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Russian Ulibin is champion

Russian Grand Master Mikhail Ulibin won the Masters Championship of the 12th Annual Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival as Abdullah Abbass Khory made history by becoming the first UAE national to win the Open Tournament.

Gulf News

Russian Grand Master Mikhail Ulibin won the Masters Championship of the 12th Annual Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival as Abdullah Abbass Khory made history by becoming the first UAE national to win the Open Tournament.

Top-seed Ulibin only needed a draw in his final game against compatriot Evgeny Gliezerov, the second seed, to secure victory.

But he then had to await a final decision from tournament organisers, the Abu Dhabi Chess and Culture Club and the Abu Dhabi Foundation, who resorted to the Swiss Tie Breaking System to decide the top three positions as three players - Ulibin, Gliezerov and Uzbekistan Grand Master Safin Shukharat - were all tied with 6.5 points each.

The second top table game between Shukharat and one-time tournament leader Grand Master Elmar Magerramov from Azerbaijan also resulted in a stalemate in the 9th and final round on Tuesday. A total of five players were tied in fourth place with six points each.

After breaking the ties, Magerramov finished fourth followed by GM Sergey Arkhipov of Russia, IM Esam Al Jindi of Egypt, GM Viktor Komliakov from Moldova and IM Vladimir Dobrov from Russia.

Abdullah Abbass followed up the success of his younger brother Ahmed in the Children's Tournament, to claim a second title for the Khory family.

Ahmed was crowned champion of the Children's Tournament on Monday. Abdullah drew his final match against top-seed and fellow UAE player Ali Mahmoud but claimed a crucial half point to secure victory. He finished on 7.5 points from eight rounds to Ali's 7 points.

"Since the start of the festival I felt sure that I can achieve a good result despite the tough competition I expected from more experienced players." Abdullah said after his triumph.

"I have great respect for Ali and I knew very well that I can't beat him easily. That was why I chose to adopt a balanced match to achieve a tie which was enough for me to win the title."

Abdullah praised the role played by his coach, Zuhair Ahmed who taught him the fine points of the game.

Ali, who is studying in the USA, said that he had arrived in the UAE only three days prior to the opening of the chess festival and as such had not enough time to practice.

"That was the main reason why I took part in the Open tournament instead of the Masters this year."Ali said.

"I was surprised with the strong performances of many unseeded players in the tournament who proved to be tough opponents which indicates that the game will witness great improvement in the near future.

"I really congratulate Abdulla for his title and I wish more luck to all the other UAE players who did not win this year."

Sudan's Ammar Mohammed Yousuf finished third after beating his countryman Hayder Mubarak.

Five players were tied for fourth place after breaking the ties. UAE's Saif Hassan finished fourth followed by Indian Abu Bakr Ali, Fahad Ahmed, Hussain Mohammed Hussain, both UAE and Lebanon's Abdo Simov.

India's Arjun Shankar won the Junior event while the UAE's Omar Abdul Wahab finished second.

Seven UAE juniors were tied in the third spot. After breaking the ties, Mohammed Ibrahim finished third followed by Ibrahim Mohammed Khory, Khalifa Khamis, Faisal Salih, Marwan Abdul Wahab and UAE women's player Nora Mohammed Salih.

The IMs praised the organisation and level of competition and promised to come back again next year.

"I have taken part in many international events in different countries but I would like to express my appreciation for the organisation and standards of competition in this festival. I will do my best efforts to come back against next year," Grand Master Gliezerov commented.

Indian International Master Prasad, who is a regular at the festival said: "Every year I see more and more improvement and excellence in the organisation of the event. I hope to come back against in 2003."

The winners were awarded their trophies and cash prizes at a prize presentation ceremony held at the Cultural Foundation.

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