ACP Masters arrives in Ashdod
By Yochanan Afek

The strongest invitational tournament ever to be held in Israel will be hosted by the city of Ashdod, in collaboration with the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) on December 7-10 during the Chanukah holiday.

Participants & rapid rating

GM Vassily Ivanchuk, Ukraine – 2825
GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, Russia – 2821
GM Gadir Guseinov, Azerbaijan -2739
GM Richard Rapport, Hungary – 2736
GM Boris Gelfand, Israel – 2713
GM Etienne Bacrot, France – 2700
GM Dimitry Jakovenko, Russia – 2700
GM Pavel Eljanov, Ukraine – 2680
GM Baskaran Adhiban, India 2641
GM Emil Sutovsky, Israel – 2622
GM Ilia Smirin, Israel – 2613
GM Sam Sevian, USA – 2546

The tournament is consisted of 3 stages of rapid games. The 12 players will be divided into two preliminary groups. The first two players in each group will qualify to the semi-finals. The final will be played on December 10th between the two semi-final winners for a first prize of 10,000 US$. The total prize fund is 41, 000 US$.

The organizing committee is chaired by Moshe Slav, chairman of the Israel chess federation and the chief arbiter is IA Victor Glatman. The games will be transmitted by the new Israeli technology of “Chess vision”. The official website will be soon available. Several accompanying events, lectures and simultaneous exhibitions, will be held too for the benefit of the visitors.


The city Ashdod is the sixth largest city in Israel, its largest port on the Mediterranean coast and an important regional industrial centre. The historic city is an ancient one (mentioned 13 times in the bible), whose first documented evidence is from the 17th century BCE, making it one of the oldest in the world. Modern Ashdod was established in 1956 on the sand hills near the site of the ancient city and was officially declared a city in 1968. It has a population of around 220 thousand inhabitants living in an area of 47,242 square kilometres. Ashdod has a reputation of an immigrant absorbing city that has developed into a prominent art, sport and culture centre. This might partly explain the remarkable success of the local chess community.

Ashdod chess club is one of the youngest Israeli clubs and yet it has already established its position among the country’s leading and most successful ones. The club was founded in 2003 by the education and sport department in the municipality of Ashdod, headed by Yehuda Frenkel and a group of Chess enthusiasts led by Moshe Slav.

The club is currently represented by 26 teams in the various divisions of the national leagues for men, women and youth. Within a fairly short period the top team of the club has won 5 times the national championship in the years 2007-2010 and 2014 as well as 5 times the national Cup Games in the years 2007-2009, 2013, and 2015. The club has participated regularly in the European Club Cup winning the 6th place as best in 2010. The current line up of the club’s top team includes the Israeli grandmasters Emil Sutovsky, Ilia Smirin, Victor Mikhalevski, Boris Avrukh, Vitaly Golod, Arthur Kogan, Yehuda Gruenfeld and Boris Kantsler as well as notable foreign guest grandmasters.

The club’s ladies team won the national women team championship 9 times: in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, as well as in 2009-2012 and 2014. Its current composition includes Olga Vasiliev, Angela Borsuk, Valeria Dotan, Anastasia Vuler and Svetlana Gofman.

Quite a few of the club’s top players have won the national individual championship titles over the years. Currently both Israeli champions are Ashdod club players – GM Victor Mikhalevski and WIM Olga Vasiliev.

Ashdod chess club is leading the rapid development of youth chess in town. Some 3000 children study the game in city schools while the gifted ones, around 100 of them, enjoy advanced training in the club. All this activity is guided by the club’s team of experienced trainers: IM Boris Maryasin, Arkady Ryabukhin (the club director), Vladislav Shiklovsky, Gennady Libov, Tal Khoresh and Alexander Bonder.
Ashdod chess club is proud of a long string of remarkable achievements obtained by its students who won various national championship titles for different age categories as well as youth team competitions and representing Israel in world and European youth championships.
Over the years the city has organized various major events: In the years 2003, 2004 and 2005 holding International festivals and in 2011-2013 the national open championships were all hosted in the chess club. Since 2004 the club accommodated each season at least two complete rounds of the top division of the Israeli league.

The present rapid international tournament is no doubt the strongest chess event ever to be held in the city of Ashdod!

Organizing committee: Yehuda Frenkel, Mikki Rosenberg, Moshe Botarashvili, Moshe Slav, Benny Hizkya, Arkady Riabukhin.
Chief Arbiter: IA Victor Glatman
Game transmission: Tzaci Slav , Chessvision
Spokesman/press officer: Yochanan Afek

Tournament program
Monday 7.12
12:00: Opening ceremony at the presence of the mayor Dr. Yechiel Lasri
13:00- 16:00: Games group 1 – Kivoonim centre, 4 Hatzionut st, Ashdod
16:00- 19:00: Games group 2- Kivoonim centre, 4 Hatzionut st, Ashdod

Tuesday 8.12
13:00-16:00: Games group 1- Kivoonim centre, 4 Hatzionut st. Ashdod
16:00- 19:00: Games group 2- Kivoonim centre, 4 Hatzionut st. Ashdod

Wednesday 9.12
11:00: Lecture at the chess club, 3 Erez st. Ashdod
12:30- 15:00: An open simultaneous exhibition at the city hall square
14:30: Simultaneous display: The world youngest grandmaster, Sam Sevian (USA) vs. the youth team of Israel.
15:00: Semi finals, Kivoonim centre, 4 Hatzionut st., Ashdod
18:00-20:00: Lecture at the chess club, 3 Erez st., Ashdod

Thursday 10.12
15:00- 19:30: Finals, Kivoonim centre, 4 Hatzionut st., Ashdod
20:00: Closing ceremony and prize giving

More information here:

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