Over 200 chess players from 17 countries taking part in Saudi chess tournament

The tournament will be played in nine rounds according to the Swiss System. (SPA)
Updated 16 March 2019

Over 200 chess players from 17 countries taking part in Saudi chess tournament

  • The tournament is open to men and women, with a total cash prize of $40,000

HAIL: The first Hail International Rapid Chess Championship, organized by the Saudi Chess Federation and the Hail Chamber of Commerce and Industry, started Friday under the patronage of Hail Gov. Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saad bin Abdul Aziz.
More than 200 local and international chess players from 17 countries are participating in the four-day tournament.
The governor of Hail said the event was the outcome of government efforts to engage all provinces.
“The Kingdom is making great strides in organizing various international events with participation from around the world, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is continuously pushing the country forward to occupy a distinguished position in every international sphere. We aspire for the success of these opportunities and hope that they all contribute to Hail’s success.”
The tournament will be played in nine rounds according to the Swiss System, whereby players are never eliminated but are instead paired in every round against someone with the same or similar number of points in the tournament. The winner is the player who earns the most points by the end of the tournament.
Abdullah bin Marzouq Al-Adim, vice chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers and chairman of the Hail Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the idea for the championship was suggested by a Hail local. He added that more than 14 international champions, including some from Hail, were taking part. “The participation of local champions is in itself a gain for the province. The Hail International Rapid Chess Championship was adopted by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) to occupy a place in the international calendar.”
He thanked the governor for his support.
The tournament is open to men and women, with a total cash prize of $40,000, according to information posted on the World Chess Federation website.

Locals welcome Sharqiah Season visitors from far and wide

Updated 26 min 14 sec ago

Locals welcome Sharqiah Season visitors from far and wide

  • The Sharqiah Seasonfeatures over 80 events in cities acrossf the Kingdom's Eastern Province
  • Events in the upcoming weekends feature sports events as as well as concerts

RIYADH: Residents of the Eastern Province are no strangers to foreign visitors — the nation’s oil heartland has been welcoming them for years. But more have been arriving with the opening of Sharqiah Season, featuring over 80 events across the region’s cities.

Organized as a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage alongside the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority, it is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned across the country in 2019.

Faisal Al-Rayisi, an employee at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, told Arab News he was surprised by the number of people arriving for the festival. 

“People are not only coming from Saudi Arabia, but from all over the Gulf as well — Kuwait and the UAE in particular,” he said. “I’ve even seen foreigners from Europe and Asia coming through. Time was, we used to go to Dubai for our entertainment, but now people from Dubai are coming to us.”

He also mentioned how happy he was to see the festivities coming to the Eastern Province. “Jeddah has this slogan, ‘Jeddah is different,’ but now that we’re seeing the first Sharqiah Season in our region, and all of these amazing activities and concerts are happening here, I think we can safely say ‘Sharqiah is different’ now.”

The Sharqiah festival aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom.

The festival features events in Eastern Province cities, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail. Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with different entertainment options for each city. Upcoming seasons will focus on different areas, and also different parts of the year, such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.

Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, said in a statement that  the organization’s participation in the festival aligns with its goal of improving the quality of life in the Kingdom, and discovering local talent in various entertainment industries.  

He also highlighted the importance of the entertainment sector and its contribution to the economy and the creation of jobs for locals, all important aspects of Vision 2030.

The opening night of Sharqiah Season on Thursday drew crowds of Saudis to the Alkhobar Corniche, despite strong winds and sprinklings of rain earlier in the day. Groups of friends stopping to take selfies and families with young children in tow wandered through the Entertainment Boulevard, lined with food stalls selling karak and koshari.

Earlier in the day, the mega event began with the opening of an exhibit featuring the work of Leonardo da Vinci at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). 

The exhibit showcased some of Da Vinci’s original sketches, with several screens showing videos detailing how his designs have continued to inspire scientists and inventors in the modern era.

Sharqiah Season continues until March 30, with upcoming weekends featuring sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and the Formula 1 H20 boat race, as well as concerts in Dammam featuring Akon, Deadmau5, Pitbull and French Montana.