Sheikh Saud hails success of Peace for Beirut C’ship - GulfToday

Sheikh Saud hails success of Peace for Beirut C’ship

Peace for Beirut Chess Championship

Sheikh Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Mualla lauded the success of Peace for Beirut Chess Championship won by UAE Grandmaster Salem Abdul Rahman Saleh.

UAE Grandmaster Salem Abdul Rahman Saleh and Qatari Grandmaster Zhu Chen were crowned men’s and women’s champions respectively at the ‘Peace for Beirut’ Chess Championship held at the Sharjah Chess and Cultural Club.

Organised by the Arab Chess Federation, the tournament saw the participation of over 1,000 male and female chess players representing 21 Arab countries. Carrying a prize purse of $9,000, the championship, which was played online in view of the need to adhere to safety protocols during the current COVID-19 pandemic, was conducted in four stages to accommodate its huge player turnout.

Sheikh Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Mualla, President of the Arab Chess Federation, said: “The tournament succeeded in highlighting the right of the people in Beirut to live in peace in the aftermath of the recent catastrophic explosion that killed at least 171 people and left over 6,000 injured and some 300,000 homeless and dozens of others still missing.

“The success of the tournament can be considred as a fruit of the campaign called by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, President of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and President of the Big Heart Foundation, and wife of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

“The Arab Chess Federation organised this tournament in support of and in solidarity with or brothers in Lebanon and to provide all forms of material and moral support to our brothers in the Lebanese Chess Federation,” Mualla said.

The President of the Arab Chess Federation added that the decision to hold the tournament in several stages was to attract as much participation by players of all age groups and to motivate them with prizes for players.

The response was unprecedented, with the tournament seeing  tremendous participation at all levels, including invitations to take part being accepted by 10 Grandmasters and 14 International Masters – the highest witnessed throughout the history of Arab chess.

The results of the championship were as follows: - In the men’s tournament, Emirati Saleh won first place with 9 points and a half, while Egyptian Bassem Amin came in second with 9 points and Egyptian Ahmed Adly came third with the same score (9 points). Mukhlas Al Adnani from Morocco ranked fourth with a score of 7 points while Jordanian Saif Malik, also with 7 points, ranked fifth as per the tournament’s tie-breaker rules.

As for the women’s championship, the former world champion of Qatar, Grandmaster Zhu was crowned champion with 9.5 points while Egyptian Aya Mata came in second place with 8 points. Her compatriot Shahenda followed in third place with 7.5 points, the Jordanian Bushra Al-Shuaibi was fourth with 7 points and the Lebanese Maya Jalloul, also with 7 points, came in fifth.

60 men and women participated in the final stage for men and women, which was held according to the Swiss system of 11 blitz chess rounds, each match of three minutes duration, with an addition of two seconds for each move, and a burger system to break the tie.

The tournament witnessed stiff competition between the participating Arab stars, many of whom hold high international rankings and have won titles at global competitions.

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