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For millennia, it has been known as a battle of wits, tactics, and skill. It’s also about speed at the inaugural Saudi Chess Competition.
Under “fast chess” rules, the more than 100 players competing in the contest, which began on Thursday in Riyadh, have no more than 10 seconds to make a move, and games last no more than 15 minutes.
It’s not a slow affair, and it fits with how quickly the game is moving in the Kingdom.
Abdullah Al-Wahshi, President of the Saudi Chess Federation, launched the new Chess Competition just days after his organization was awarded the rights to host this year’s Asian Chess Championship.
According to Al-Wahshi, the federation worked hard to secure the rights.
“After strong competition with the Chinese, the Saudi team was able to convince the members of the General Assembly of the Asian Chess Federation,” he said, adding that Saudi chess had improved its international profile in recent years.
“The significant shift in the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship in 2017, 2018, and 2019 had a significant impact on the international level as well as the local level,” Al-Wahshi explained.
“They have conferred great prestige and mastery on the Saudis in the international arena, particularly in organizational matters, prizes, and capabilities.”
The two-day Chess Competition, organized by the General Entertainment Authority in collaboration with the SCF, adheres to the International Chess Federation’s laws and regulations.
Players compete in nine rounds based on the “Fisher” fast chess system, which requires quick, aggressive chess. The competition winner will receive SR300,000 ($80,000), second place will receive SR200,000, and third place will receive SR100,000. According to the GEA, there are additional prizes down to 10th place.
It is the brainchild of GEA Chairman Turki Al-Sheikh, who was appointed to the chess federation’s board last year.
“The idea of Turki Al-chess Sheikh’s competition is fantastic,” Al-Wahshi said. “I am delighted that Al-Sheikh has joined the board of directors, and I hope that this will help the company make a significant improvement in its performance.”
“The current chess championship is critical to the organization of additional global and regional championships.”
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