Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club honours former FIDE World Chess Champion Anand


Anand was invited to visit the club, and attend the closing ceremony of the Sharjah International Junior Championships.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Sheikh Saud Bin Abdulaziz Almualla, President of the Arab Chess Federation and Chairman of the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club, welcomed the former FIDE World Chess Champion and Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan ‘Vishy’ Anand to the club’s headquarters.

Anand was invited to visit the club, and attend the closing ceremony of the Sharjah International Junior Championships.

He honoured the winners in the presence of Jamal Issa Al Midfaa, Secretary General of the club, members of the Board of Directors, Wahib Jaafar Al Zarouni, Omar Noman Al Ali, and CEO, Rajai Al Sousi.

A large crowd of players, coaches, and fans flocked to see Anand.

The former World Champion Anand expressed his delight at being present at the world’s largest chess club, praising the efforts of its organizers in hosting major chess events such as the Grand Prix tournaments for men and women, the Asian Individual Championship for men and women, and so on, as well as the professional level of organising the traditional Sharjah Masters Championship.

This confirms the distinguished global presence witnessed by the Emirate of Sharjah in general and the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club in particular.

Anand also praised the level of young talents participating in the tournament, advising them to work seriously and diligently in training, wishing them a great future ahead full of achievements.

Anand also recalled his memories with Sousi, when he participated in the Sharjah World Youth Championship in 1985 and, furthermore, with Grandmaster Efstratios Grivas, the SCCC Coordinator and SICA Director, with whom they played together in the same event. The three share a long-term friendship.

He also had talks with Omar Noman Al Ali, Vice-President of the Technical Staff.

Anand is an Indian chess grandmaster and a five-time world chess champion. He became the first grandmaster from India in 1988, and is one of the few players to have surpassed an Elo rating of 2800, a feat he first achieved in 2006.

Anand was known for his quick playing as a child, as he was nicknamed ‘The Genius’ during his early career in the eighties. He also won the World Blitz Championship title in 2000, in addition to many high-level quick-play events and tournaments.

Meanwhile, the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club player Rashid Hussein Al Hammadi (Arab Junior Champion) was eventually able to win the International Open Championship for Juniors with 6½ points out of 7 rounds (six wins, a draw and no defeat) in the Sharjah International Junior Championships: After seven enjoyable rounds dominated by mental competition and high sportsmanship.

The Palestinian and Sharjah International Chess Academy player, Raji Sayel Abu Azizah, came in second place with 6 points, and Salem Abdel Rahim finished in third place.

In the U-12 Championship, India’s Safin Safarullakhan managed to achieve first place with 6½ points, while his compatriot Ganesan Chakresh came in second with 6 points. Another Indian player, Sarish Shetty took the third spot.


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