Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifah Al Nahyan, president of the Asian Chess Federation, yesterday launched the first Annual Asian Chess Excellence Awards at a press conference at the Danat Hotel in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
Together with Asian Chess Federation Deputy President Casto Abundo of the Philippines and Secretary General Hisham Al Taher of the UAE, Sheikh Sultan announced the awardees and said they will be honored on 25th June in Al Ain. The awards are sponsored by Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
Sheikh Sultan announced that the Man of the Year Award is given to the Ruler of Sharjah, H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, whose generous donation helped build the biggest chess club in the world valued at $10 million. The ACF President congratulated the awardees and said that he hoped the Awards will motivate players, trainers, arbiters, organizers, sponsors, chess journalists and chess leaders. Secretary General Hisham Al Taher said that the institution of the Asian Awards was approved by the Asian Continental Assembly last October in Tallinn, Estonia.
The Awards highlight Asian Chess Federation president Sheikh Sultan’s efforts in chess where he has led for eight years with many achievements. The number of Asian federations have increased to 51 members. More federations have been activated, new events introduced, in different categories for both individual and team events. The number of Asians who are world champions in various categories has increased and Asia has many new qualified technical people and coaches.
Viswanathan Anand of India was chosen Player of the Year as the highest rated in Asia in recognition of his long reign as World Champion. Hou Yifan of China was chosen Woman Player of the Year for regaining her title as Women’s world champion. GM Yu Yangyi of China was chosen Best Junior Player of the Year for winning the World Junior Championship and Asian Indoor Games chess event.
Asia’s first Grandmaster, GM Eugene Torre of the Philippines, will be given a special “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his dedication and commitment to chess and his stellar record.
WGM Zhansaya Abdumalik of Kazakhstan was chosen Best Girl Under-20 for her runner-up place in the World Girls Chess Championship. FM Li Di of China is Best Youth Player of the Year in recognition of his winning the Gold Medal in the World Youth Championship Under-14. Abdusattorova Bakhora of Uzbekistan is Best Girl Youth Player of the Year for her tie for first in the World Youth Championship Girls Under-14. GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam is Blitz Player of the Year for his outstanding performance in winning the World Blitz Chess Championship.
Jinwoo Song of Korea is “Best Organizer of the Year” in recognition of his successful organization of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games chess event.
Manny Pacquao of the Philippines was chosen “Chess Patron of the Year”. Casto Abundo read the award given “in recognition of his inspiration to sports fans around the world and his support for the Asian Continental Championships inspiring millions of youths to learn chess.”
The All India Chess Federation is the “Most Active Federation of the Year” in recognition of their valuable contribution, organizing the most number of chess tournaments and actively participating with exceptional results in continental and world championships.
The Chess Federation of Sri Lanka is honored for “Event of the Year” in recognition of their organization, with the best conditions, of the Asian Schools Chess Championship.
The Chinese Chess Association is “Best Team of the Year” and “Best Women’s National Team of the Year ”in recognition of their runner-up finish at the World Team Championship and Women’s World Team Championship, respectively, representing Asia as champions of the Asian Nations Cup, open and women’s.”
GM Evgeny Vladimirov of Kazakhstan is “Best Coach of the Year” in recognition of his exceptional contribution towards training of his students to become champions in Asian and World Youth Chess Championships.
The Saudi Arabi Chess Federation shall be given the “Best Chess Movement of the Year” award in recognition of their exemplary contribution towards the growth and development of chess at the grassroots level.
Meritorious Service Awards were conferred on Miyoko Watai, longest serving President of the Japan Chess Association, Hossein gholi Saloor of Iran, Emad Ghalayini of Palestine, Mohammed Murad Suker of Lebanon, IM Manuel Aaron of India and Phil Viner of Australia, all over 60 years of age, who have an exemplary record as chess leaders or Arbiters.
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– GM Susan Polgar