Candidate Master Najib Saleh (right) of Dubai against Mohammad Altaher of Sharjah in a first-round match. The game ended in a draw. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai Chess and Culture Club won a clean sweep of the UAE Men’s and Women’s Team Championships for the second year running after fashioning out convincing wins in the final round over the weekend.

The men’s side shut out Al Ain Culture and Chess Club, 4-0, to claim the title with seven match points, while the women’s team outplayed Sharjah Chess and Culture Club, 3-1, to rule with 10 match points.

Ibrahim Al Bannai, chairman of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club, said the teams have dedicated the impressive back-to-back championships to Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, who has been a key benefactor of Dubai’s top chess players.

While it was another powerful finish amid strong competition from the other clubs, Al Bannai said there is still plenty of room for improvement for the mostly youthful team.

International Masters (IM) Saeed Ishaq and Sultan Ibrahim defeated Hareb Nasser Hareb Alshamsi and Hamad Naseer Al Shamsi on the men’s first two boards, while Fide Master (FM) Ahmed Fareed and Salem Ahmed Salem outplayed Ali Hamdan Alsheraifi and Ahmad Saleh Alzarouni on the other two boards to complete the sweep.

Women's team

Woman International Master (WIM) Amna Nouman led the women’s team after defeating Aisha Saif Al Ali on first board, while Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Bashaer Khalil and Mariam Essa won over Hanan Khalil and Rayan Mohammad Ali Hassan on boards two and three. Sharjah’s WCM Fatima Saif Al-Ali defeated Yasmin Ali to prevent a shutout.

Candidate Master (CM) Najib Saleh, technical director of Dubai Chess Club who also suited up for the team, credited the coaching and administrative staff for keeping the players in match condition throughout the tournament, particularly during the final round where the both teams scored clutch wins that ensured the championship.

While completing a rare championship sweep was special, both teams also did it without conceding a single defeat to any of the other competing clubs, according to Ahmed Khalifa Al-Thani, vice-president of Dubai Chess Club. “The players have displayed admirable resilience and exceptional team effort in realising their ultimate goal,” he said.

Other members of the Dubai team are Ali Abdel Aziz for the men’s side and Shaima Noman El Ali for the women’s side.

Sharjah Chess and Culture Club could only muster a 2-2 deadlock with Abu Dhabi Chess and Culture Club to finish with six points at second place in the men’s side.

Fujairah, which took a bye in the final round, was third with four points, while Abu Dhabi and Al Ain finished fourth and fifth respectively.

In the women’s championship, Al Ain scored a 3.5-.0.5 victory over Abu Dhabi to propel itself to second place with eight points, while Sharjah and Abu Dhabi ended up at third and fourth.

The tournament featured the UAE’s top chess players and was organised by the UAE Chess Federation in cooperation with the different state-sponsored clubs: Abu Dhabi Chess and Culture Club, Al Ain Culture and Chess Club, Dubai Chess and Culture Club, Sharjah Chess Cultural Club and Fujairah Chess and Culture Club.