One of the strongest open chess tournaments in the chess calendar has started with the Opening Ceremony today on 19 December at 19.00 in the Torch Hotel Doha, Qatar.
2nd edition of the tournament (1st event took place in 2014) has gathered the strongest chess players from the top rating list. Former World Champions Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine), former Women's World champions Hou Yfan (China), Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) and Alexandra Kostenyuk (Russia) will compete in the tournament. One of the greatest achievements was to succeed to have the reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) participating in this competition.
Thus more than 20 participants with the rating above 2700 make the tournament's average of more than 2500 Elo rating points, it will be one of the most fascinating chess battles to watch for the next coming days.
The Opening Ceremony started at 19.00 in the Torch Hotel Doha with the video presented by Qatar Tourism Authority showing Doha as a center of sport, cultural life and entertainment not only in Asia.
The President of Qatar Chess Federation, FIDE Vice President Mr. Khalifa Al Hitmi welcomed all the participants and guests of the competition and wished them all good luck. He expressed his own as well as the pride of all chess fans of his country who will witness the strongest chess players of the planet to play chess in Doha.
The Chief Arbiter of Qatar Masters Mr. Takis Nikolopoulos has made drawing of lots with the help of magician. The magician showed a trick with the chess pieces to the guests. After that top seed, the world champion Magnus Carlssen chose the white piece, meaning to play white in the first round.
The gala dinner was given to all the participants and guests. The Chief Arbiter went through the important points of the regulations. Almost all participants have already arrived to start the first round tomorrow, on 20 December at 15.00.
Photos of the Opening Ceremony are available here.