Doha, 4 October 2023 - Qatar Chess Association (QCA) President and Qatar Masters Organising Committee Chairman Mohammed Al Mudahka said the stage is set for the highly-anticipated third edition of the premier international chess championship, set to take place from October 10 to 21 at the Lusail Sports Arena.
Al Madahka confirmed that preparations for the prestigious event, which has attracted an elite group of the world’s most prominent chess champions, have been completed. The Championship will see a star-studded field of 250 players from 42 countries, including 62 international grandmasters in action.
During a recent press conference, President Al Madahka disclosed that the organisers had to limit the entries due to high demand.
“We received a staggering 400 applications for tournament participation, but ultimately, we had to cap the entries at 250, both male and female players.”
Among them, the most notable entrant will be the reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who will be making his third appearance after previously featuring in the Doha event in both 2014 and 2015.
Al Madahka attributed the strong player turnout to the tournament’s high standing and the Qatar Chess Federation’s excellent relationship with Magnus Carlsen. He highlighted that the championship, known as the strongest open tournament globally, continues to attract top talent.
Carlsen will be joined by other top-ranked players in the caliber of American Hikaru Nakamura, Dutchman Anish Giri, Jorden van Foreest and Iranian Parham Maghsoodloo ensuring fierce competition.
India boasts the largest representation with 76 players, and that includes 17-year-old Indian Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, international grandmaster Vaishali Rameshbabu and Vantika Agrawal.
The QCF president emphasised the global reach of the tournament, stating that many players will transition from the ongoing Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, to Doha.
“This year we have two tournaments, the main tournament is Qatar Masters Open, and the second is Qatar Masters B,” Al Madahka said.
The Qatari team will be represented by 10 players in the latter which will provide an opportunity for players who couldn’t participate in the Qatar Masters due to their rankings.
He expressed pride in hosting the tournament at Lusail Sports Hall, lauding it as one of the world’s most distinguished sporting venues.
“Spectators can enjoy free entry to the tournament, with various accompanying events planned on the sidelines. There will be a fan zone too,” Al Mudahka added.
The QCA President also highlighted the Association’s commitment to maintaining the tournament’s integrity.
“We try to organise the tournament on an annual basis and maintain its integrity,” he stated. “We hope to receive great support to continue this format until at least 2030.”