Issa Hilal Al Hazami, Sheikh Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Mualla and other dignitaries at the start of the Sharjah Masters International Chess Championship.
The opening round of the fourth edition of the prestigious Sharjah Masters International Chess Championship, organized by the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club, kicked off on Friday.
Sharjah Masters International Chess Championship is being held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
60 players including 41 Grandmasters, two women Grandmasters, 13 International Masters and two FIDE Masters representing 27 federations are battling for top honours.
The championship carries a prize purse of $60,000.
Such is the high level of the competition that Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club’s organising committee had to reject the participation of 80 players as they failed to match the standard.
The tournament is being played on a 9-round Swiss System Type format, with a standard time control of a total of 90 minutes and 30 seconds increment per move starting from move one for each player.
Ahead of the first round of the strongest open category tournament in chess history, a glittering opening ceremony was held at the club.
The opening ceremony was attended by Issa Hilal Al Hazami, Chairman of the Sharjah Sports Council, Sheikh Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Mualla, President of the Arab Chess Federation, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club, Sheikh Rashid Bin Khalid Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Dr Sarhan Hassan Al Muaini, President of the UAE Chess Federation, other members of the club’s Board of Directors and a large group of guests and sports officials.
Sheikh Saud hailed Dr Sheikh Sultan for his support to the championship and all the club’s activities.
He also appreciated the efforts of the people involved in organizing Sharjah Chess Masters. Sheikh Saud also thanked Sharjah Sports Council and the sponsors of the tournament.
“Sharjah Masters has paved the way for bringing top championships back as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic decimated the sports activities in general and chess in particular during the past two years,” said Sheikh Saud.
“In the year 2021 we are celebrating the 42nd anniversary of Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club and the 50th anniversary of the formation of UAE, we can promise some extra-ordinary events in close cooperation with FIDE and the Arab Chess Federation for the coming near future! The 4th Sharjah Masters 2021 is just the start of the journey!.”
Hazami lauded the extraordinary efforts made by the organizing committee and for taking all prudent measures to ensure the safety of players and officials taking part in the championship.
“Without support and keen support of the Ruler of Sharjah it was not possible to host such a big chess championship during the current Covid-19 crisis,” Hazami added.
Dr. Sarhan Hassan Al Muaini, praised the high level of competition at Sharjah Masters.
Meanwhile, the UAE Grandmaster Salem Abdulrahman Mohamed Saleh made a perfect start following a first round win over Algeria’s Bilal Belhassan.
Top seed Egyptian Grandmaster Bassem Amin shared the lead with Armenia’s Harutyunyan Tigran K.
In the biggest surprises of the first round, Georgian Grandmaster Mikheil Mchedlishvili stunned Iran’s Parham Maghsoodloo while 17-year-old Uzbek chess prodigy Javokhir Sindarov got the better off Pavel Eljanov.
Indian Grandmaster B Adhiban grabbed the point at the expense of Bulgaria's Nikolov Momchil.
In other interesting results of the day, Egyptian Grandmaster Adham Fawzy achieved a well-deserved victory over Germany's Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter and Ahmed Adly, the 2007 World Junior Chess Championship winner, downed Germany’s Baskin Robert.
Fast Contracting Company, National Paints and Centro Sharjah Hotel are the sponsors of the fourth edition of the Sharjah Masters International Chess Championship.
The Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club was established in 1979 and joined the UAE Chess League in June 1981 with the objective of spreading the game across the Sharjah emirate.
The tournament was supervised by the International Arbiter Omar Numan Al Ali, Assistant Secretary-General of the Sharjah Cultural Chess Club, and Greek grandmaster Efstratios Grivas, the Palestinian international coach Ihsan Jawad and the Philippine International Referee Marlon Konan.
The massive public turnout on the tournament's second day, which included both visitors and enthusiasts, was possibly one of the most notable features of the championship.
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