Chithambaram grabs solo lead at Dubai Open Chess Tournament - GulfToday

Chithambaram grabs solo lead at Dubai Open Chess Tournament

Top-seed FM Ammar Sedrani of the UAE and Palestine’s Abuazizah Raji in action during the fourth round game of the Dubai Open Chess Tournament.

Top-seed FM Ammar Sedrani of the UAE and Palestine’s Abuazizah Raji in action during the fourth round game of the Dubai Open Chess Tournament.

Grandmaster (GM) Aravindh Chithambaram of India grabbed the solo leadership of the 23rd Dubai Open Chess Tournament following a powerful win over GM Sanal Vahap of Turkey in Tuesday night’s fourth round.

The defending champion is now the only player to maintain a perfect score of four points, adding momentum to his bid for a rare two-peat at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

Wielding the black pieces, Chithambaram came to the board gearing up for a fight as he employed a sideline in the Morphy variation of the Ruy Lopez opening where black pushes his f6-pawn to fortify the center, at the cost of giving up space in the kingside.

The ploy worked wonders as Vahap was unable to develop a concrete plan against the relatively awkward placement of black’s pieces, while the Indian proceeded to dominate both sides of the board.

“I checked this f6 move that was recently played by (Surya Shekhar) Ganguly and also played by (Vasyl) Ivanchuk and many other top players,” the two-time Indian national champion said, explaining his opening choice. “Objectively it’s not a good opening I think, but it is not easy to refute at the same time.”

Chithambaram said Vahap’s position started to disintegrate from the 28th move, when the Turkish player moved his f1-rook to e1, overprotecting the e4-pawn, but lacking any meaningful impact on white’s breakthrough plans in the kingside.

“I felt that was the crucial mistake,” said Chithambaram. “After that, he sort of lost his concentration.”

Chithambaram will now take on the tournament top-seed Yu Yangyi of China. Yu, who was derailed by a draw in the second round, scored a clinical win over GM Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus to raise his tally to 3.5 points for joint second place with Iran’s GM Amin Tabatabaei.

Tabatabaei was victorious over GM Daniil Yuffa of Spain and will next face second-seed GM Hans Moke Niemann of the US, who leads a group of players with three points each after his win over GM Misratdin Iskandarov of Azerbaijan in round four.

Also with three points are GM Arjun Erigaisi, GM Harsha Bharathakoti, GM Aditya Mittal and GM Adhiban Baskaran of India, GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy of Ukraine, GM Maxim Matlakov and GM Maksim Chigaev of Russia, GM Javokhir Sindarov of Uzbekistan, GM Aleksandar Indjic of Serbia and Vahap.

The UAE’s top player and fourth-seed GM Salem AR Saleh registered his third draw in the tournament, this time with US player GM Abhimanyu Mishra as both dropped to a share of fourth place with 2.5 points each along with 22 other players.

Abuazizah shares Open division lead: Palestine’s Raji Abuazizah took down top-seed FM Ammar Sedrani of the UAE in the fourth round to join two others for the lead in the Open division.

Abuazizah employed the Advanced variation against Sedrani’s Caro-Kann defense and proceeded to enjoy a space and positional advantage, before finishing off the game with a tactical flourish. Also with perfect scores are eighth-seed FM Maxim Gavrilov of Russia, who won over Franz  Barretto of the Philippines, and Ediz Kocak of Germany, who defeated third-seed Stefan-Emilian Prisacaru of Romania.

Gavrilov and Kocak will be up against each other in the fifth round’s top-board matchup, with Abuazizah taking on Egypt’s Mohamed Alyeldin on second board. The fourth round was officially opened by Tarim Matar, President of the UAE Chess Federation, Saeed Yousuf Shakari, Secretary General of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club and Technical Director of the tournament, and International Arbiter Mahdi Abdulrahim, the tournament’s Chief Arbiter.

Meanwhile, Othman Moussa Abdullah, tournament director and head of the technical staff of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club, revealed a program by the club to provide international exposure to top local talents in tournaments around the world. As part of this program, the club also decided to organize two events at this year’s Dubai Open – a Masters category for players rated 2200 above and an Open category for players rated below 2200.

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