1st World Cities Chess Campionship: Al-Ain 2012

[ Information || The final group || Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 | Group 5 | Group 6 || Statistics ]


[ Basic data | Tournament review | Interesting games ]

Basic data

1st World Cities Chess Campionship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Dates: 21st - 28th December 2012
City: Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
Venue: Hilton Hotel
Organizers: Al-Ain Chess Club
Chief Arbiter: IA Casto Abundo (PHI)
Teams participating: 32 teams were invited, but only 24 arrived. Each qualified federation was eligible to send one city team
1 World Cities Champion: Armenia (qualified as 2012 Olympiad winners; did not arrive)
25 FIDE Zones champions: Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Romania, Serbia, Russia, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, USA, Iran, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, China, Australia, India, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Vietnam, Argentina, Peru, Cuba, Canada (did not arrive)
1 World Team Champion: Hungary (highest non-qualified from FIDE Zones; did not arrive)
4 Continental Cities Champions: Germany, Brazil (did not arrive), Kazakhstan, Egypt
1 host federation: United Arab Emirates
Other (invited teams, not specified why): England, France, Greece, Turkey
For qualification details read here.
Players participating: 114 (incl. 70 GMs, 19 IMs, 11 FMs and 3 CMs)
Games played: 208 (144 in the preliminaries and 64 in the knock out)
Competition format: Two stage. The system was mirrored from 1986-1994 football World Cup.
The Preliminary round: six groups of four. Each group was four board round robin. Top two from each group and four best teams from 3rd place advanced to the play-off stage
Play-offs: knock out. Losers from semifinals played for 3rd place.
Final order decided by: The Preliminary round: 1. Match points; 2. Game points; 3. Direct match result; 4. Berger; 5. Berlin system
Play-offs: Berlin system in case of a match draw (win on board one=4p; win on board two=3p etc..).
Time control: 40 moves in 90 minutes, then 30 minutes for the rest of the game + 30 sec. increment starting from move 1
Website: http://worldcitieschess.com (cached)
Other websites: fide.com report; qualification rules
Official logo: AL-AIN 2012
Downloadable game file: 12world.zip

Tournament review

The brand new idea arose in the Chess World and the Arab sheikhs granted sponsorship for biennial World Cities Championship until 2020. The tournament was organized by the Al-Ain Chess Club, headed by Asian Chess Federation president Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifah Al-Nahyan. The format was unique: in each FIDE zone best team from last Olympiad was eligible to send a team, effectively granting qualification for Russia, Ukraine, USA and Canada. The national teams had to be labelled as "cities" but this has little, if any, significance since there are no prerequisites for team members. 12 of 32 invited teams did not arrive and the final format was 24 teams seeded in six groups of four with best 16 coming through to the knock-out stage.

There were virtually no unexpected results in the round robin phase, except of poor result of the Romanian side Timişoara maybe, who came last in their group scoring three consecutive match loses. Top seeds (Paris, Hoogeveen, Lviv, Baku) had no problems, even though the Ukrainian team lost badly to Athens 3-1.

As in football World Cup 1986-1994, four of six 3rd placed teams qualified for play-offs. Here is the ranking of third placed teams:

gr team code flag MP pts Berger
C Riga city RIGA Latvia 4 7
A Dhaka city DHKA Bangladesh 3 6
B Tashkent city TASH Uzbekistan 2
F Wu Xi city WUXI China 2 5.75
E Tehran city TEHR Iran 2 1.00
D Istanbul city ISTN Turkey 2

Tehran and Istanbul were eliminated. It has to be noted, that had the football scoring been used (3-1-0), Wu Xi would have been out.

In the round of 16 Paris (Vachier-Lagrave, Fressinet) were paired with Baku (Safarli, Guseinov) and lost, so did Lviv, knocked out by Chinese side Wu Xi (2100 player on board #4). A really bad time for the Ukrainians. Quarterfinals: Hoogeveen beat Saratov in the most exciting clas of the day on a basis of board count. Tashkent beat Athens (yet another surprise). In the semifinals Hoogeveen easily ran over Tashkent and Baku steamrolled over Serbian side Novi Sad by a thumping 3½-½. The gold and the Sheikh Zayed Cup along with $21,000 cash finally went to the Dutch who beat Baku in the grand final. Tiviakov scored decisive point v Nidjat Mamedov.

Interesting games