Grandmaster (GM) Bassem Amin of Egypt held on to the lead after picking up 1.5 points from two games Wednesday night in the Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament 2017 at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club. The second-seeded Egyptian scored his seventh straight win after defeating GM Igor Miladinovic of Serbia in the seventh round before settling for a draw with GM Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova in the eighth round.
Amin maintains a precarious half-point edge over Iordachescu and Spain’s GM Viktor Moskalenko, who will face the Egyptian in Thursday night’s final round. Moskalenko scored wins over Ravshan Khamroev of Uzbekistan and Fide Master (FM) Sohib Okla of Syria in the seventh and eighth rounds respectively.
A large group of players share third place with six points each, including top-seed GM Bartosz Socko of Poland and GM Salem Saleh, the third-seed and UAE number one player. Socko outplayed Woman International Master (WIM) Ljilja Drljevic in the seventh round and drew with GM Elmar Magerramov of Azerbaijan in the eighth. Saleh was taken down by Iordachescu in the seventh round, but rebounded with a win over Jobannie Tabada of the Philippines in the eighth round.
Also with six points are Miladinovic, Okla, Magerramov, Khamroev, GM Ahmed Adly of Egypt, GM Walter Arencibia of Cuba, IM Omar Noaman of the UAE, IM Veselin Pantev of Bulgaria, FM Javier Fernandez of Spain, IM Mohamed Tissir of Morocco, Franz Barretto of the Philippines and Hilwani Talal of Syria.
FM Ammar Sedrani, the 13-year-old Emirati who captivated chess fans with his impressive wins over much higher-rated players in the first half of the tournament, suffered a major setback after losing twice Wednesday to Adly and Khamroev.
The final round of the nine-round rapid chess event will be played Thursday from 10:30pm to be followed by the awarding ceremony. 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.
The 14th edition of the annual Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament has attracted more than 130 players from 25 countries. The tournament allots a thinking time of 15 minutes plus a five-second increment per move to complete a game.
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.