Dubai’s Saeed Ishaq crowned UAE chess champion 2015

Ishaq and Nabil Saleh complete one-two sweep by Dubai at the UAE National Men’s Chess Championship

Dubai, UAE (September 14, 2015) – Fide Master (FM) Saeed Ishaq crowned himself the new UAE chess champion as he led a dominating finish by players from host Dubai Chess and Culture Club at this year’s UAE National Men’s Chess Championship, which concluded Sunday.

Ishaq, the tournament second-seed who has put together an inspired comeback in the UAE chess circuit after a brief hiatus to complete his engineering studies in the USA, scored seven points from nine games to secure the coveted title. Entering the last round protecting a half-point lead over his nearest pursuers, Ishaq drew his final assignment with fellow Dubai mainstay FM Nabil Saleh to seal the championship.

The championship adds to the impressive collection of titles Ishaq has already won this year, including a gold medal at the UAE Blitz Chess Championship. Ishaq also had a solid finish at the Arab Elite Chess Championship – Kirsan Ilyumzhinov Cup hosted by Dubai in June and July, coming in fifth behind some of the region’s finest grandmasters.

Saleh, the tournament top-seed, joined Ishaq at the podium with the silver medal. Saleh had 6.5 points after the final round to join a five-way logjam, but he had the best tiebreak points to claim the runner-up prize. Abu Dhabi’s FM Ahmed Abbas Khouri sneaked into the top three with the second-highest tiebreak among 6.5-pointers, while Sharjah’s Ali Abdulkarim, Ajman’s Marshool Hamdan and Abu Dhabi’s Ibrahim Mohamed Khouri occupied the fourth to sixth places.

Hamdan and Ibrahim Khouri drew their final-round tussle on second board, while Ahmed Khouri and Abdulkarim defeated Sharjah’s Walid Anwar and Dubai’s Salem Ahmed Salem respectively.

Dubai players Ali Faisal, Ahmed Fareed and Sultan Fareed took the seventh to ninth places respectively with six points apiece, while Sharjah’s Mosallam Mohammad completed the top 10 with 5.5 points. A total of 44 players vied for the coveted national men’s title this year.

“It has been a very productive year for Dubai Chess Club as we are seeing the results of our extensive training and player development program,” said Najib Saleh, Technical Director. “We are confident that the new milestone achieved by Saeed Ishaq will serve as a springboard for him to pursue his dream of becoming the next international grandmaster of the UAE and also inspire a new generation of young Emirati chess players.”

The dominating performance of Ishaq and Saleh at the national championship sustains the series of successful campaigns by Dubai Chess Club in national and international competitions this year. FM Sultan Ibrahim claimed the first major international silverware for the club this year when the UAE’s top junior player won the gold medal in the Under-18 category of the Arab Age Group Championships. Ahmed Fareed took the bronze in the Under-16.

A youthful Dubai team also won individual gold and silver medals at the Asian Cities Chess Championship – Dubai Cup held in Sri Lanka, while Dubai’s top lady chess player Woman International Master Amna Nouman led Dubai to the gold medal in the UAE National Women’s Team Championship.

Ishaq and Saleh were also part of a victorious Dubai squad along with FM Othman Moussa, Najib Saleh and Suhail Tayyib that won the gold medal at the UAE Rapid Team Championship. Moussa was also crowned champion at this year’s UAE Rapid Chess Championship.