Asian Continental Chess Championships 2015 - Round 9 Print
Tuesday, 11 August 2015 09:22

Round 9

Emirati Grandmaster Saleh A.R. Salem is the new Asian Chess King after winning the Asian Continental Championship at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain, UAE. He ensured his crown with a last round draw with GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi of India.

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Salem, who was seeded 11th at the start of the 32-nation tournament, had beaten IM S. Nitin of India, drew with Xu Yinglun of China, beat IM Asyl Abdyjapar of Kyrgyzstan, lost to IM Lin Chen of China, won four straight rounds against Liu Chang of China, Indian GM Vishnu Parsanna and national champion S.P. Sethuraman and second seed NguyenNgoc Truong Son of Vietnam before his last round draw with Gujrathi.

Indian GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly beat GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore in the final round to win the silver medal. Ganguly, 32, tied Salem at 7 points each but the Emirati GM had a better tie-break score with more wins than the Indian GM.

It was a good day for Indian men as GM S.P. Sethuraman won the bronze medal. The Indian national champion prevailed in the tie-break as he finished with 6.5 points together with GM Vidit Santosh Gujarathi of India and GM Zhou Jianchao of China. They share the bulk of the $50,000 prize for the men’s division.

The top five qualify to the World Cup next month in Baku, Azerbaijan. Salem had already pre-qualified from last year’s Asian Continental while Sethuraman had qualified from the Indian Zonal. Thus their slots went to the two players next in line, untitled 15-year-old Maghsoodloo Parham of Iran and GM Lalith Babu of India, who finished in an 8-way tie with 6 points each but had the better tie break with more wins.

WIM Mitra Hejazipour of Iran won the gold medal in the women’s division and the right to represent Asia in the Women’s World Chess Championship. Hejazipour used the Sicilian defense Najdorf variation to beat Indian WGM Mary Ann Gomes in 39 moves. The Iranian tallied 7 points in a tie with IM Shen Yang of China but with better tie break of 7 wins against 5 wins of the Chinese silver medalist.

It was a bad day for the Indian women as Shen Yang crushed the King’s Indian defense of Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman in 47 moves. The Indian WGM had to satisfy herself with the bronze medal after leading in the homestretch. Tied at 6.5 points each are WIM Pratyusah Bodda of India and WGM Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan for a share of the $25,000 in total prize money for the women.

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Live running commentary by GM Tahir Vakhidov and WGM Zhang Jilin is available on youtube. Top boards are broadcast live for Men and Women, and are available for download in the official site asianchess.com with pairings in chess-results.com and photo galleries on facebook and instagram.

The event is organized by the Asian Chess Federation in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and UAE Chess Federation. The Asian Rapid Chess championship and Blitz Сhess championship follow the main event.


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Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India

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Mitra Hejazipour of Iran



Round 8

Emirati Grandmaster Saleh A.R. Salem (right) beat second seed GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam in the penultimate round to grab solo lead of the $87,000 Asian Continental Chess Championship at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain, UAE as erstwhile co-leaders Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Abhijeet Gupta of India played it safe with a draw.

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Salem used the Sicilian Najdorf to win a Knight and pawn endgame in 49 moves. The Sharjah youth is alone with 6.5 points out of 8 rounds. Three Indian GMs are half a point behind, namely Vidit Santosh Gujarathi, Ganguly and Gupta.

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Gujarathi (left), 21, goes up against Salem, 22, in the last round. The Indian youth needs to win to get the crown. Salem needs only a draw to clinch the title by tie break of more number of victories. This system encourages fighting chess where one win is has greater weight than two draws although both have a value of one point. Ganguly has to hurdle Zhang Zhong while Zhou tries to stop Gupta.

Six players follow within striking distance for silver or bronze medals and the top five slots to qualify for the World Cup next month in Baku, Azerbaijan. Tied at 5.5 points each are Indian GMs S.P. Sethuraman and Krishnan Sasikiran, top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, Chinese GM Zhou Jianchao and IM Lin Chen and GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore.

Salem has already qualified for the World Cup from last year`s Asian Continental Championship. Le Quang Liem and Sethuraman have previously qualified from the Southeast Asian Zonal and Indian Zonal, respetively. Should they land in the top five, the next in line shall make the cut.

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In this position, Salem playing Black exchanged Queens and played 41... Nxf1 42. b5 and it looks as if the Knight cannot stop promotion of the White b-pawn but the game continued 42 ... e3 43. Kg2 e2 44. Kf2 Nxh2! 45. b6 Ng4+ 46. Kxe2 Ne5 47. b7 Nc6 48. Kf3 Kf8 49. Kg2 0-1

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In the women`s division, WGM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman (right) of India drew with compatriot Mary Ann Gomes in a marathon 65 moves of a Queen`s Pawn opening to maintain her solo lead with 6.5 points. Five players are half a point behind. Tied at 6 points each are Gomes, WGM Pratyusha Bodda of India, WIM Mitra Hejazipour of Iran, IM Shen Yang of China and WGM Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan. The champion shall represent Asia in the Women`s World Championship.

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Shen Yang goes up against Vijayalakshmi in round 9. To encourage fighting chess, regulations prohibit last round pairings between players of the same country with more than 50% score.

Live running commentary by GM Tahir Vakhidov and WGM Zhang Jilin is available on youtube. Top boards are broadcast live for Men and Women, and are available for download in the official site asianchess.com with pairings in chess-results.com and photo galleries on facebook and instagram.

Games are scheduled 3pm in the event organized by the Asian Chess Federation in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and UAE Chess Federation. The Asian Rapid Chess championship starts 10am on 11th August while the Asian Blitz Championship starts 1pm on 12th August.


Round 7

GM Saleh A.R. Salem of the UAE (right) and GM Abhijeet Gupta of India (below) beat their respective 7th round opponents to barge into a three-way tie for the lead with GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India at 5.5 points each in the homestretch of the $87,000 Asian Continental Chess Championships at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain, UAE.

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Seven players follow a half point behind in the battle for five slots in the next stage of the World Chess Championship cycle. Tied at 5 points each are top seed GM Le Quang Liem and second seed GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam, Indian GMs Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, Krishnan Sasikiran and Deep Sengupta, and IM Lin Chen and GM Zhou Jianchao of China.

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In the women`s division, WGM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman of India (right) used the King`s Indian Defense to beat erstwhile co-leader Mitra Hejazipour of Iran, threatening mate on the 62nd move. The six-time Indian national woman champion grabbed solo lead with 6 points. Three players are a half point behind in the race for the right to represent Asia in the Women`s World Chess Championship. Tied at 5.5 points each are Mary Ann Gomez of India, Chinese IM Shen Yang and WGM Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan.

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Salem crushed the Bogo-Indian defense of GM S.P. Sethuraman of India in 41 moves. The Emirati GM sacrificed a Bishop on the 30th move to weave a mating net with his Queen and Rook against the castled King. Gupta, 26, smashed the Slav Defense of erstwhile co-leader Lin Chen of China in 57 moves. The Indian GM, who was 2008 World Junior Champion, gained a pawn on the 33rd move in the transition to the Queen and pawn endgame and was certain to achieve pawn promotion when the Chinese resigned.

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In this position, Sethuraman had just played 29 ...c3. Salem sacrificed the Bishop and went on the attack with 30. Qd3 cxb2 31. Qxh7+ Kf7 32. Rd1 Rh8 33. dxe6+ Rxe6 34. Qxh8 Rxe5 35. Nxe5+ Qxe5 36. Qd8 Bf5 37. Bb3+ Kg6 38. Qxb6+ Kh7 39. Ba2 Qe2 40. Qd8 Be1 41. Qh4+ 1-0

In the other match among leaders, Ganguly and Le Quang Liem drew in 55 moves of a Semi Slav defense with only two kings left on the board. Nine players follow with 4.5 points each in the fight for cash prizes for the first 30 places.

Two rounds are left in the 9-round Swiss system tournament. In the penultimate round 8, Gupta and Ganguly face off while Salem plays Ngoc Truong Son. Vijayalakshmi battles with compatriot WGM Mary Ann Gomes.

Live running commentary by GM Tahir Vakhidov and WGM Zhang Jilin is available on youtube. Top boards are broadcast live for Men and Women, and are available for download in the official site asianchess.com with pairings in chess-results.com and photo galleries on facebook and instagram.

Games are scheduled 3pm daily in the event organized by the Asian Chess Federation in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and UAE Chess Federation.



Round 6

Indian GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Chinese IM Lin Chen drew with each other in the other day’s 6th round to maintain their co-leadership of the Asian Continental Chess Championship at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain.

In the women’s division, WGM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman and WIM Mitra Hejazipour of Iran beat their respective opponents to share the lead at 5 points each. Vijayalakshmi used the Queen’s Gambit to crush WGM Tan Zhongyi of China in 36 moves. Hejazipour essayed the Sicilian Defense to turn back solo leader Medina Warda Aulia of Indonesia in 39 moves. Six players follow a half point behind. Tied at 4.5 points each are Aulia, WGM Mary Ann Gomes of India, WGM Lei Tingjie and IM Shen Yang of China, WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan of Iran and WGM Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan.

With three rounds remaining, six players are also a half point behind the leaders in the men’s division. Tied at 4.5 points each are top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, local hero GM Salem A.R. Saleh of the UAE, Chinese GM Zhou Jianchao and three Indian grandmasters, namely S.P. Sethuraman, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and Abhijeet Gupta.

In the tournament’s Swiss System pairings, leaders face stronger opposition in the homestretch as the lead pack is reduced to a few pacesetters. Ganguly and Lin made a cautious 11-move draw as they played the Exchange variation of the French Defense. The truce reduced their lead as the six players closed in. Gujrathi crushed the Gruenfeld Defense of Rustam Khusnutdinov of Kazakhstan in 50 moves. Sethuraman had to work longer as he essayed the Trompovsky Attack to beat Chinese GM Gao Rui in 64 moves. Zhou Jianchao declined the Queen’s Gambit of compatriot Wang Chen in 84 moves and won in a marathon 84 moves. Salem also used the Queen’s Gambit to beat Prasanna Vishnu of India in 56 moves. Le and Gupta drew their English Opening in 59 moves of a minor piece endgame.

Chances for the top 5 qualification slots in next month’s World Cup are still good for 11 players bunched together at 4 points each for a share of 9th slot.

The race in the women’s is getting tighter for the four players tied at 4 points in 9th slot, namely Pratyusha Bodda and Soumya Swaminathan of India, Nguyen Thi Mai Hung of Vietnam and Khademalsharieh Sarasadat of Iran.

Co-leaders Vijayalakshmi and Hejazipour face each other in the 7th round of the women’s. In the men’s, Ganguly has to hurdle top seed Le Quang Liem while Lin faces Abhijeet Gupta in the 7th round.

Live running commentary by GM Tahir Vakhidov and WGM Zhang Jilin is available on youtube. Top boards are broadcast live for Men and Women, and are available for download in the official site asianchess.com with pairings in chess-results.com and photo galleries on facebook and instagram.

The event is organized by the Asian Chess Federation in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and UAE Chess Federation. Games are scheduled 3pm daily.

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Leaders Lin (left) vs Ganguly

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Women’s co-leader Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman of India

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Women’s co-leader Mitra Hejazipour of Iran

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Women’s top board match Aulia (left) vs. Mitra Hejazipour


Round 5

GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India and IM Lin Chen of China beat their respective opponents to share the lead with 4.5 points each after 5 rounds of the Asian Continental Chess Championships at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain, UAE.

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Lin Chen, 27, of Jiangsu, China, made short work of GM Vishnu Prasanna of India in just 33 moves of a Closed Ruy Lopez. Lin gained a protected passed pawn on the 28th move which he quickly advanced with the aid of a centralized Queen and control of the open Rook file.

Ganguly, 36, crushed the Gruenfeld Defense of Darini Pouria of Iran in 49 moves. The 6-time Indian national champion used his advantage of two Bishops to gain a pawn and transpose to a minor piece endgame which he won with flawless technique.

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In the women’s division, 18-year-old Medina Warda Aulia of Indonesia outplayed WGM Padmini Rout of India to grab solo lead with 4.5 points out of 5 rounds. Aulia, a first year Public Administration student at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, used the French Defense that led to a fierce fight of attack and counter attack. A Rook sacrifice in the endgame ensured safe pawn promotion by Aulia and Rout resigned on the 77th move.

Four players trail a half point behind Aulia. Tied at 4 points each are WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan and WIM Mitra Hejazipour of Iran and WGM Vijayalakshmi Subaramman of India and WGM Lei Tingjie of China.

In the men’s division, top seed GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, GM Abhijeet Gupta of India and GM Rustam Khusnutdinov of Kazakhstan are a half point behind the leaders with 4 points each. Le used the Sicilian Scheveningen against GM Idani Pouya of Iran to win in 60 moves. Gupta smashed the Tarrash Defense of GM Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan in 53 moves. Khusnutdinov routed the Caro Kann Defense of GM Lalith Babu of India in 34 moves, penetrating with his Rook on the seventh rank.

Ten players are a point behind the leaders in the race for the top 5 qualifying slots to the World Cup and $87,000 in cash prizes. Tied with 3.5 points each are local hero GM Salem A.R. Saleh, Vishnu Prasanna and Indian GMs S.P. Sehturaman, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and Deep Sengupta, Darini Pouria, Chinese IM Wang Chen, GM Gao Rui and GM Zhou Jianchao and Vietnamese GM Nguyen Duc Hoa.

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In the game above between GM Salem A.R. Saleh of the UAE with the Black pieces and untitled Liu Chang of China, the Emirati gave his Knight for the center pawn 21… Ncxe4! starting an attack that continued with a double Rook sacrifice 22. Bxe4 Bc5 23. Nxc6 Nxe4 24. Nxd8 Bf3 25. h4 Qg4 26. Kh2 Ng5 27. Rxe8+ Bf8 28. Rxf8+ Kxf8 29. Ne6+ fxe6 0-1 The event is organized by the Asian Chess Federation in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and UAE Chess Federation. Six tournaments are scheduled with a top prize of $11,000 for first place in the Men’s and $6,000 first prize in the women’s championship. Rapid chess and blitz tournaments are scheduled in both the men’s and women’s divisions with a total of $12,000 in cash prizes. Tournaments will be conducted as 9 round Swiss System events with cash prizes for the top 30 places.

The top five advance to the World Cup next month in Baku, Azerbaijan. The women’s champion shall represent Asia in the FIDE Women’s World Championship. Games are scheduled 3pm daily. Top boards are broadcast live for Men and Women, and are available for download in the official site asianchess.com with pairings in chess-results.com and livestream on youtube, facebook and instagram.


Round 4

Co-leaders GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India and compatriot GM Prasanna Vishnu drew with each other in the fourth round to maintain a share of the lead with 3.5 points each in the $87,000 Asian Continental Chess Championship at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain, UAE. The draw between the co-leaders allowed two others, 27-year-old IM Lin Chen of Jiangsu, China and 24-year-old GM Darini Pouria of Iran, to catch up and tie with 3.5 points each.

Ganguly used the Queen’s Gambit Declined but neither side could gain the advantage and the game reached a drawn Queen and pawn endgame in 43 moves. Lin used the Slav Defense to turn back GM Saleh A.R. Salem of the UAE. Salem played aggressively with the white pieces embarking on a kingside pawn storm. In classical response, Lin countered with a break in the center to create passed pawns which he managed to promote to Queen and force resignation on the 57th move.

Pouria outmaneuvered GM Chanda Sandipan of India in 59 moves of a Ruy Lopez. In the transition to the endgame, Darini had the better pawn structure and a centralized King when Sandipan resigned on the 59th move.

Indian GMs Lalith Babu, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, Abhijeet Gupta, Deep Sengupta and six others trail a half point behind the leaders. Tied with them at 3 points each are top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, GM Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan, GM Gao Rui and IM Wang Chen of China, GM Idani Pouya of Iran and GM Rustam Khusnutdinov of Kazakhstan.

In the women’s division, Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi, 36, six-time national women’s champion of India, beat Chinese WGM Zhang Xiaowen to barge into a 3-way tie for the lead. Vijayalakshmi comes from Chennai and in 2001 became the country’s first Woman Grandmaster and their first to earn the man’s International Master title. Tied with her at 3.5 points each are WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan of Iran and WGM Aulia Medina Warda of Indonesia who drew with each other in 32 moves of a Scotch Four Knights game.

Five Indian women are among 11 players trailing the leaders at 3 points each, namely WIM Pratyusha Bodda, IM Padmini Rout, WGM Soumya Swaminathan, WGM Mary Ann Gomes and IM Eesha Karavade. Tied with them are WGM Lei Tingjie and Wang Jue of China, Li Ruofan of Singapore, Mitra Hejazipour of Iran and WGM Madina Davletbayeva and Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan.

The event is organized by the Asian Chess Federation in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and UAE Chess Federation. Six tournaments are scheduled with a top prize of $11,000 for first place in the Men’s and $6,000 first prize in the women’s championship. Rapid chess and blitz tournaments are scheduled in both the men’s and women’s divisions with a total of $12,000 in cash prizes. Tournaments will be conducted as 9 round Swiss System events with cash prizes for the top 30 places.

The top five advance to the World Cup next month in Baku, Azerbaijan. The women’s champion shall represent Asia in the FIDE Women’s World Championship. Games are scheduled 3pm daily. Top boards are broadcast live for Men and Women, and are available for download in the official site asianchess.com with pairings in chess-results.com and livestream on youtube, facebook and instagram.

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GM Vishnu Prassana of India

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WGM Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi of India



Round 3


Indian GMs Surya Sekhar Ganguly and Vishnu Prasanna share the lead with perfect 3 point slates after as many rounds of the $87,000 Asian Continental Championship at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain, UAE. In the women’s division, 18-year-old WGM Aulia Medina Warda of Indonesia and Iranian WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan are tied for the lead with 3 points each. Ganguly, 32, 6-time Indian national champion from Kolkata and winner of the Asian Continental championship in 2009, used the Maroczy Bind against the Sicilian defense of GM Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan and won in a marathon 72 moves. Well known as one of the seconds in the team of former world champion Viswanthan Anand, Ganguly works as a Deputy Manager at the Indian Oil Corporation.

Vishnu Prasanna crushed the Caro Kann Defense of compatriot Lalith Babu. Prasanna penetrated with his Rooks on the open c-file and controlled the dark squares. He pried open the castled king with a Knight sacrifice and weaved a mating net with Queen and Bishop to force resignation on the 36th move. Prasnna, 26, hails from Chennai and works for the Airports Authority of India.

Three more Indians are in a group of eight, a half point behind the leaders, namely GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, Chanda Sandipan and Abhijeet Gupta. Tied with 2.5 points each in second slot are local hero Saleh A.R. Salem of the UAE, Chinese IM Lin Chen and IM Wang Chen and Iranians GM Idani Pouya and GM Darini Pouria.

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Atousa Pourkashiyan of Iran (left) vs. Padmini Rout of India

Gujrathi, 21, winner of the World Youth Under-14 in 2008, used the Gruenfeld Defense to beat GM Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam in 34 moves. Gupta employed the Tartakower System against the Modern Defense of GM Marat Dzhumaev of Uzbekistan to win in 35 moves. Sandipan and Chinese IM Wang Chen drew in a marathon 100 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Declined. In the women’s division, three Indians follow a half point behind the leaders, namely WGM Soumya Swaminathan, WGM Mary Ann Gomes and IM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman. Tied with them at 2.5 points each are WGM Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan and WGM Zhang Xiaowen of China.

Pourkashiyan crushed the Sicilian defense of erstwhile leader Padmini Rout of India delivering checkmate on the 41st move. Aulia Medina Warda used the French Defense against Iran’s Raana Hakimifard to force resignation in 34 moves.

The event is organized by the Asian Chess Federation in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and UAE Chess Federation. Six tournaments are scheduled with a top prize of $11,000 for first place in the Men’s and $6,000 first prize in the women’s championship. Rapid chess and blitz tournaments are scheduled in both the men’s and women’s divisions with a total of $12,000 in cash prizes. Tournaments will be conducted as 9 round Swiss System events with cash prizes for the top 30 places.

The top five advance to the World Cup next month in Baku, Azerbaijan. The women’s champion shall represent Asia in the FIDE Women’s World Championship. Games are scheduled 3pm daily and are available for download in the official site asianchess.com with pairings in chess-results.com, livestream on youtube and pages on facebook and instagram.

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GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly of India (left) vs. GM Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan



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Saleh A.R Salem

Round 2

Four Indian Grandmasters are in the lead pack after two rounds of the Asian Continental Chess Championship at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain, UAE. Grandmasters Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Chanda Sandipan, Lalith Babu and Vishnu Prasnna lead with perfect two point slates together with four others. Tied at 2 points each are Chinese International Master Wang Chen, Uzbek GM Jahongir Vakhidovand Iranian GMs Idani Pouya and Darini Pouria.

Ganguly used the Classical variation of the French Defense to beat GM Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan of Mongolia. The Indian star embarked on a kingside pawn storm and sacrificed the Rook for Bishop exchange to penetrate and force resignation on the 42nd move.

GM Chanda Sandipan of India used the rare Dutch Defense to threaten mate on the 46th move against Tsegmed Batchuluun of Mongolia. GM Lalith Babu smashed the Gruenfeld Defense of Lou Yiping of China in a marathon 76 moves.

Wang Chen kept Chinese hopes alive as he used the Sicilian defense to beat Amin Tabatabaei of Iran in 67 moves. But Idani Pouya countered for Iran as he essayed the Queen’s Indian defense and controlled the center to reach a won endgame in 45 moves against Indian GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan. Iranian Darini Pouria also scored at the expense of local master Ishaq Saeed of the UAE in 58 moves of a Ruy Lopez game. Young Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan essayed the symmetrical English opening to beat K. Rahnakaran of India in 36 moves.

Local hero Saleh A.R Salem was held to a draw by the Sicilian defense of untitled Chinese Xu Yinglun in 46 moves of an opposite colored Bishop endgame. Salem and 18 others including top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam trail with 1.5 points each.

In the women’s division three Indian women also have a share of the lead, namely IM Padmini Rout, IM Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi and WGM Mary Ann Gomes. Tied at 2 points each are Indonesian WGM Aulia Medina Warda, Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan, WGM Zhang Xiaowen of China and Iranians Atousa Pourkashiyan and Raana Hakimfard.

Six tournaments are scheduled with a top prize of $11,000 for first place in the Men’s and $6,000 first prize in the women’s championship. Rapid chess and blitz tournaments are scheduled in both the men’s and women’s divisions with a total of $12,000 in cash prizes. Tournaments will be conducted as 9 round Swiss System events with cash prizes for the top 30 places.

The top five advance to the World Cup next month in Baku, Azerbaijan. The women’s champion shall represent Asia in the FIDE Women’s World Championship. Games are scheduled 3pm daily and are available for download in the official site asianchess.com with pairings in chess-results.com.

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Emirati players Grandmaster Saleh A.R. Salem and FIDE Master Saeed Ishaq scored stunning victories yesterday at the opening of the $87,000 Asian Continental Chess Championships at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain, UAE.


Salem used the Najdorf variation of the Sicilian Defense to crush International Master S. Nitin of India. The local ace used his opposite colored Bishop and threatened his opponent’s weak back rank. Salem stunned his opponent with a Queen sacrifice on the 31st move to force resignation on the next move.

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Salem, playing black, sacrificed his Queen with 31… Qxc2+! Against IM S. Nitin of India.

Not to be outdone, compatriot Saeed Ishaq followed suit with a Queen sacrifice on the 24th move against the Slav defense of GM Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy of Vietnam threatening mate two moves later.

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Saeed Ishaq, playing white, sacrificed his queen (24.Qxg6!) against GM Minh Huy of Vietnam.

Top seed GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam was held to a draw by 22-year-old IM Haridas Pascua of the Philippines. The young Filipino went on the attack with a kingside pawn storm against the Dutch defense of his seasoned opponent and seized the draw after 35 moves of an opposite colored Bishop endgame.

Twenty one year old GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi led the onslaught by the 19-man Indian delegation with a victory over GM Enamul Hosain of Bangladesh as other Indian GMs scored opening round wins. GM Krishnan Sasikiran beat GM Petr Kostenko of Kazakhstan, GM S.P.Sethuraman won over compatriot P. Karthikeyan, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly defeated GM Dashzegve Sharavdorj of Mongolia, K. Rathnakaran beat GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore, GM Deep Sengupta won over IM Zhanat Saiyn of Kazakhstan, GM Chanda Sandipan beat FM Semetey Tologontegin of Kyrgyzstan, GM Lalith Babu outplayed FM Li Di of China, GM Vishnu Prasanna outmatched FM Abdulwahab Ahmed Abdulstarrar of Iraq, GM Abhijeet Gupta beat Mamyrbay Assad of Kazakhstan and IM S.L. Narayanan smashed Nassar Marwan of Lebanon.

GM Gao Rui led the 13-man Chinese delegation, beating the French defense of compatriot Yuan Qingyu in 33 moves. IM Wang Chen smashed the Sicilian defense of compatriot IM Chu Wei Chao in 45 moves. IM Lin Chen outmatched Candidate Master Hajiri Bader of Kuwait. Xu Yinglun outplayed Ezizov Jumamuhammet of Turkmenistan and IM Lou Yiping beat Mohammed bukhari of Saudi Arabia.

The Chinese were stronger in the women’s division as top seed WGM Tan Zhongyi beat Le Kieu Thien Kim of Vietnam. Other leading Chinese women are IM Shen Yang who beat Ghazal Hakimifard of Iran, WIM Zhai Mo winner against Akter Liza Shamima of Bangladesh, WGM Zhang Xiaowen who beat compatriot Chu Ruotong and WGM Wang Jue who won over compatriot Liu Manli.

Second seed WGM Padmini Rout of India kept pace by beating WGM Nguyen Thi Thanh An of Vietnam. Mongolian Sengeravdan Otongjargal also won against Lei Tingjie of China. Other first round winners were from different federations, namely Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, Mitra Hejaziour, Raana Hakimifar and Atousa Pourkashiyan of Iran, Aulia Medina Warda of Indonesia, Nguyen Thi Mai Hung and Pham Le Thao Nguyen of Vietnam, Dinara Saduakassova and Medina Davletbayeva of Kazakhstan, Aseel Faqeeh of Palestine Sarvinoz Kurbonboeva of Uzbekistan and Indians Eesha Karavade, Subbaraman Vijaylakshmi, Bhakti Kulkarni, Nisha Mohota, Soumya Swaminathan and Mary Ann Gomes.

In accordance with the strict new FIDE Laws, Chief Arbiter Haroon or Rashid of Bangladesh forfeited newcomer Houd Alhouti of Oman for inadvertently bringing his mobile phone during the game.

Six tournaments are scheduled with a top prize of $11,000 for first place in the Men’s and $6,000 first prize in the women’s championship. Rapid chess and blitz tournaments are scheduled in both the men’s and women’s divisions with a total of $12,000 in cash prizes. Tournaments will be conducted as 9 round Swiss System events with cash prizes for the top 30 places.

The top five advance to the World Cup next month in Baku, Azerbaijan. The women’s champion shall represent Asia in the FIDE Women’s World Championship. Games are scheduled 3pm daily and are available for download in the official site asianchess.com with pairings in chess-results.com.

Local hero Saleh A.R. Salem already qualified for the World Cup from last year’s Asian Continental. The top two seeds from Vietnam, namely GM Le Quang Liem, rated 2669, and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, rated 2662, have also qualified from the Southeas Asian Zonal. Also qualified from their respective Zonal tournaments are GM S. P. Sethuraman of India, Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh, and from the Middle East Zonal, GM Idani Pouya of Iran. Should any of these pre-qualified players make it to the top five, the next in line qualifies to the World Cup.

Asian Opening ceremony
In photo, Asian Chess Federation Deputy President Bharat Singh makes the ceremonial moves between local bet GM Saleh A.R. Salem (left) and top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam. Looking on are, from left, Saeed Al Muhairi of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, ACF Secretary General Hisham Al Taher and FIDE Zone President Husan Turdialiev of Uzbekistan.

 
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