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Howell and Akopian remain at the top of Dubai Chess Open 2016

Three-time British champion Grandmaster (GM) David Howell and two-time Armenian champion GM Vladimir Akopian remained the only players with perfect scores after registering emphatic wins in the fourth round of the  Dubai Open Chess Championship – Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

In matching his clean sweep of his first four games at last year’s edition, the fifth-seeded Howell fought off severe time pressure and an energetic attack by Spanish GM David Anton Guijarro to bring home the full point after 68 moves. Guijarro went all in against Howell’s French Defence with a knight sacrifice to open up the h-file and a pawn storm against the black fortress. Howell tried to create breathing space around his king by exchanging pawns on f5, but it only presented more options for Guijarro to continue the attack. After Howell returned the piece for an extra pawn, Guijarro had an opportunity to press further by lining up his queen and rook on the h-file, but the Spanish grandmaster decided instead to win the exchange and liquidate into an endgame.

A few more exchanges later, Guijarro was left with two rooks against Howell’s rook and bishop, but it was the Brit who gradually took over the driver’s seat as his two kingside passed pawns proved more than adequate against the active rooks. The game remained balanced though until Guijarro carelessly allowed the black king to penetrate the f4-square, after which Howell only had to slowly but surely roll his extra pawns to the finish line.

David Howell vs. David Anton Guijarro

David Howell vs. David Anton Guijarro

Howell also had a hot four-win streak at the start of last year’s championship, where he was the top-seed, but a succession of draws in the final half of the tournament and an inferior tiebreak relegated him to the runner-up spot in the final standings.

Akopian took the Russian GM Boris Savchenko to school in a Sicilian Moscow variation, winning a textbook game in 41 moves. The Armenian punished Savchenko’s adventurous queen foray deep into white’s queenside with a neat tactic that netted two pawns. Savchenko managed to upset white’s kingside pawns in return, but Akopian quickly neutralised Savchenko’s attempt to harass the white king and then went on to launch an irresistible counterattack in the centre to claim the win.

The game between Grandmasters Mustafa Yilaz and Gawain Jones ended in a draw

The game between Grandmasters Mustafa Yilmaz and Gawain Jones ended in a draw

The other third-round leaders – GM Gawain Jones of the UK, GM Yilmaz Mustafa of Tukey, GM Ivan Sokolov of the Netherlands, GM G. N. Gopal of India and GM Zaur Mammadov of Azerbaijan – drew their matches to join a huge chasing pack of 3.5-pointers. Jones and Mustafa played out a rook endgame for 94 moves – the round’s longest game – before signing a truce, while Sokolov and Gopal also drew their match. Mammadov halved the point with Egypt’s GM Bassem Amin.

UAE players

Meanwhile, tournament officials announced that UAE number one player GM Salem AR Saleh had to withdraw from the tournament due to health reasons. Saleh had been the leading scorer among the UAE entries with 2.5 points after three rounds.

His withdrawal leaves Fide Master (FM) Saeed Ishaq to lead the UAE campaign in the tournament. Looking to score a grandmaster norm in the event, Ishaq, however, suffered a setback in the fourth round after fumbling against Indian International Master Rathnakaran K. to stay at two points. FM Nabil Saleh won his match against Sudan’s Haitham Mahmoud to hike his tally to two points, while Candidate Master (CM) Nagueb Saleh has 1.5 points after dropping his game against Bangladesh’s GM Hossain Enamul.

2015 UAE champion FM Saeed Ishaq leads the UAE contingent

2015 UAE champion FM Saeed Ishaq leads the UAE contingent

The tournament has attracted nearly 200 players from nearly 37 countries, including 46 grandmasters, of which 24 are rated above 2600. There are also eight Woman Grandmasters (WGM) and 39 International Masters.

The tournament offers a total cash purse of US$50,000, with US$13,000 and the Rashid Bin Hamdan Cup going to the champion. The rest of the top 15 players will also receive cash prizes. There are also special awards for the top Arab and UAE players and to women players. A blitz tournament will be held today (April 15) with a total prize fund of US$4,000.

Standings after Round 4:

1 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2656 4
2 GM Howell David W L ENG 2678 4
3 GM Sokolov Ivan NED 2626 3.5
4 GM Gopal G.N. IND 2544 3.5
5 GM Yilmaz Mustafa TUR 2594 3.5
6 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2650 3.5
7 GM Adhiban B. IND 2663 3.5
8 IM Ali Marandi Cemil Can TUR 2473 3.5
9 GM Sethuraman S.P. IND 2658 3.5
10 GM Sengupta Deep IND 2554 3.5
11 IM Gagare Shardul IND 2491 3.5
12 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2648 3.5
13 GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2619 3.5
14 GM Mammadov Zaur AZE 2456 3.5
15 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2672 3
16 GM Safarli Eltaj AZE 2656 3
17 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2693 3
18 GM Anton Guijarro David ESP 2616 3
19 GM Amin Bassem EGY 2655 3
20 IM Aryan Chopra IND 2447 3
21 GM Savchenko Boris RUS 2607 3
22 IM Tabatabaei M.Amin IRI 2466 3
23 IM Ris Robert NED 2412 3
24 GM Ankit R. Rajpara IND 2491 3
25 GM Pantsulaia Levan GEO 2604 3
26 GM Mollah Abdullah Al Rakib BAN 2492 3
27 FM Mehar Chinna Reddy C.H. IND 2347 3
28 IM Rajesh V A V IND 2358 3
29 GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2585 3
30 IM Ezat Mohamed EGY 2467 3
31 GM Andriasian Zaven ARM 2616 3
32 GM Arun Prasad S. IND 2509 3
33 FM Gholami Aryan IRI 2429 3
34 GM Kostenko Petr KAZ 2450 3
35 FM Bisby Daniel L ENG 2275 3
36 GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2638 3
37 GM Antipov Mikhail Al. RUS 2562 3
38 IM Thejkumar M. S. IND 2427 3
39 Gusain Himal IND 2429 3
40 GM Ghosh Diptayan IND 2562 3
41 GM Arribas Lopez Angel ESP 2549 3
42 IM Karthikeyan P. IND 2463 3
43 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. IND 2466 3
44 GM Darini Pouria IRI 2496 3
45 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro CUB 2679 3
46 GM Haznedaroglu Kivanc TUR 2473 3
47 WIM Pratyusha Bodda IND 2318 3
48 IM Rathnakaran K. IND 2456 3
49 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2621 2.5
50 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. IND 2515 2.5
51 GM Cheparinov Ivan BUL 2695 2.5
52 IM Ly Moulthun AUS 2506 2.5
53 GM Korobov Anton UKR 2695 2.5
54 GM Mareco Sandro ARG 2625 2.5
55 IM Sanal Vahap TUR 2478 2.5
56 IM Karavade Eesha IND 2403 2.5
57 IM Di Berardino Diego Rafael BRA 2512 2.5
58 IM Nezad Husein Aziz QAT 2421 2.5
59 GM Stefanova Antoaneta BUL 2507 2.5
60 IM Das Arghyadip IND 2441 2.5
61 IM Gaponenko Inna UKR 2408 2.5
62 IM Akshat Khamparia IND 2362 2.5
63 FM Hafiz Arif Abdul INA 2326 2.5
64 WGM Saduakassova Dinara KAZ 2411 2.5
65 FM Samhouri A. JOR 2365 2.5
66 GM Mchedlishvili Mikheil GEO 2615 2.5
67 GM Debashis Das IND 2452 2.5
68 IM Kanter Eduard RUS 2368 2.5
69 WIM Thipsay Bagyashree Sathe IND 2085 2.5
70 GM Kovalenko Igor LAT 2662 2.5
71 GM Hossain Enamul BAN 2426 2.5
72 IM Pascua Haridas PHI 2427 2.5
73 IM Swayams Mishra IND 2463 2.5
74 CM Erigaisi Arjun IND 2350 2.5
75 IM Padmini Rout IND 2439 2.5
76 FM Bashirli Nail AZE 2381 2.5
77 WGM Kulkarni Bhakti IND 2284 2.5
78 GM Can Emre TUR 2555 2
79 IM Nomin-Erdene Davaademberel MGL 2490 2
80 Marcos Marvin PHI 2112 2
81 FM Anwuli Daniel NGR 2365 2
82 Rahul Srivatshav P IND 2352 2
83 Dimarucut Francis Erwin PHI 2122 2
84 FM Asadli Vugar AZE 2378 2
85 WGM Soumya Swaminathan IND 2358 2
86 FM Mohannad Farhan JOR 2239 2
87 IM Feldman Vladimir AUS 2154 2
88 IM Hesham Abdelrahman EGY 2390 2
89 Nyazi Nehad EGY 2242 2
90 GM Laxman R.R. IND 2406 2
91 FM Saeed Ishaq UAE 2286 2
92 Godarz Kasra IRI 2221 2
93 IM Nitin S. IND 2359 2
94 IM Kerigan Demre TUR 2358 2
95 Aradhya Garg IND 2287 2
96 WIM Ivana Maria Furtado IND 2091 2
97 IM Rohan Ahuja IND 2440 2
98 CM Prince Bajaj IND 2282 2
99 WGM Swati Ghate IND 2279 2
100 FM Saleh Nabil UAE 2229 2
101 FM Kuznetsov Mikhail V. RUS 2341 2
102 Rogoznikov Andrey RUS 2296 2
103 FM Srinath Rao S.V. IND 2233 2
104 WGM Mona Khaled EGY 2219 2
105 IM Lorparizangeneh Shahin IRI 2456 2
106 IM Mohammad Minhaz Uddin BAN 2439 2
107 Sameir Ramez EGY 2070 2
108 Harsha Bharathakoti IND 2319 2
109 IM Das Sayantan IND 2435 2
110 IM Krishna C R G IND 2404 2
111 IM Sultan Ibrahim UAE 2045 2
112 Odeh Kenneth NGR 2031 2
113 WGM Makropoulou Marina GRE 2176 2
114 Anilkumar O.T. IND 2080 2
115 FM Karthik V. Ap IND 2385 2
116 Elnemr Mohamed EGY 2107 2
117 Doostkam P IRI 2095 2
118 Salah Romany EGY 2090 2
119 IM Abou El Zein Eid Mahmoud EGY 2150 2
120 CM Mendonca Leon Luke IND 1760 2
121 Wang Shanshan CHN 2076 2
122 FM Nihal Sarin IND 2351 1.5
123 Muthaiah Al IND 2281 1.5
124 Kucuksari Kaan TUR 2125 1.5
125 CM Nadir Samir SUD 2190 1.5
126 Nimmy A.G. IND 2148 1.5
127 CM Drost Peter NED 2107 1.5
128 CM Saleh Nagueb UAE 2208 1.5
129 Ismayilzada Ismayil AZE 1858 1.5
130 Hemant Sharma (del) IND 2246 1.5
131 Arjun Adappa IND 1938 1.5
132 IM Berezina Irina AUS 2154 1.5
133 WGM Maisuradze Nino FRA 2268 1.5
134 IM Galojan Lilit ARM 2303 1.5
135 FM Yousry Salah EGY 2266 1.5
136 WIM Mammadova Narmin AZE 2204 1.5
137 Kaboodi Behrang IRI 2114 1.5
138 Ashraf Ahmed Ramadan EGY 1911 1.5
139 IM Fawzy Adham EGY 2475 1.5
140 Tabada Jobannie C. PHI 2234 1.5
141 Raahul V S IND 1927 1.5
142 Hakobyan Hovhannes H. ARM 2183 1.5
143 Nair Sanjeev IND 1832 1.5
144 Ababneh Ghayth JOR 2051 1.5
145 Fawwaz Mohammed IND 1468 1
146 Basil Alshouha JOR 2153 1
147 Ahmed Rashed Al Hefeti UAE 1550 1
148 FM Ahmed Fareed UAE 1995 1
149 FM Hamdan Marshool UAE 2003 1
150 Majed Ali Abdouli UAE 1657 1
151 Alem Ali Hussien KSA 1832 1
152 Anant Prabhudesai IND 1894 1
153 FM Elmejbri Ali A. LBA 2026 1
154 Rafee Mohd Hayel SYR 1938 1
155 WIM Heinemann Josefine GER 2259 1
156 Yap Ernesto M. PHI 2024 1
157 Mohamed Saeed Laily UAE 1519 1
158 Jijo Joy IND 1527 1
159 Mahmoud Haitham SUD 1958 1
160 Jaeel Atharva IND 1617 1
161 WFM Tarini Goyal IND 2008 1
162 Mursalli Matin AZE 1791 1
163 Ahmad Al Romaithi UAE 1681 1
164 AIM Khezrian Mohammad USA 1483 1
165 FM Mayed Alrashedi UAE 1977 1
166 Salem Ahmed Salem UAE 1725 1
167 Saif Ahmed UAE 1453 1
168 Ali Abdulaziz UAE 1910 1
169 Mohamed Marshool UAE 1662 1
170 Mosallam Mohammad UAE 1549 1
171 Al-Khelaifi Kholoud QAT 1496 1
172 Ghanem Al Shamari QAT 1544 1
173 Khaled Ahmed Y. UAE 1664 1
174 Danilo Reyes G. PHI 1618 1
175 Al Zaabi Talal UAE 1578 1
176 Hamad Essam UAE 1516 1
177 Elrashed Siddig SUD 1974 0.5
178 Basheer P V IND 1751 0.5
179 Hamad Ahmad Alkaabi UAE 1554 0.5
180 Pankaj Sindhu IND 1645 0.5
181 Abdulla Al-Hamed UAE 1871 0.5
182 Al Hamed Saif Idrees UAE 1649 0.5
183 CM Khalifah Khaled UAE 1532 0.5
184 FM Ammar Sedrani UAE 1701 0.5
185 GM Lalith Babu M R IND 2579 0
FM Bilguun Sumiya MGL 2379 0
IM Yandarbiev Ruslan RUS 2358 0
IM Purtseladze Maka GEO 2347 0
WGM Mammadzada Gunay AZE 2318 0
Almajbari Abdalla Ali LBA 1758 0
191 Khaled Shihadeh JOR 1528 0
192 Shahzad Asif PAK 1703 0
WCM Al-Khulaifi Ghada QAT 1683 0
194 WCM Al-Khelaifi Aisha QAT 1736 0
WFM Al-Khulaifi Fatima A. QAT 1617 0

 

 

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