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Chess: Babazada maintains perfect performance in Dubai

UAE’s Essam Hamad and Jaber Soud still in the hunt for the championship

Image Credit: Supplied
Some 140 young players from 18 countries are competing in the annual chess tournament

Dubai: Azerbaijan’s Khazar Babazada picked back-to-back wins in Saturday’s double round to remain the only player with a perfect score after six rounds in the Dubai Juniors Chess Tournament at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

The third-seeded Babazada dispatched India’s 34th-seed Vishal Choudary in the morning and then defeated ninth-seed Raji Sayel Abu Azizah of Palestine in the evening to up his tally to six points, half a point ahead of the tournament’s two highest-rated players.

Fide Masters (FM) Sadhwani Raunak, the top-seed from India, and Ahmad Ahmadzada, the third-seed from Azerbaijan, dropped to joint second place with 5.5 points apiece are halving the point in their sixth-round encounter.

Raunak earlier defeated fourth-seed Eduard Hakobyan of Armenia in the fifth round, while Ahmadzada beat fifth-seed compatriot Farid Mustafayev.

Babazada aims to preserve his precarious lead as he faces Ahmadzada in an all-Azerbaijani match on first board in Sunday night’s seventh round.

Raunak will take on Ismail Khalel Tariq, the 11th-seed from Iraq who has five points and also remains unbeaten with four wins and two draws.

Eight players are at joint third with five points, including the UAE’s seventh-seed Essam Hamad and 15th-seed Jaber Soud, who won both their respective matches on Saturday.

Hamad outplayed compatriot Abdalla Yahya Alhammadi and Abu Azizah, while Soud prevailed over fellow Emirati players Eisa Mohmood Alkhoori and Mesfer Al Mesafri.

Other players with five points are Hakobyan, Mustafayev, Choudary 13th-seed Aziz Salaev of Uzbekistan and 19th-seed Hadimani Anoop.

Sunday night’s top-board matches will also feature Salaev versus Hakobyan, Mustafayev vs Choudary, Hamad vs Hadimani and Soud against 10th-seed compatriot Abdulrahman Mohammad Al Taher, who leads a group of six players with 4.5 points each.

Some 140 youth players from 18 countries are competing in the nine-round tournament, which is open to players aged 14 and under.

A total cash purse of $10,000 is up for grabs with the top 10 finishers taking home cash prizes, along with the top UAE players.

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