I had an amazing experience on my recent trip in Oman that I would like to share with you! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oman) I travelled shortly after the Al Ain World cities Championship at the end of last Year!
I Arrived in Al Ain (UAE) on the 21st of December 2012, one day before t
he start of the Chess Festival (Al Ain Classic, World Cities Championship and FIDE Trainer’s Seminar).
The tournament didn’t go as well as I hoped – but that was to be expected after a 6 month break of playing and training!
I was impressed by the quality of play - especially from some of the young players from India (indeed, I lost against two of them, Karthykeyan Murali and Arjun Bharat, both only 13 years old!).
I was happy to learn that one of the school boys scored a GM norm just a few weeks after.
Murali Karthikeyan scored 6/9 to get his 1st GM norm at the Parsvnath Delhi International
At the same time I attended a FIDE Trainer’s seminar (http://trainers.fide.com/images/stories/downloads/TRG_Seminars_2012/FTS-UAE2_2012-Results_Letter.pdf) and managed to achieve the Title of “FIDE Trainer.”
The seminar was lectured by the FIDE Trainers’ Commission Chairman Adrian Mikhalchishin (GM & FST) and Secretary Efstratios Grivas (GM & FST), and lasted for 24 hours.
IM Karim Ismael and GM Adrian Mikhalchishin
The strength of the participants was rather high, as 5 GMs, 1 WGM, 6 IM, 2 FM and 2 CM could be found among the trainers! The average FIDE peak rating was on 2318!
Here is my route! I travelled the road to Muscat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscat,_Oman) with minus 15 rating points and a FIDE Trainer Title in my pocket ! I managed to pass the UAE –OMAN frontier pretty easily and then took a local taxi to reach a village called Al Buraymi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Buraimi_Governorate) from which point I had to take a bus to Muscat. While waiting for the bus, a Pakistani taxi driver offered to take me to Muscat for 10 Omani Rials (20 Euros)! It didn’t take me long to calculate the variation and soon I was on the road with Mohammed:-).
350 km between Al Ain (UAE) and Muscat (OMAN) around 4 hours drive.
I arrived at around 8 PM at the city of Muscat where Mr Ameer Al Raisi was waiting for me.
I stayed 7 days in Oman and each day I was discovering some fantastic places and meeting incredible people! Some of them even came to say goodbye to me on the last day at 3.30 in the morning at the Airport which was 1 hour drive away from their houses!
I had such a great time there - I hope that you enjoyed seeing my pictures and I strongly recommend visiting this fantastic country very soon in sha Allah! :
[Follow this link above to see a very nice video about Oman: 1min 53 sec]
Interview with Mr Ameer Al Raisi :
Could you please introduce yourself to the audience?
My Name is Ameer Al Raisi, and I’m an Omani born in Kuwait.
I graduated in 1988 from the Ain Shams University in Cairo, receiving a Major in philosophy and Social studies. I served in the Unesco Office in Oman and am currently an Educational Advisor for the Ministry of Education.
When did you started to play Chess and how?
I started playing chess when I was 13 years old in Kuwait after attending one summer camp at our school. I got attached to the game since then. From the 80's till the 90's I participated in some tournaments in Oman and Cairo with some success.
From the middle of the 90's until now I have organize tournaments, training sessions and also act as an arbiter.
You attended The Al Ain Fide Trainer’s Seminar 22-26 to November 2012 (Arshak Petrosian and Beliavsky Alexander where the lecturers), how was it and what did you learned there?
I attended two workshops in Al Ain; one was Sports Care Program- International Training. It was a great benefit. I have been a Coach for quite a long period of time, but after this training camp I fine tuned my knowledge and capitalized on my experience.
The second training camp was the Sports Care Program - International Arbiters, as I do organize Chess Tournament locally. I revised the latest rules and regulations, and at the same time, learnt from the world’s chess experts.
What is the actual state of Chess in Oman?
Since the 80's we as a chess group have been trying to establish a Chess Federation. Unfortunately we never got the government support; however, we are still making progress on introducing chess at a local level.
Indeed, chess is a very popular game, in the last two years the Ministry of Education did introduce chess in all public schools! We are extremely grateful to have the support from the Minister of Education.
Introducing chess in schools is a very good step! Now what is your next move to make the Ministry of Youth’s and Sports Affairs recognize Chess as sport?
We are working on it! We have the support of the Asian Chess Federation and other organizations. We hope that soon we will be able to have our own Chess Federation.
We wish you good luck and we are sure that with your energy Oman can only hope of a better future!
Why Chess Team