Despite closing out the tournament with back-to-back draws, Grandmaster (GM) Bassem Amin of Egypt piled just enough points to win a second consecutive title in the annual Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.
The defending champion won seven straight games before settling for draws in the eighth and ninth rounds with fellow grandmasters Voirel Iordachescu of Moldova and Viktor Moskalenko of Spain to rule the rapid tournament with eight points.
Amin, the tournament’s second-seed and Egypt’s number one player, received the Dh3,000 cash prize and championship cup from Ahmed Khalifa Al Thani, secretary general of the Arab Chess Federation and vice-chairman of the Dubai Chess Club, Jamal Al Abdooli, secretary general of the club, and Issa Lotfi, the club’s financial director.
Iordachescu, seeded fourth, matched Amin’s score with a big win over top-seed GM Bartosz Socko of Poland in the final round, but he had to settle for the runner-up spot with an inferior tiebreak score. Moskalenko settled for third with 7.5 points.
Despite his overwhelming performance, Amin admitted having to endure difficulties in some games, including his match against Emirati sensation Fide Master (FM) Ammar Sedrani, whom he eventually outplayed in the fifth round.