The semi-finals of the Iraqi men's chess premier league will begin Thursday (September 15th) in Duhok province.
Iraqi Central Chess Federation (ICCF) president Dhafir Abdul Ameer said it would be one of the most important championships for Iraqi chess players.
"During this tournament, we will focus on the best and most prominent players to add them to the national teams."
Abdul Ameer said the chess federation wants to take part in the Pan Arab Games held in Qatar at the end of this year.
"Therefore, the Iraqi team will have a national mission represented in winning the title, given that it is the strongest and most prominent candidate among the participating teams," he said.
Iraqi national chess team player Hussain Ali said the coming championship would be very competitive.
"The Iraqi chess club finals will be important for several reasons, including the fact most of the distinguished players are taking part in the event, which will make competition to win advanced places very strong."
ICCF secretary Abdul Hadi Maftul said the federation has issued new instructions for the Iraqi chess club finals, including organizing the event using the nine-round Swiss system, which sets match times at 75 minutes and adds 30 seconds per move.
"The participating teams were classified based on their results in the local Olympiads," Maftul said. "Teams classified from first through sixth places will be able to take part in the event with three players, while teams classified seventh through twelfth will take part with two players only."
Chess has started to attract many distinguished players of various ages in the past few years in Iraq. The Iraqi national teams have successfully taken part in many international championships, including the world school championship played in Turkey last year, in which Iraq came in sixth place.
The Iraqi school team also won second place in the Arab school championship last year in Egypt, where Iraqi players won two gold and three silver medals.
Other prominent results include Iraqi national team player Araz Bassim's sixth place win last year in the Asian championship, representing the most prominent achievement the ICCF has made on the Asian level in individual contests.