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Emirati Grandmaster Saleh opens Sharjah Masters with victory

Emirati Grandmaster Saleh opens Sharjah Masters with victory
16 May 2024 08:57

Reda Saleem (Dubai)

The seventh Sharjah Masters Chess Championship has kicked off with 295 players from 60 countries, including more than 160 International Master (IM) title-holders, assembling at the Sharjah Cultural Chess Club.

Sheikh Khalid bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Chess Club and the organising committee, said: “This large number of participants and the IMs gives an impression on the strength of the competition, which represents a golden opportunity for the players of the Emirates to interact, gain experience, and develop their levels. There are nine players who have previously won world championships, and it represents a major achievement for the tournament.”

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Grandmaster Salem Saleh, the local favourite and the UAE’s top-ranked player (FIDE rating 2629), raised the buoyant feeling at the Sharjah club on Day 1 with a win over Polish Jan Klimkowski (rating 2517). Also with a winning start is the defending champion Arjun Erigaisi of India. The top seed beat Azerbaijain’s Eltaj Safarli.

At the second table, the Iranian youth world champion Parham Maqsoudlou, who won the second Sharjah Masters title and was top seed last year, settled for a draw with the Uzbek Shamsuddin Vukhidov.

A draw prevailed in the result of the third table between the Chinese Yu Yanji and the Russian Arseniy Nesterov, and in the fourth table, the Azerbaijain’s Timur Rajabov, the former men’s World Cup champion, tied with Indian IM Sethu Raman.

Making a surprise appearance was Ukrainian veteran Vasiliy Ivanchuk, the former world rapid chess champion. He caught the attention of followers and chess enthusiasts around the world following the tournament online with his first participation in the tournament, and had a well-deserved victory over the Kazakhstan’s Sher Suleimanov.

The Indian talent Nihal Sarin had to be content with a draw against Turkey’s Yagiz Can.

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