Ibrahim, Al Taher shine for UAE at Chess Olympiad

World champion Magnus Carlsen dominates play against Dambasuren Balsuren to ensure that Norway would scrape to a tough draw against a dangerous rival in Mongolia



Norway's Magnus Carlsen (left) during the fourth round against Mongolia at the 44th Chess Olympiad on Monday. — AFP
Norway's Magnus Carlsen (left) during the fourth round against Mongolia at the 44th Chess Olympiad on Monday. — AFP

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Tue 2 Aug 2022, 12:07 AM

For the second time in three days, Sultan Ibrahim and Abdulrahman Al Taher rose to the occasion to anchor the UAE to a heart-stopping victory at the 44th Fide Chess Olympiad on Monday.

Both Ibrahim, a 25-year-old International master, and the up-and-coming 16-year-old Al Taher, claimed decisive victories over their opponents from Mozambique to prize out a 2 ½ to 1 ½ win, their second tie in four matches.

Ibrahim defeat Lourenco Napolean while Al Taher outplayed Jamal Hamid Gulamo.

Veteran Othman Moussa drew with Donaldo Paiva, while Omran Al Hosan, a 20-year-old International Master, went down to Mateus Vasco.

Net up for the Emirati players is Kyrgyzstan, who like their opponents, have won two and lost two matches in the tournament, the largest ever Chess Olympiad which is being held at the South Indian holiday resort of Mahabalipuram in Chennai.

Meanwhile, top seeds the USA dropped their first points when they were held to a 2-2 draw by a stubborn Uzbekistan after 17-year-old chess prodigy Nodirbek Abdusattorov produced a cameo to defeat American-Italian Fabiano Luigi Caruana, the youngest Grandmaster in the history of both Italy and the United States at the time.

Abdusattorov, the reigning World Rapid Chess Champion who qualified for the Grandmaster title at the age of 13 years, served up the only win on Monday. As teammates, Nodirbek and Jakhongir Vakhidov drew their games against Levon Aronian and Sam Shankland respectively.

Wesley So, a Filipino-American Grandmaster, controlled the pieces effectively to beat Javokhir Sindarov of Uzbekistan. It was the second win for So in the Chess Olympiad following one draw and one loss.

The now retired Magnus Carlsen displayed flashes of the brilliance that saw him crowned world champion on five occasions, but it was not enough to secure victory for Norway, who was held to a 2-2 draw by Mongolia.

Carlsen, also a World Rapid Chess Champion and five-time World Blitz Champion dominated play against Dambasuren Balsuren to ensure that Norway would scrape to a tough draw against a dangerous rival in Mongolia.

Hosts India, the seeded second behind the USA, suffered a minor setback when they drew with France, while their second and third teams experienced mixed fortunes.

India 2 continued their strong form with a 3-1 victory over Italy while India C lost 2 ½ - 1 ½ to Spain.

The Indian women’s team also kept their slate clean when they compiled a 2 ½ - 1 ½ victory over Hungary despite top player Koneru Humpy being held to a draw by Vietnamese-born Hungarian chess Grandmaster.Hoang Thanh Trang

The biggest-ever Chess Olympiad features a record 188 teams in the open category and 162 teams in the women’s category all fighting for collective and individual medals.


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