International speed chess tournaments will be held in Saudi Arabia this month boasting huge prizes for winners.
The 2017 world rapid (half-hour games) and blitz (five-minute) championships will be played from 26-30 December in Riyadh.
A huge prize fund of $2m, split $1.5m for the two men’s events and $0.5m for the women’s, dwarfs previous contests.
The world champion, Magnus Carlsen, will play, as will Shak Mamedyarov, Levon Aronian and Vishy Anand from the top 10. Nigel Short is the leading English entrant.
For the first time in a sporting event in Saudi Arabia, women will not be required to play with a hijab or an abaya as head covering.
Riyadh will also host the world rapid/blitz in 2019 and 2020.