Tolerance Games, Asian Chess Women’s Contest, run big in Abu-Dhabi

UAE Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, the International Chess Federation, and the Asian Chess Federation jointly held the Tolerance Games – Asian Chess Women’s Contest that took place from February 06-07, 2023, in Abu-Dhabi, UAE. The event was a part of the Global Tolerance and Human Fraternity Summit in Etihad Towers. 

Girls and ladies from Asia and all around the world participated in various activities, from playing chess to learning about the empowerment chess gives to women and society.

The event started with the “Little Chess Star” Chess Tournament. Eight invited girls played in two qualification tournaments, followed by the final match for the title.

Eisa Bashkardi Ahoud from the UAE and Zakiyabonu Muminova from Tajikistan qualified for the final from their groups. Eisa Bashkardi Ahoud bested her opponent in both games and won the tournament.

A “Learn to play in one hour” session with a coach started right after the event. WGM and five-time Armenian Champion Mariya Gevorgyan showed many interesting problems and studies and taught girls how to play some basic and more complex rook endings. 

Leadership workshop “Women and Chess – Promoting Tolerance & Women Empowerment” featured Anastasia Sorokina, Chair of FIDE Commission for Women in Chess; Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Women chess grandmaster, politician, FIDE Deputy Chair of Management Board; Anastasia Karlovich, WIM, Ukrainian chess journalist and photographer; Irene Kharisma Sukandar, WGM and two-time Asian Women’s Champion; David Smerdon, GM, PhD in Economics, member of FIDE WOM Commission and Tshepiso Lopang, IA and the President of African Chess Confederation.

“Chess can be used as an excellent tool for promoting tolerance and coexistence, connecting us in common humanity,” said Dana Reizniece-Ozola.

“Considering chess sport as a powerful means to consolidate society, establish an atmosphere of love and tolerance and create friendships between youth without social discrimination, leading numerous social projects for many years already, as a woman, as a person with a vast experience, I want more and more girls to play chess,” stressed Anastasia Sorokina.

A simul by Dana Reizniece-Ozola followed the workshop. Dana won all the games, although some players had good chances of reaching a draw. 

As many as 89 players participated in the Open Asian Women Blitz Chess Tournament, the 7-round Swiss event with the time control of 3min +2 sec. WGM Geldiyeva from Mahri (Turkmenistan) finished with a perfect score and emerged as the winner. Shakhnoza Sabirova, from Uzbekistan and Ahlam Rashed, from the UAE, tied for second place, netting 6 out of 7 points.  

Final standings:

The closing ceremony of the “Little Chess Stars Tournament” and Open Asian Women Blitz Chess Tournament took place on the 7th of February and was attended by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Mabarak Al Nabyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan, who welcomed participants and awarded the winners. 

Dana Reizniece-Ozola took part in the Global Tolerance and Human Fraternity Summit and was a speaker in panel number three, Peace: Promoting Principals of Nonviolence.

Photo: Stev Bonhage and Anastasiya Karlovich

Text: Anastasiya Karlovich