This is one of those little tidbits in chess that has always surprised me. How is it that chess is quite big in the United Arab Emirates? Well, whatever it is - we have no complaints. After all, the country hosts a couple of events that now serve as gatherings for Asia's (and the world's) best talents. Earlier there was the 7th Dubai Open (won by Wang Hao) as well as more recently the Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival.
And now, chess in the UAE gets a monetary boost. The Sulaiman Al Fahim Group has just announced a 4-year sponsorship deal of the UAE's national team. It is worth some Dh500,000.
By the way, this is the same Al Fahim that is involved with constructing the International Chess City in Dubai.