Dubai: Grand Master (GM) Salem Saleh completed his unbeaten run with a victory over Egypt’s International Master (IM) Fouad El Taher in Tuesday night’s final round to rule the Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.
The win upped Saleh’s tally to eight points in claiming his second title of the annual tournament organised as tribute to the late UAE President His Highness Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Saleh, who first won the event in 2015, dismantled El Taher’s King’s Indian Defence by gradually breaking through in the queenside, grabbing a pawn and then converting into a winning endgame.
The Emirati received Dh3,000 and the championship cup during the awarding ceremony after the final-round games.
Spain’s GM Viktor Moskalenko, who shared the lead with Saleh and El Taher going into the final round, settled for a draw with Cuba’s GM Walter Arencibia to end up with 7.5 points and secure the solo second place.
El Taher got stuck with seven points in a tie with six others.
He was relegated to fourth place after the tiebreaks were applied, with Moldova’s GM Viorel Iordachescu, who defeated Azerbaijan’s GM Elmar Magerramov, securing third place.
Placing fifth to ninth also with seven points are Fide Master (FM) Saeed Ishaq, who defeated Filipino Dennis San Juan, Arencibia, Filipino Franz Barretto, who won over Tunisia’s IM Kamel Njili, Serbia’s Woman International Master (WIM) Ljilja Drljevic, who defeated the Philippines’ Roberto Carandang, and Filipino Joseph Rombaua, who outplayed Syria’s Talal Hilwani.
Magerramov had 6.5 points and edged out Abdul Kader Rayes of Syria and Reynaldo Gempero of the Philippines on tiebreaks for the 10th place. The top 10 placers received cash prizes from the organisers.
The special prizes for best UAE players were awarded to Omran Alhosani (male) and Wadima Alkalbani (female), while the best Dubai players were Ali Abdulaziz (male) and Yassmin Ali (female).
Some 126 players from 19 countries took part in the nine-round rapid chess tournament. The club will next host a blitz team tournament on May 28-29 as part of ongoing activities during Ramadan.