Second round of the 17th Dubai Open Chess Championship – Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup saw most of the grandmasters and international masters pitted against each other. English Grandmaster (GM) David Howell maintained a clean slate as he led the second-round winners of the 17th Dubai Open Chess Tournament – Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup Dubai Chess and Culture Club last Tuesday (April 7, 2015). Howell defeated Indian International Master (IM) Sayantan Das in a round that saw most of the titled players playing against each other.
Second-seed GM Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia likewise scored a second win at the expense of Egyptian IM Imed Abdelnabbi. GM Igor Kovalenko of Latvia and GM Tigran L. Petrosian of Armenia, the third and fourth seeds, were however held to a draw by IM Amirreza Pourramezanali of Iran and IM Manuel Petrosyan of Armenia, respectively.
There were no big upsets as seen in the first round, but teenage Fide Master (FM) Nail Bashirli of Turkish created a stir when he built a winning advantage against GM Alexander Shabalov only to allow the American player to escape with a draw. Woman Grandmaster Nino Maisuradze, ranked 74th, on the other hand, won over GM 33rd seed GM Arun Prasad of India.
The heroes of the first round failed to maintain their momentum as the host club’s FM Saeed Ishaq, who earlier felled ninth-seed GM Eltaj Sarli of Azerbaijan, dropped his match against Iran’s GM Pouya Idani, while Abdullah Al Hamed, the 137th-ranked Emirati player who surprised Azerbaijan WGM Gunay Mammadzada in the first round, lost to Armenia’s GM Hovik Hayrapetyan.
India’s Mokal Amruta Sunil, winner over Italian GM Daniele Vocaturo, conceded a loss to Azerbaijan’s IM Zaur Mammadov, while the Philippines’ Jobannie C. Tabada, who upset fifth-seed Yuriy Kuzubov of Azerbaijan in round one, lost to India’s IM Murali Karthikeyan.
Egypt’s IM Mohammed Ezat joined the leaders with a second straight win, beating Russia’s Mikhail Kuznetsov, while Moroccan IM Tissir Mohamed lost to Azerbaijan’s GM Gadir Guseinov. Jordan’s FM Farhan Mohannad bounced back with a win over UAE junior player Ali Rashid Ali, and Sudan’s Candidate Master Samir Nadir won over unseeded Ahmad Saadah of Jordan. FM Nabil Saleh of Dubai failed to sustain his momentum, conceding to American GM Jaan Ehlvest.
The Dubai Open Chess Championship – Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup offers a total cash purse of US$50,000 to the winners, with US$12,000 going to the champion. The club will also host a blitz chess tournament on Friday with a total prize fund of US$4,000.
The tournament is a nine-round Swiss system event with each player allotted 90 minutes plus a 30-second increment for each move to complete a game. The event is being managed by Tournament Director Yahya Mohammed Saleh and International Arbiter (IA) Mahdi Abdul Rahim, the chief arbiter, and assisted by deputy chief arbiter IA Saeed Yousuf Shakari, IA Jamal Qasim, IA Sheikha Ali Rashid, IA Walid Abu Obeid and IA Marcel Augusto.