Dubai: Grandmaster (GM) Salem A. R. Saleh won both his games to lead 30 other players with perfect scores after Friday’s first day of competition in the 14th edition of the Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.
Saleh, the UAE number one and the tournament’s highest-rated player, defeated Egypt’s George Samir in the first round and outplayed compatriot Ali Rashid Ali in the second round to log two points after two rounds in the nine-round Swiss system tournament.
The four other grandmasters taking part in the tournament - Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova, Elmar Magerramov of Azerbaijan, Viktor Moskalenko of Spain and Walter Arencibia of Cuba - also posted two points each to join Saleh in the lead.
The third and fourth-round matches will be played Saturday night. Some 126 players from 19 countries are competing in the tournament, which is organised yearly as a tribute to the late UAE President His Highness Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and also serves as one of the activities organised by the club during Ramadan.
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.