by Lakhdar Mazouz
In the big and beautiful facilities of the Al Ain Sport arena, many people have gathered to witness the start of the first Asian Club Championship.
Long before the start of the Competition, a friendly and joyful atmosphere could be noticed: players and officials happy to meet again and to greet each other, pleased to exchange views, remembering past events they experienced, moving tirelessly around the hall. In the gallery, spectators, mostly wearing traditional white gowns, most of them teenagers, filled the seats, thrilled by the event, surely busy talking and speculating excitedly about the competition.
Outside the hall, in Al Ain city, a town ambitioning to establish itself as a leading Sport City, and apparently very much succeeding, inhabitants were active doing their usual routine. The temperature was very pleasant, almost Mediterranean and the sun was shining, with not a single cloud in the blue/white sky. No trace of the fog that surrounded the region was to be seen.
Simply wonderful conditions for a Chess Competition.
This Championship is organized under the patronage of Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of Abu Dhabi Sports Council. Of course, this Event would not have taken place without the constant efforts and energy provided by Shaikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Shakhboot Al Nahyan, President of the Asian Chess federation.
30 Clubs from 24 Asian countries are competing for the Championship. A real success, knowing that the idea of staging this event is a mere 2 months old.
Which Club will be crowned Champion? Al Ain Chess Club, with the best average Elo, seems to be the favorite. But, some Clubs, like Fajr Shams (Iran), Qi Yuan, (China), Tagaytay Chess (Philippines), have also good chances.
Parallel to the Championship, two seminars will be organized. One devoted to Arbitration, the other one to training. Many Asian Federations are eager to participate to these seminars, especially as they will be headed respectively by P.NiKolopoulos and A. MiKhalchichin, both of them well known as expert in their field.
For teams, results, standings and pairings go to chess-results.com