Welcome to Abu Dhabi Masters 2015

by Sagar Shah
7/28/2015 – The European continent is a hotbed of strong open events taking place throughout the year. What are the other options for participating in a good tournament? The perfect location for players all around the world to participate is the Middle-East, perhaps in the 22nd Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival which will take place from the 23rd to 31st of August 2015.

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Welcome to the Abu Dhabi Masters 2015

The European continent is a hotbed of strong open events taking place throughout the year – Gibraltar in January, Reykjavik in March, Politiken, Pardubice and Biel in July, London Chess Classic in December and many others. But apart from Europe what are the other options for participating in a good tournament? You could play in the United States but then usually you have to be ready for two games a day. India and the South East Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. do have good events, but the location is not exactly central. The same goes for tournaments in Australia and New Zealand.

The perfect location for players all around the world to participate is the Middle-East and they have some excellent tournaments that are being organized throughout the year. One such event is held in the capital of the United Arab Emirates – Abu Dhabi. The 22nd Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival will take place from the 23rd to 31st of August 2015.

Abu Dhabi is the second largest city in the UAE (largest is Dubai) and lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. It is ideally located for players of Europe, especially of east Europe. This is one of the reasons why the tournament will be very strong as top grandmasters from countries like Hungary, Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia, Russia and others will be seen in action. Players can arrive in Abu Dhabi from three airports: Abu Dhabi, Dubai (150 kms) and Sharjah (180 kms).

Prize fund: The thing which separates this tournament from the normal ones is the exceptional prize fund. The quantity of prizes is low but the quality is very high! Also the first prize has increased from $10,000 in 2014 to $12,000 this year

1st US $12,000 6th US $1500
2nd US $7000 7th US $1000
3rd US $5000 8th US $800
4th US $3000 9th US $700
5th US $2000 10th US $600

With such excellent prizes on offer many strong players have confirmed their participation.

The eight time Hungarian national champion Zoltan Almasi (2700) is the top seed of the event

David Howell (2698) is in great form, recently winning the strong Leiden Open with a score of 8.5/9.
By the time the tournament begins, the English GM might well be the top seed.

The 2013 Ukrainian national champion Yuriy Kryvoruchko (2695)
with his wife WGM Vita Kryvorcuhko (2183) will be there in Abu Dhabi

Baadur Jobava (2693) has shed a lot of rating points recently, but with his unconventional style
he will be one of the major attractions at the event [picture by Alina l’Ami]

Back to back victories in strong open events like Zalakaros, Albena, Iasi and Najdorf Memorial make Igor Kovalenko (above) one of the favourites in Abu Dhabi. You can read a wonderful interview of this dynamic player published on our website just a few days ago.

As GM Alejandro Ramirez put it, “A group of mathematicians started deciphering how Richard Rapport chooses his openings. However, midway through the project, they decided that predicting lottery numbers was an easier endeavour.” A highly exciting prodigy!

Apart from these above top six seeds there are many other exciting players like Sanan Sjugirov, Yuriy Kuzubov, Evgeny Alekseev, Alexander Areshchenko, Eltaj Safarli, Vladimir Akopian, Gawain Jones and Vidit Gujrathi.

D. Harika will spearhead the women’s challenge

Complete list of players

Currently, there are 126 participants with from 31 countries with a whopping 57 grandmasters (26 of them above 2600), 15 International Masters and seven WGMs. The big difference in the Abu Dhabi Masters from the Dubai Open, which also has such a star-studded line up, is that only players above the rating of 2000 are allowed to participate. This significantly improves the level of the tournament.

1 GM Almasi Zoltan HUN 2700
2 GM Howell David W L ENG 2698
3 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2695
4 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2693
5 GM Kovalenko Igor LAT 2682
6 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2671
7 GM Sjugirov Sanan RUS 2662
8 GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2653
9 GM Alekseev Evgeny RUS 2651
10 GM Areshchenko Alex. UKR 2651
11 GM Safarli Eltaj AZE 2649
12 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2647
13 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2647
14 GM Vidit Gujrathi IND 2643
15 GM Onischuk Vladimir UKR 2642
16 GM Amin Bassem EGY 2640
17 GM Swiercz Dariusz POL 2634
18 GM Vovk Yuri UKR 2632
19 GM Petrosian Tigran L. ARM 2630
20 GM Rakhmanov Alek. RUS 2626
21 GM Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2625
22 GM Grandelius Nils SWE 2623
23 GM Guseinov Gadir AZE 2616
24 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2604
25 GM Kravtsiv Martyn UKR 2602
26 GM Papp Gabor HUN 2601
27 GM Sumets Andrey UKR 2598
28 GM Mamedov Nidjat AZE 2597
29 GM Adly Ahmed EGY 2591
30 GM Kovchan Alex. UKR 2591
31 GM Demchenko Anton RUS 2588
32 GM Prohaszka Peter HUN 2586
33 GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2585
34 GM Gagunashvili Merab GEO 2577
35 GM Romanov Evgeny RUS 2575
36 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2574
37 GM Ghaem Maghami E IRI 2570
38 GM Esen Baris TUR 2567
39 GM Mozharov Mikhail RUS 2564
40 GM Gopal G.N. IND 2562
41 GM Belous Vladimir RUS 2561
42 GM Heberla Bartlomiej POL 2558
43 GM Nevednichy Vlad. ROU 2558
44 GM Idani Pouya IRI 2557
45 GM Vaibhav Suri IND 2551
46 GM Stupak Kirill BLR 2547
47 GM Horvath Adam HUN 2543
48 GM Stopa Jacek POL 2541
49   Predke Alexandr RUS 2537
50 GM Timofeev Artyom RUS 2536
51 GM Vakhidov Jahongir UZB 2525
52 GM Pakleza Zbigniew POL 2520
53 GM Harika Dronavalli IND 2508
54 GM Debashis Das IND 2489
55 GM Mammadov Zaur AZE 2482
56 IM Sadzikowski Daniel POL 2477
57 IM Ezat Mohamed EGY 2476
58 GM Berescu Alin-Mile ROU 2464
59 IM Narayanan Srinath IND 2464
60 GM Czebe Attila HUN 2463
61 IM Sagar Shah IND 2456
62 IM Ris Robert NED 2449
63 IM Pascua Haridas PHI 2447
64 IM Padmini Rout IND 2441
65 FM Abdusat. Nodirbek UZB 2432
66 IM Yagubi Asif AZE 2431
67   Vignesh N R IND 2422
68 IM Asgarizadeh Ahmad IRI 2417
69 IM Karavade Eesha IND 2409
70 GM Raetsky Alexander RUS 2405
71 IM Gaponenko Inna UKR 2402
72   Abhishek Kelkar IND 2400
73 IM Bulmaga Irina ROU 2393
74   Visakh N R IND 2393
75 WGM Pourkashiyan Atousa IRI 2370
76 IM Estremera Sergio ESP 2369
77 IM Gevorgyan David ARM 2368
78   Kulkarni Rakesh IND 2368
79 FM Salih Akar Ali Salih IRQ 2359
80 IM Tissir Mohamed MAR 2351
81 WGM Yildiz Betul Cemre TUR 2341
82 FM Nuber Blasius GER 2339
83 FM Oganisian Roman RUS 2328
84 WIM Hejazipour Mitra IRI 2321
85   Siva Mahadevan IND 2291
86 WIM Derakhshani Dorsa IRI 2280
87 WGM Swati Ghate IND 2279
88 WIM Severina Maria RUS 2276
89 FM Mahdavirad Mehdi IRI 2274
90 WGM Calzetta Ruiz Monica ESP 2263
91   Antonio Viani D'cunha IND 2255
92 FM Saeed Ishaq UAE 2252
93 WGM Ozturk Kubra TUR 2232
94 CM Alhajiri Bader KUW 2231
95 FM Zozek Salah IRQ 2225
96   Senthil Maran K IND 2211
97 FM Khouri Ibrahim UAE 2205
98 WIM Khalafova Narmin AZE 2203
99   Fendereski Nima IRI 2202
100 WGM Mona Khaled EGY 2184
101 WGM Kryvoruchko Vita UKR 2183
102 FM Voiteanu Gabriel ROU 2182
103 WIM Nandhidhaa Pv IND 2176
104 FM Vinoth Kumar M. IND 2166
105 FM Gator Mosab LBA 2162
106 CM Nameer. Al-Deen IRQ 2158
107   Mokal Amruta Sunil IND 2123
108   Tarig Elther SUD 2105
109   Marcos Marvin PHI 2104
110   Yashas D. IND 2098
111   Rajarishi Karthi IND 2093
112   Laabi Chian Majid IRI 2087
113   Ghorbani Hadi IRI 2084
114 CM Derakhshani Borna IRI 2079
115   Al-Takrori Husam PLE 2071
116   Baltazar Danny PHI 2071
117   Godbole Atharva IND 2069
118   Ahmed Fareed UAE 2052
119   Jovancevic Jovan MNE 2051
120 FM Sultan Ibrahim UAE 2040
121   Shafaee H. IRI 2038
122   Vojdani Siavosh IRI 2030
123 FM Khouri Ahmed Abbas UAE 2023
124 WFM Salman Mahini Mona IRI 2021
125   Ghoorchibeygi Alireza IRI 2016
126   Zayed Ali Al-Hamed UAE 2006


6 pm
6 pm
10 am
6 pm
6 pm
6 pm
Rest day
6 pm
6 pm
10 am
Closing ceremony
7 pm

Two things about the schedule which are a tad uncomfortable for the players are – a double round on the 25th of August and the final round starting at 10 a.m. in the morning. The rest day on 28th of August does compensate a little for the above issues.

The Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche is the official hotel and venue for the Abu Dhabi Masters.
Here is the exact location of the hotel, plus all the tariff details.

The exquisite playing hall

Along with the masters tournament there will also be a number of side events:

  • Open tournament: for players rated 2000 and below
  • Juniors tournament: for players under 16 years
  • Blitz tournament: 11 rounds, 3 minutes + 2 sec increment
  • Simultaneous exhibition: Held by a renowned international GM
  • Homeland protector’s tournament: Open to members of military and police.
  • Family team tournament: Swiss system, 7 rounds, 15 min + 10 sec increment. Open to teams of 2 players (player + one of the parents). If there are 10 or less teams participating, the tournament will be a round robin.

For more information on the above, download the prospectus at the end of the article.

The Abu Dhabi Masters 2014 was won by Yuriy Kuzubov

On a parting note I would like to leave you with a wonderful combination executed by Kuzubov in the last round of the Abu Dhabi Masters 2014 which helped him win the tournament.

Kuzubov,Yuriy (2667) - Vidit,Santosh Gujrathi (2602)
Abu Dhabi op 22nd Abu Dhabi (9), 28.08.2014

White to play – Think as deeply as you can.

[Event "Abu Dhabi op 22nd"] [Site "Abu Dhabi"] [Date "2014.08.28"] [Round "9"] [White "Kuzubov, Yuriy"] [Black "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D17"] [WhiteElo "2667"] [BlackElo "2602"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r5k1/1p1q1ppp/2p5/p1Pn1b2/P1B5/1QB5/1P3PPP/4R1K1 w - - 0 24"] [PlyCount "19"] [EventDate "2014.08.20"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "UAE"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2014.10.17"] 24. Bxa5 $1 {White can snatch this pawn because of the back rank issues.} Nf4 { Vidit calculated the variations and declined to take the bishop. But now he is just a pawn down with a lost position.} (24... Rxa5 {This move is the real test of White's combination.} 25. Bxd5 $1 cxd5 {Most critical.} (25... Rxc5 26. Bxf7+ $1 Kf8 (26... Qxf7 27. Re8#) 27. Qb4 $1 $18) (25... Ra8 {is the best but then White is just a pawn up after} 26. Bc4 $16) 26. c6 $1 {The ony move to win.} (26. Qxd5 $2 h6 $19) (26. Qxb7 $2 Rxc5 $1 $19 (26... h6 $2 27. c6 $13)) 26... Qxc6 (26... bxc6 27. Qb8+ Qc8 28. Re8+ $18) 27. Qxb7 $1 Bd7 $1 28. Qb8+ Bc8 (28... Qc8 29. Qxc8+ Bxc8 30. Re8#) 29. Qc7 $3 $18 {This fantastic move was missed by Vidit. The rook is attacked and so is the queen.} (29. Qb6 $18 { is equally good.})) 25. Qg3 Rxa5 26. Qxf4 h6 27. h3 Kh7 28. g4 Bg6 29. Qd6 Qc8 30. b3 h5 31. f3 hxg4 32. hxg4 b5 33. cxb6 1-0

Tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is an amusement park located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. It is the first and only Ferrari-branded theme park and largest indoor theme park in the world. Formula Rossa, the world's fastest roller coaster, is located here.

The Emirates Palace is a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Built as a landmark showcasing Arabian culture, Emirates Palace has created a niche in luxury hospitality. Situated on 1.3 km of private beach and surrounded by 85 hectares of gardens and lawns, with 114 domes that are 80 meters high, Emirates Palace comprises 394 rooms and suites carefully designed and furnished to offer guests superior comfort and luxury.

Etihad Towers is the name of a complex of buildings with five towers in Abu Dhabi. The towers are located opposite the Emirates Palace hotel and feature offices, apartments and a hotel. The estimated cost for the construction is 2.5 billion Dirhams.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the country. As the country's grand mosque, it is the key place of worship for Friday gathering and Eid prayers. During Eid it can be visited by more than 40,000 people.


Panorama view of Abu Dhabi Corniche [Scroll to right – Image Wikipedia]

ChessBase will provide detailed coverage of the Abu Dhabi Masters 2015. The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. 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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