Grandmasters sail smoothly in Zayed event

Grandmasters sail smoothly in Zayed event

The nine-round Swiss system tournament will run until June 25 with two games on each playing date from 10.30pm.



By Kt Report

Published: Tue 23 Jun 2015, 12:12 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:12 PM

Ibrahim Al Bannai, chairman of Dubai Chess Club and Arab Chess Federation, and officials at the inaugural. — Supplied photo

Ibrahim Al Bannai, chairman of Dubai Chess Club and Arab Chess Federation, and officials at the inaugural. — Supplied photo

Dubai — Top-seed Dutch Grandmaster (GM) Ivan Sokolov and the UAE’s second-seeded GM Salem A.R. Saleh cruised to comfortable wins in the opening rounds of the 12th Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

Sokolov defeated Emirati Mahmoud Ahmed while Saleh beat Philippines’ Richard Perez to jump into the joint lead in the strong field. A total of 39 players have perfect scores after two rounds.

Also winning were third-seed GM Victor Moskalenko of Spain, fourth-seed GM Davorin Kuljasevic of Croatia, Azerbaijan’s fifth-seed GM Elmar Magerramov, sixth-seed GM Ulvi Bajarani, and Egypt’s eight-seed International Master (IM) Ali Farahat, who all disposed of their much lower-rated opponents. Syrian seventh-seed Talal Hilwani, the tournament’s highest-rated untitled player, also has two points.

Dubai Chess and Culture Club’s top contenders, 11-seed Fide Master (FM) Nabil Saleh and his brother Candidate Master (CM) Najib Saleh, also won both their opening-night matches. The second round, however, also saw a minor upset when ninth-seed IM Mehrshad Sharif of France was held to a draw by 56th-seed Nader Nowroozian of Iran. Sharif dropped to 1.5 points to lead seven others at the second rung of the standings.

Ibrahim Al Bannai, chairman of Dubai Chess Club and Arab Chess Federation, executed the ceremonial first move on the first-board match between Sokolov and India’s Arun Varun to mark the start of the tournament.

Mohammed Al Husseini, Executive Director of the club, said: “The tournament has been organised for the past 12 years with the strong support of the government and various institutions.

“A last-minute rush of entries raised the number of participants to 166 players from 23 countries, including six grandmasters and two international masters.” Poet Mohammed Rifai also attended the opening ceremony and delivered a poem about the accomplishments of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding president of the UAE.

In the third round Sokolov will face Indian 22nd-seed Arun Hariharan C.R., Saleh will take on the Philippines’ 23rd-seed Matutina Mark, Moskalenko will battle 26th-seed Manjunath J. of India, Kuljasevic will be pitted against 24th-seed CM Haridas K. of India, Magerramov faces Sudanese 28th-seed Haitham Mahmoud and Bajarani meets Egyptian 25th-seed Ramez Sameir.

The nine-round Swiss system tournament will run until June 25 with two games on each playing date from 10.30pm. Each player is allotted 20 minutes plus a three-second increment per move to complete a game. International Arbiter (IA) Saeed Yousuf Shakari is the tournament director, while IA Mahdi Abdulrahim is the chief arbiter.

The tournament champion will receive the Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament Cup and Dh3,000, while the rest of the top 10 will also receive cash prizes. There are also special men’s and ladies’ awards for the top UAE players and top players from Dubai.


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