Dubai: The Emirati top-seed Grandmaster (GM) Salem Saleh and Moldovan second-seed GM Viorel Iordachescu shared the lead after defeating their respective titled rivals in Sunday night’s sixth round of the 14th Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.
Saleh won over Tunisian International Master (IM) Kamel Njili, while Iordachescu outplayed GM Walter Arencibia of Cuba as both winners posted 5.5 points to set up an all-grandmaster match-up in the seventh round on Monday night.
Both leaders also drew their respective fifth-round games, with Saleh halving the point with Spain’s GM Viktor Moskalenko and Iordachescu settling for the same result with Egypt’s IM Fouad El Taher.
Njili outplayed third-seed GM Elmar Magerramov of Azerbaijan in the fifth round to briefly grab the solo leadership before he was brought down by Saleh in the next round.
Njili dropped to a share of second place with eighth others with five points each. Moskalenko and Fouad, who drew their match in the sixth round, also have five points along with Magerramov, who rebounded from the fifth-round loss with a win over the Philippines’ Franz Barretto, the UAE’s Fide Master (FM) Saeed Ishaq, who won over the Philippines’ Jobannie Tabada, and Woman International Master (WIM) Ljilja Drljevic, winner over India’s Mohammed Shereef.
Others with five points are Talal Hilwani, who defeated his Syrian compatriot FM Sohib Okla, and the Philippines’ Dennis San Juan and Roberto Carandang, who won their matches against the UAE’s Sultan Al Darmaky and Filipino Noli Delloro respectively.
The seventh and eighth rounds will be Monday night, while the final round will be on Tuesday night. Some 126 players from 19 countries are competing for the top 10 places, who will receive cash prizes, along with the top Emirati and Dubai Chess Club players.
The rapid chess tournament, which is a yearly tribute to the late UAE President His Highness Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, is one of the events organised by the club during Ramadan. The club will also host a team blitz tournament from May 28 to 29.