Rahman topples Srivatshav to take the lead with two rounds to go in the Maktoum Bin Hamdan Cup international Junior Chess Tournament
- Omran Al Hosani and Saeed Al Hosani score quick wins to keep UAE’s hopes alive
Top 15 standings after round 7
1 FM Mohammad Fahad Rahman BAN 2157 6.5
2 Rahul Srivatshav P IND 2273 6
3 FM Matviishen Viktor UKR 2390 6
4 CM Ahmadzada Ahmad AZE 2099 5.5
5 Umbetov Kazybek KAZ 2002 5.5
6 Hakobyan Eduard ARM 1753 5.5
7 Aryan Ranjan IND 1836 5.5
8 Al Hosani Saeed UAE 1550 5.5
9 CM Al Hosani Omran UAE 1821 5.5
10 Singh Gurmeher IND 1401 5.5
11 Kocharyan Hayk ARM 1573 5.5
12 CM Al-Zaabi Sultan UAE 1674 5
13 Al Darmaky Sultan UAE 1500 5
14 Khalifa Essa Albalooshi UAE 1178 5
15 Sultan Amer UAE 1233 5
16 Yatrik Pratihar IND 1282 5
17 Johary Rishabh IND 0 5
18 Shamsa Amer UAE 1080 5
Third-seed Fide Master (FM) Mohammad Fahad Rahman of Bangladesh unleashed a daring queen sacrifice to defeat erstwhile solo leader Rahul Srivatshav P of India and propel himself to the pole position after Sunday’s seventh round of the 14th Dubai Juniors Chess Tournament – Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.
Rahman leads the tournament with 6.5 points, half a point ahead of the second-seeded Srivatshav and Ukrainian top-seed FM Viktor Matviishen, who prevailed over the UAE’s Candidate Master (CM) Sultan Al-Zaabi.
Eight players are bunched at joint third with 5.5 points each, including CM Omran Al Hosani and Saeed Al Hosani, who currently set the pace among Emirati players.
After exchanging most of the minor pieces, Rahman and Srivatshav were each left with a pair of rooks, queen and opposite-coloured bishops in a roughly equal endgame wherein the Indian’s more active major pieces compensated for his weakened queenside pawn structure.
Srivatshav decided to enter a forced line with 25…Rxd4 that would win Rahman’s queen for two rooks, but the Bangladeshi’s more active pieces and secure king proved decisive. Rahman’s two rooks eventually invaded the Indian’s weakened back rank and threatened to win more material, forcing Srivatshav to resign on the 42nd move.
Al-Zaabi and Matviishen contested a Queen’s Gambit Declined wherein the Emirati maintained parity with the black pieces until a tactical oversight on the 24th move allowed the Ukrainian to dominate the queenside with his two rooks and create a powerful passed pawn in the a-file. The loss dropped Al-Zaabi to a share of fourth place with five points.
Al Hosani Omran and Saeed Al Hosani moved up the standings after beating India’s Mohammed Fawwaaz and Ranjan Arya respectively. Al Hosani Omran dismantled Fawwaaz’s King’s Indian Defence in just 25 moves, while Saeed Al Hosani launched an energetic attack to checkmate Arya on the 27th move.
Other players with 5.5 points are fourth-seed CM Ahmad Ahmadzada of Azerbaijan and fifth-seed Kazybek Umbetov of Kazakhstan, who drew their seventh-round encounter, eighth-seed Eduard Hakobyan of Armenia, who outplayed the UK’s Gurveen Kapoor, India’s Ranjan Aryan, who beat compatriot Atharv Naik, Singh Gurmeher, who won another all-Indian encounter with Jijo Joy, and Armenia’s Kocharyan Hayk, who defeated the UAE’s Ebrahim Ahmed Ebrahim.
The penultimate eighth round will be played Monday at 5:30pm, while the final round will be on Tuesday at 10am. Rahman will protect his lead against Matviishen in the eighth-round top-board match-up, while Srivatshav will go up against Ahmadzada on second board. Saeed Al Hosani will be up against Umbetov, while Al Hosani Omran will face Hakobyan.
A total of 110 players from 12 countries are taking part in the nine-round Swiss system tournament, which offers a total prize fund of US$10,000, with US$2,000 and the Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup going to the champion. The top 10 winners of the tournament will receive cash prizes, along with the best Emirati and Dubai Chess Club players.
The tournament allocates a thinking time of 90 minutes plus a 30-second increment for each move. Games are also transmitted live at the club’s website and major international chess sites.