Top-seed Fide Master (FM) Viktor Matviishen of Ukraine and Candidate Masters (CM) Omran Al Hosani and Sultan Al-Zaabi, the highest-rated Emirati players in the tournament, hurdled their first-round assignments on Wednesday as the rest of the top-seeded players took off to a winning start in the 14th Dubai Juniors Chess Tournament – Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.
A total of 110 players from 12 countries are taking part in the region’s premier annual competition for junior players aged 14-years-old and below. The tournament’s opening also coincided with the celebration of the International Chess Day and the 92nd founding anniversary of the International Chess Federation.
Sheikh Saud Bin Abdul Aziz Al Mualla, Chairman of the Sharjah Chess and Culture Club, Ibrahim Al Bannai, President of the Arab Chess Federation and Chairman of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club, and Ali Al Mutawa, Director of Corporate Resources at the Dubai Sports Council, made the ceremonial moves to officially open the tournament.
Matviishen defeated the UAE’s Saeed Al Nuaimi on board one, while seventh-seed Al Hosani and ninth-seed Al-Zaabi won over Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi and Khalid Abdullah Al Mazrouei respectively. Also winning their opening-round matches were second-seed Rahul Srivatshav P of India, third-seed FM Mohammad Fahad Rahman of Bangladesh, fourth-seed CM Ahmad Ahmadzada of Azerbaijan, fifth-seed Kazybek Umbetov of Kazakhstan, sixth-seed Aryan Ranjan of India, eighth-seed Eduard Hakobyan of Armenia and 10th-seed Jijo Joy of India.
Mohammad Husseini, Executive Director of the club and tournament coordinator, and Emirati International Arbiter (IA) Mahdi Abdul Rahim, led the players’ meeting earlier in the day to explain the tournament regulations, including the mechanisms implemented to prevent any form of cheating during the tournament.
“Dubai Juniors Chess Tournament has been recognised as an important training ground for some of the best young players in the world,” said Al Bannai. “Many of the participants in the past 14 years have become among the leading grandmasters of this generation, and we are therefore proud to have contributed to their success in the sport. With 110 top junior players from a dozen countries competing this year, Dubai Juniors continues to reaffirm its status as premier event for junior players from around the world.”
Al Banai also expressed his gratitude to Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for the strong support to the club and chess in general, as well as the Dubai Sports Council, which has been a key benefactor of club’s major activities, including the Dubai Open.
Al Banai said the tournament is part of the club’s efforts to promote the sport among the youth with players from different schools from all over the UAE taking part in the competition. He also revealed plans to organise a new edition of the Arab Junior Chess Championship.
Photo from Saeed Yousuf (Dubai Chess Club)