In a much-awaited battle between the two of the highest-rated players of the tournament, second-seed Grandmaster (GM) Bassem Amin of Egypt defeated top-seed GM Bartosz Socko of Poland in the sixth round on Tuesday night to grab the solo leadership in the Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament 2017 at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club. Amin remains the only player with a perfect score of six points, while two other grandmasters closely trail him with 5.5 points.
The Egyptian earlier defeated Fide Master (FM) Sedrani Ammar in the fifth round, ending the 13-year-old Emirati’s surprise run to the top spot of the tournament. Ammar, however, immediately regained his bearings as he defeated Spain’s FM Javier Fidalgo Fernandez to move to joint third place with five points.
At joint second place are GM Igor Miladinovic of Serbia and GM Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova. Miladinovic, who drew his fifth-round match with Socko, defeated Cuba’s GM Walter Arencibia in the sixth round, while Iordachescu posted wins over Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Adriana Nikolova of Bulgaria and GM Ahmed Adly of Egypt in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Sharing third place with Ammar are fellow Emiratis GM Salem Saleh, who outplayed Syria’s Abdul Kader Rayes, and International Master (IM) Omar Noaman, who defeated Franklin Alterado of the Philippines. Also with five points are GM Elmar Magerramov of Azerbaijan, GM Viktor Moskalenko of Spain, IM Mohamed Tissir of Morocco, FM Sohib Okla of Syria and Ravshan Khamroev of Uzbekistan.
Amin will try to maintain his hold of the lead when he faces Miladinovic in the seventh round on Wednesday night. The eighth round will also be played Wednesday night, while the final round and awarding ceremony will be on Thursday.
Other Ramadan activities
Meanwhile Jamal Al Abdooli, secretary-general of the Dubai Chess Club, said the club is also organising other activities during Ramadan, including a billiards tournament and a Fifa 2014 PS4 competition to be held at the club’s Checkmate Cafe. There will also be a team chess tournament on June 8-9.
Building on the momentum of the club’s fiery exploits this year, which include a sweep of the women’s and men’s titles in the UAE Team Championships and the UAE Individual Rapid Championships, Al Abdooli also revealed that the club will open more chess centres across the emirate this year.
The nine-round rapid chess tournament, which has attracted 130 players from 25 countries, holds two games each playing day from 10:30pm. Each player is allotted 15 minutes plus a five-second increment per move to complete a game.
The tournament will award a total of Dh14,000 in prizes to the top 10 finishers and the special awardees. The champion will receive Dh3,000 and the championship cup.
Overseeing the tournament are International Arbiter (IA) Saeed Shakari as tournament director with IA Mahdi Abdul Rahim as chief arbiter, assisted by IA Jamal Qasim, National Arbiter (NA) Moheb Serag El Din, NA Mohammad Al Halak and NA Majed Ali Abdouli.