The grandmasters (GM) asserted their superiority after two rounds of play on Sunday’s the opening night of the Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament 2017 at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club. GM Salem Saleh, the third-seeded Emirati, defeated compatriot Ahmad Al Romaithi and India’s Ashwin R. in succession to join the early leaders of the rapid chess event, which has attracted 130 players from 25 countries.
Eight other grandmasters, including top-seed Bartosz Socko of Poland and second-seed Bassem Amin of Egypt, also have two points each heading into Monday night’s third and fourth rounds. The other grandmasters with perfect slates are Moldova’s Viorel Iordachescu, Egypt’s Ahmed Adly, Azerbaijan’s Elmar Magerramov, Spain’s Viktor Moskalenko, Serbia’s Igor Miladinovic and Cuba’s Walter Arencibia.
The host club’s mainstays, Fide Master (FM) Saeed Ishaq and International Master (IM) Ibrahim Sultan, also posted two points to grab a share of the leadership.
Dr. Sarhan Hassan Al Muaini, president of the UAE Chess Federation, officially opened the nine-round Swiss tournament accompanied by Ahmed Khalifa Al Thani, secretary-general of the Arab Chess Federation and vice-president of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club, and Jamal Al Abdoli, secretary-general of the club.
Al Muaini said the tournaments regularly hosted by Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, as well as those in Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, during Ramadan have contributed significantly in promoting the sport across the country. With grandmasters from all over the world competing in these events, he said local players are also able to gain valuable experience and insight. Al Muaini also commended the host Dubai Chess Club for it’s grassroots development program, which has produced top athletes such Ishaq and Sultan.
Al Muaini also announced various projects by the Federation, which will include new tournaments in different localities, and stronger collaboration with the various chess clubs in the emirates. He said one of the Federation’s goals is to bring the number of club’s in the country to 16, including new clubs for women.
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 tournament is played every day from 10:30 pm, with the awarding cereemony to be held after the final round on Thursday.
Each player is allotted 15 minutes plus a five-second increment per move to complete a game. The club has tapped 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.