QATAR Chess Association (QCA) President Khalifa Mohammed Al Hitmi exuded confidence the World Rapid and Blitz Championships will enhance the sport’s development in the country.
“We’re happy to be hosting the World Championships. This is the third time the QCA is hosting such a prestigious event in the region after the Qatar Masters in 2014 and 2015. The participation of top players is a testimony to our organisational skills,” Al Hitmi told Doha Stadium Plus.
“I hope the tournament will boost the game’s growth in the country. We’re trying hard to promote it by hosting several age-group competitions.
“Over the years, there has been a positive response as a lot of children are pursuing chess as a career. We’ve around 600 active players now.
“Besides, the surge in interest among women is an eye-opener for us. It’s a good sign,” said Al Hitmi, who is also a FIDE vice-president.
He said the two editions of Qatar Masters made Doha a popular destination for players and fans.
“We had received big response from the world’s top players and respective federations for both editions of Masters. Even the FIDE applauded the way the tournament was organised. That helped Doha become a popular destination for the game in the region.
“The Masters was one of the strongest events, but the Worlds should give our more mileage,” Al Hitmi added.