Dubai: Four grandmasters and three others share the lead after four rounds of action in the 14th edition Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.
Top-seed Grandmaster (GM) Salem A. R. Saleh of the UAE, second-seed GM Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova, third-seed GM Elmar Magerramov of Azerbaijan and fourth-seed GM Viktor Moskalenko of Spain won both their matches Saturday night to maintain perfects slates entering Sunday night’s fifth and sixth-round games.
Also with four points are sixth-seed International Master (IM) Kamel Nijli of Tunisia, seventh-seed IM Fouad El Taher of Egypt and eighth-seed Talal Hilwani of Syria.
Cuban fifth-seed GM Walter Arencibia sits alone within striking distance of the leaders with 3.5 points after he was derailed with a draw in the third round by 20th-seed Noli Delloro of the Philippines.
A big group of 23 players occupy joint third place with three points each, including ninth-seed Fide Master (FM) Saeed Ishaq of the UAE and 11th-seed Woman International Master (WIM) Ljilja Drljevic of Serbia.
Ibrahim Al Bannai, president of the Arab Chess Federation and president of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club, said the rapid chess tournament has enjoyed a strong turnout with 126 players from 19 countries competing.
He said the club plans to further expand and improve the succeeding editions of the tournament, including its prize fund, as part of efforts to create greater awareness about the sport in the emirate.
Organised yearly as a tribute to the late UAE President His Highness Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the tournament will run until Tuesday with two games on each playdate starting at 10:30pm.
The rapid chess competition allots each player 15 minutes plus a five-second increment on each move to complete a game.