Abu Dhabi: 'The land of the Gazelle'

by Aditya Pai
6/28/2018 – The Abu Dhabi Chess Festival is just around the corner and its premier event, the Masters' Tournament, features an exciting list of players. Some of the bigwigs include Richard Rapport, Alexander Morozevich, Anton Korobov and Vladimir Fedoseev. With such a strong field, the tournament offers an ideal opportunity for aspiring masters to earn norms or gain rating points.

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Play a tournament amid beaches and deserts

One of the biggest chess festivals of the year, the Abu Dhabi chess festival is scheduled to be played from August 6th to 16th, 2018. The 12-day chess festival will consist of four events: A masters’ tournament, an open tournament, a juniors’ tournament (for players under 16 years of age) and a blitz. The headliner, of course, is the Masters' event which has attracted 38 GMs — of whom five are rated above 2700 — and 12 IMs so far. Some big names in the fray include Le Quang Liem, Richard Rapport, Ivan Cheparinov, Wang Hao, Vladimir Fedoseev, Daniil Dubov, etc.

The venue

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is a coastal city that boasts of a splendid skyline and sandy beaches. The event will be held at Hotel Dusit Thani, one of the top 100 hotels in the world.

Abu Dhabi sits off the mainland on an island in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf

Exterior view of Hotel Dusit Thani, Abu Dhabi

Exterior view of Hotel Dusit Thani | Photo: Official Website

Players can avail themselves of accommodation at the venue with full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner), at the following rates:

Room booking rates for participants of Abu Dhabi Chess Festival

Who can participate?

In the Masters’ section, all players — with the exception of players from the UAE — rated above Elo 2100 will be allowed to participate while the Open tournament is open to everyone below the rating of Elo 2100 (as of July 1, 2017). The Juniors event is open to all players born on or after January 1, 2002.

All players must have a FIDE ID. Players without a FIDE ID will not be allowed to participate.

Why play in Abu Dhabi?

Well, there are players like Morozevich Rapport, Cheparinov, Le Quang Liem, Wang Hao, Korobov etc in the line-up. So, if you’re playing at the Masters’ event, you might just end up crossing swords with one of your chess heroes! Besides, with this strong a field which consists of players from around 25 countries, the tournament provides an excellent opportunity for norm seekers earn their GM or IM norms.

top grandmaster participants of the Abu Dhabi Masters

Some really strong Grandmasters are going to be in Abu Dhabi this August!

And if money is your motivation, there’s some to be made in the Emirati capital. Just take a look at the list of prizes below.

complete list of prizes at the Abu Dhabi Chess Festival 2018

Complete list of prizes (click or tap to expand)

What’s more, from culture to adventure, the ‘Land of the Gazelle’ has a lot to offer to all comers. The city boasts of some stunning architectural marvels like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which features the world's largest hand-woven carpet; the Formula Rossa, world’s fastest rollercoaster; and of course, lots of beaches and bazaars. Also, if shopping is your thing, it is tax-free in Abu Dhabi.

Some of the attractions of Abu Dhabi

Some of the attractions of the Emirati capital


The Festival will begin on the 6th of August 2018 and will conclude on August 16, 2018. Rounds of both the Masters' Tournament and the Open will be conducted simultaneously from 7th to 15th August. The detailed schedule of the festival is given below.

Schedule of Abu Dhabi chess festival

Click or tap to expand

Entry Fees

Entry Fees can be paid on or before July 6th (after which a late fee will be charged) via bank transfer in favour of The Abu Dhabi Chess and Culture Club. Details for the transfer have been mentioned below. 

Name: Abu Dhabi Chess & Culture Club

Bank: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Branch: Najda Street Branch

Swift Code: ABDIAEAD

Account Number:10079393

IBAN: AE51 0500000000010079393

Currency: AED           

Address: Al Najda Street Branch, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Kindly mention your FIDE Name & FIDE ID in your transfer and send a copy of the transfer to adchessfestival@gmail.com

Masters' Tournament

Entry Fees AED 370 (US$ 100). GM, IM with standard Elo Above 2400 and WGM are exempted from entry and registration fees.

Open Tournament

Entry fees AED 200 (US$ 60). IM’s & GM’s are exempted from this condition.

Juniors Tournament (Under-16)

Entry fees AED 100 (US$ 27). IM’s & GM’s are exempted from this condition.

Blitz Tournament

Entry fees AED 100 (US$ 27). GM, IM with standard Ello Above 2400 and WGM are exempted.

Late Fee

Late registration fee is AED 100 (USD $27) starts from July 7th until Aug 1st, 2018. All participating players accept to fully comply with the regulations of the tournament and the organizer. Organizing committee reserves the right to accept or deny a participant’s registration according to FIDE Rules and Regulations and UAE Laws.

Entry fee and related payments must be paid in full prior to the deadline (Aug 1st, 2018) either in cash at Abu Dhabi Chess & Culture club or through Bank Transfer/Deposit to the following email address: adchessfestival@gmail.com


Aditya Pai is an ardent chess fan, avid reader, and a film lover. He holds a Master's in English Literature and used to work as an advertising copywriter before joining the ChessBase India team.


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