Abu Dhabi: Egyptian Grand Master Amin Basem has clearly taken a liking for the UAE as he pocketed his second successive title after clinching Masters Tournament of the 24th Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival at Dusit Thani here on Tuesday.
Basem had won the annual Allegiance to Zayed Chess Tournament at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club last month and he started from where he had left. Ranked No 2 in this 10-day tournament comprising of 50 Grandmasters, Basem was simply on a roll.
The victory was sealed once he drew his last round game against top seed GM Nigel Short of England to finish with 7.5 points. After 45 moves the duo agreed for a draw after the game veered into Ruy Lopez Sicilian Opening variation. Short for his effort had to be content with second spot with seven points.
“It feels great to win in such a strong tournament. It was a very tough tournament as there were more than 50 Grandmasters, but I played very good chess here, good quality. I won six games, three draws, undefeated and to the sole winner of the tournament; feels great winning it,” said Basem adding that his crucial game was against Emirati ace Salem Saleh.
“The turning point of my campaign was the result against Saleh in round eight. After winning that game, I became the sole leader of the tournament, needing only a draw against Nigel Short, which I managed to get,” revealed Basem.
The third place was bagged by India’s 15-year-old prodigy Aryan Chopra, who became a Grandmaster last year. Chopra, ranked 35th in the tournament, registered a sensational win over 15th-ranked Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia for his commendable show to finish with 6.5 points, along with six others. However, the Indian teen’s lower rating helped him clinch the third spot, followed by local favourite and eighth-ranked GM Salem A.R. Salem, who drew his last round game against Rauf Mamedov of Azerbaijan.
In the Blitz tournament played simultaneously, where most of the players from the Masters participated, Serbian GM Aleksander Indjic walked away with the top honours accumulating 9.5 points. Iranian GM Alireza Firouzja and GM Shardul Gagare from India finished second and third respectively, with 9 points each.
In the final round, Aleksander got the better of Russian International Master Saveliy Golubov on the top board. The 15-year-old Golubov registered 8 wins out of the 11 games and drew one and lost two, including the last round. Elshad Abdullayev of Azerbaijan won the Open Category tournament with 8 points, ahead of Ketan Boricha of India and Babazada Khazar of Azerbaijan.
Top 10 finishers: Masters: 1. Amin Basem (Egypt, 7.5 points); 2. Nigel Short (England, 7 pts); 3. Aryan Chopra (India, 6.5 pts); 4. Salem A.R. Saleh (UAE, 6.5 pts); 5. Tsegmed Batchuluun (Mongolia, 6.5 pts); 6. Rauf Mamedov (Azerbaijan 6.5); 7. Anton Korobov (Ukraine, 6.5); 8. IM Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan, 6.5); 9. Parligras Mircea-Emilian (Romania 6.5); 10. IM Vignesh N R (India, 6 points).
Blitz: 1. GM Aleksandar Indjic (Serbia, 9.5 points); 2. IM Alireza Firouzja (Iran, 9 Points); 3. GM Shardul Gagare (India, 8.5 points); 4. GM Robert Hovhannisyan (Armenia, 8.5 points); 5. IM Saveliy Golubov (Russia, 8.5 points); 6. GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (Iran, 8.5 points); 7. GM Anton Korobov (Ukraine, 8.5 points); 8. IM Rishi Sardana (Australia, 8.5 points); 9. GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan (Armina, 8 points); 10. GM Levan Pantsulaia (Georgia), 8 points).
Open: 1. Elshad Abdullayev (Azerbaijan, 8 points); 2. Ketan Boricha (India, 7.5 points); 3. Khazar Babazada (Azerbaijan, 7.5 points); 4. Rocky Pabalan Rocky (Philippines, 7.5 points); 5. Nelman Lagutin (Philippines, 7.5 points); 6. Nikhil Magizhnan (India, 7 points); 7. Sultan Ebrahim (UAE, 7 points); 8. Ali Abdul Karim (UAE, 7 points); 9. Adnan Habib (Canada, 7 points); 10. Mohammad Dilshad (India, 7 points).