The 17th Dubai Open Begins

by Sagar Shah
4/8/2015 – Over the years the Dubai Open has established itself as one of the strongest open tournaments in the world. This year the event witnesses the participation of 150 players from 43 countries, with 39 grandmasters, 22 of whom are rated above 2600. The overall rating average is 2182. We have a reporter in Dubai who has provided a big illustrated report from the tournament venue.

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The 17th Dubai Open Chess Tournament is being run from 5th – 16th April 2015 at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club, with players from at least 43 countries competing for the prestigious Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup – nine rounds Swiss, time controls: 90 min + 30 sec per move start from move one. The total prize sum is US $50,000, with the winner receiving $12,000. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top 18 placers, with additional prizes for local and Arab players and for the top women scorers.

The 17th Dubai Open Begins!

By participating reporter IM Sagar Shah

After Gibraltar in January and Reykjavik in March, it’s time for the Dubai Open in April. The event is being held in Dubai Chess and Cultural Club, UAE, from 5th to 15th of April 2015. This year the Dubai Open witnesses the participation of 39 grandmasters with as many as 22 of them being above 2600. There are 153 players from 43 countries, and the rating average is 2182.

One of the best things about Dubai is that you get to play inside a rook! Didn’t get it? Here’s what I mean:

The Dubai Chess and Culture Club is famous because of its unique shape!

A bird’s eye view of the top tables

The chess sets used are of excellent quality with as many as 40 digital sensor boards

The top board in front of the tournament banner

The top seed of the event is GM David Howell from England
with a rating of 2687 [picture from official website]

One of Russia’s best junior player, Vladimir Fedoseev (2674), is second seed

Third seeded Igor Kovalenko from Latvia (2665)

The reigning Ukrainian Champion, Yuiry Kuzubov, was put under some huge pressure by his
2200 rated opponent, Jobannie Tabada. He turned out to be the biggest casualty of round one.

The top rated female of the event, Eesha Karavade (2403), from India, before the start of the first round

One of the rules in the tournament is that at 6.45 pm, around an hour into the game, there is a 15-minute namaaz (prayer) break. Most of the players use it as a time to relax, talk and unwind. But it does feel that this sometimes allows players to discuss their positions with their friends and there is no way you can keep a check on it.

Two ex-Soviets turned American during the namaaz break:
Jaan Ehlvest (Estonia) and Alexander Shabalov (Latvia)

The cafeteria where you can enjoy a beverage, play hand football or…

…just watch the live games on the huge LED screen with six games being shown

Alexander Fier continues his active playing schedule

The 2012 World Junior Champion, Alexander Ipatov, with a unique method of concentration

A fierce attacker: Nils Grandelius from Sweden

The 2013 Dubai Open Champion: Alexander Rakhmanov

The photographer of this report, Amruta Mokal (rated 2075) created a big upset
in round one by beating GM Daniele Vocaturo (2594) with the black pieces

Beautiful smile: Alzaeby Razan from Jordan

A huge variety of chess sets are on display here

King of the World? A levitating chess piece and globe on sale

No matter how exciting the first round was, at 10.30 in the night
you are bound to have some drooping eyes among the spectators

Do you see a bowling pin in the picture. That’s the Dubai bowling centre, right next to the chess club. Significance?

When Magnus Carlsen came to Dubai in June 2014 he won both the World Rapid and Blitz title. Between rounds, during a 45 minute break, he went to the bowling centre to unwind! [Photo from his Facebook page]

With so many players vying for the first prize of US $12,000, Dubai Open 2015 promises to be a spectacular event. The schedule like every year includes a rest day on Friday and double round on Saturday. Our next report will be published after the fourth round.

Results and rankings after two rounds

Pictures by Amruta Mokal


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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.


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