The Al Ain Chess classic 2012 is running from December 22 to December 28th this year. It is hosted in the United Arab Emirates by the Al Ain Chess Club, and is often noted by commentators for its intriguing system of rules.
The Al Ain Chess Classic operates according to the relatively rare Swiss Tournament system. A Swiss Tournament is a series of chess games which endeavours to pit players against opponents of similar strength. The first round usually pairs up opponents according to their ratings, however some Swiss Tournaments also pair players at random. Then, in subsequent rounds, players will be paired up with players who have scored similarly to them in the first round. Swiss Tournaments also attempt to ensure that no two players play each other more than once. It is also common in the Swiss Tournament system for measures to be taken so that each player alternates between playing Black and White, or at least as far as is possible.
However this will be a Swiss tournament with a difference, as the Al Ain version of the Swiss tournament also incorporates a number of additional rules and provisions. For example, chess players who were eliminated early on in the World Cities Chess Championship are allowed to enter the Al Ain Chess Classic and to carry the points they earned at the World Cities event into the Al Ain event. Other rules in place in the Al Ain Chess Classic include the prohibition against offering draws until Black has made its thirtieth move, and the fact that all moves must be made within a time-span of one and a half hours, allowing 30 seconds for each move to take place.
The question of who will win the $30, 000 prize money at the Al Ain Chess Classic is relatively open. The two top seeds participating in the tournament, Dimitri Komarov and Tigran Kotanjian both have exactly the same rating: 2518. Perhaps these two esteemed Grandmasters will end up battling each other neck and neck for the title this year!