The curtains came down on the 17th Dubai Open Chess Tournament with Turkey’s Grandmaster (GM) Dragan Solak receiving the Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup during Wednesday night’s awarding ceremony at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club. Solak, a Serbian who now represents Turkey, scored seven points and edged out five other players, including the top two seeds, on tiebreaks to claim the championship.
The prizes were awarded by Dr. Aysha Al Busmait, representative of the Dubai Sports Council, Ibrahim Al Bannai, President of the Arab Chess Federation and Chairman of Dubai Chess and Culture Club, Saeed Al Muqbali, President of the UAE Chess Federation, and Ahmed Khalifa Al Thani, Vice President of Dubai Chess and Culture Club. Al Bannai also gave a special token of appreciation to Richard Collins, General Manager of JW Marriott Hotel, which was the official hotel of the tournament.
More than 150 players from 39 countries competed in nine-round Swiss system event over nine days. Top-seed GM David Howell of England and second-seed GM Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia also had seven points but had inferior tiebreak scores to settle for second and third respectively. GM Andrei Istratescu of France, GM Ivan Ivanisevic of Serbia and GM Eltaj Safarli of Azerbaijan also had seven points and occupied the fourth to sixth places in that order.
The rest of the top 15 scorers also received cash prizes: GM Shabalov Alexander USA, GM Nils Grandelius of Sweden, International Master (IM) Zaur Mammadov of Azerbaijan, GM Alexandr Fier of Brazil, GM Aleksandr Shimanov of Russia, GM Aleksandr Rakhmanov of Russia, GM Gadir Guseinov of Azerbaijan, GM Igor Kovalenko of Latvia, and Yuri GM Solodovnichenko of Ukraine.
Special Awards to Emiraties
The tournament also had special awards to the top Emiratis, with ace junior Ahmed Fareed taking the top prize with five points, followed by Fide Master (FM) Saeed Ishaq with 4.5 points and Ajman’s Hamdan Marshool with four points. The top three Dubai players were FM Sultan Ibrahim, FM Nabil Saleh and up-and-coming Faisal Ali.
Top Ladies Category
IM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman from India topped the ladies’ category with 5.5 points, edging out Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Gunay Mammadzada from Azerbaijan on tiebreak. IM Eesha Karavade of India was third with five points.
Top Arab Players
The awards for the top Arab players went to Egyptian players IM Mohamed Ezat, IM Imed Abdelnabbi and FM Yousry Salah.
Best performance for under-2300 rating
The top player in the under-2300 rating category was Deshpande Aniruddha from India, followed by Rajarishi Karthi also of India and Iran’s Soozankar.
A New Grand Master
Five players also secured norms during the tournament. IM Zaur Mammadov of Azerbaijan got his Final GM norm and became a new Grand Master, while India’s Vignesh Nr, Abishek Kelkar and Deshpande Aniruddha received IM norms. Wang Shanshan secured a Woman International Master (WIM) norm.
The tournament is a nine-round Swiss system event with each player allotted 90 minutes plus a 30-second increment for each move to complete a game. The event is organized annually since 1999 under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the Honorary President of Dubai Chess Club. The 17th version of Dubai Open Chess Tournament has been managed by tournament director Yahya Mohammed Saleh and International Arbiter (IA) Mahdi Abdul Rahim, the chief arbiter, and assisted by deputy chief arbiter IA Saeed Yousuf Shakari, IA Jamal Qasim, IA Sheikha Ali Rashid, IA Walid Abu Obeid and IA Augusto Marcial.