The 2014 Qatar Masters starts this evening. It is billed as the strongest Open for 2014, and the field does look very strong. The top half of the 154 player field is rated above 2520, and the top 14 players are all 2700+. The event is offering a first prize of $25,000 and with a total prize pool of $100,000 it is no surprise that the tournament has attracted a stellar field.
Top seed is Anish Giri, just ahead of surprise entrant Vladimir Kramnik. While his participation in this event has been known for quite a while, it has been a long time since he has played an Open Swiss. While some of the top players will occasional play in an event like Gibraltar, Kramnik has previously not been part of this group. Of course the overall strength of the field might help him avoid the problem of playing an uneven strength field, but even then, it will be interesting to see how he copes with preparing for unfamiliar opponents.
Australia has one participant in the tournament IM Rishi Sardana, although WIM Emma Guo will also be there, but only as a spectator. Home page for the tournament is http://www.qatarmastersopen.com/ and you can find links to live coverage, games and results from there.