Sadhwani, Safarli star as 24th Dubai Open Chess Tournament kicks off - GulfToday

Sadhwani, Safarli star as 24th Dubai Open Chess Tournament kicks off

Abdul Karim Almarzooqi, Amal Al Arif, Khalid Zayed and Othman Musa Abdullah during the ceremonial start of the Dubai Open Chess Tournament.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Khalid Ali Bin Zayed Al Falasi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club, opened the competitions of the 24th edition of the Dubai Open Chess Tournament on Saturday.

The Dubai Open Chess Tournament, renowned as one of the world's premier chess events, is currently taking place at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

Highly anticipated Dubai Open Chess Tournament has attracted more than 160 players from 40 different countries.

The opening ceremony was also attended by Abdul Karim Al Marzouqi, Secretary General of the UAE Chess Federation, Othman Moussa, board member of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club and director of the tournament, and Amal Abdul Aziz Al-Arif, board member.

The tournament features two separate categories for players rated above 2300 (Category A) and those rated below 2300 (Category B).

In Category A, Indian prodigy and second-seed Grandmaster (GM) Raunak Sadhwani led the opening-round winners after top-seed GM Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan could only manage a draw in his first game.

Sadhwani employed the Advance Variation against the Caro-Kann Defense to defeat Fide Master (FM) Reja Neer Manon of Bangladesh. Radjabov, the 2019 World Cup champion, was held to a draw by the Georgian International Master (IM) Georgi Sebashvili in a Catalan game.

Other winners among the top 10 boards were Serbia’s GM Velimir Ivic, who won over Azerbaijan’s WGM Govhar Beydullayeva, GM Eltaj Safarli of Azerbaijan, who beat GM Efstratios Grivas of Greece, India’s GM S.P. Sethuraman, who outplayed IM Seyed Kian Poormosavi of Iran, and untitled Wang Yanbin of China, who scored the day’s biggest upset after winning over fifth-seed GM Jakhongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan.

Safarli, who like the legendary former world champion Garry Kasparov was born in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, pounced on a blunder on the 26th move to win a full piece and force Grivas, a prolific chess author and long-time trainer based in the UAE, to resign four moves later.

The UAE’s IM Sultan Ibrahim also joined the early leaders after a win by default against IM Artem Uskov of Russia, while Khalifa Essa Albalooshi and Ali Abdulaziz dropped their matches against Russia’s IM Leya Garifullina and IM Oliver Dimakiling of the Philippines, respectively.

In Category B, 54th-seed Venkatesh Das of India pulled off a big surprise win over his countryman and top-seed Candidate Master (CM) Rajarishi Karthi. Second-seed FM Prince Daniel Mulenga of Zambia, third-seed Woman International Master (WIM) Srishti Pandey of India, and fourth-seed Nyazi Nehad of Egypt won their matches against youth players AFM Safin Safarullakhan of India, Ghaith Saeed Alnuaimi of the UAE and ACM Aryan Goyal of India, respectively. UAE national team player FM Ahmed Fareed prevailed in an all-Emirati encounter against Mariam Essa to likewise post his first point.

Dubai Open Chess Tournament is one of the largest and most prestigious international tournaments, which has been a significant milestone in the careers of many prominent chess players, including world champion Magnus Carlsen.

The nine-round tournament will continue until June 2, with games starting at 5pm every day except in the final round, which will start at 10am.

Each player is allotted 90 minutes, with 30 seconds added after each move, to complete a game. The tournament will award $52,000 in cash prizes.