sharing the same room is £600.

For enquiries please contact Brian Callaghan:

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