Salem makes strong start as 7th Sharjah Masters Chess Championship kicks off - GulfToday

Salem makes strong start as 7th Sharjah Masters Chess Championship kicks off


Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri, Dr Sheikh Khalid Bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Eisa Hilal Al Hazami and other diginitaries at the ceremonial start of Sharjah Masters.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

The 7th Sharjah Masters International Chess Championship kicked off at the Sharjah Cultural & Chess Club on Tuesday with the participation of 295 players from 60 countries.

Taking place under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the championship is being organized by the Sharjah Cultural & Chess Club.

A glittering opening ceremony marked the beginning of the championship. Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri, Director-General for the General Authority of Sports, made the ceremonial move to officially start the 7th Sharjah Masters in the presence of Eisa Hilal Al Hazami, Chairman of the Sharjah Sports Council, Dr Sheikh Khalid Bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sharjah Cultural & Chess Club, Omran Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sharjah Cultural Chess Club,

Sultan Ali Al Taher, Head of the Technical Staff at UAE Chess Federation, Abdullah Murad Al-Mazmi, tournament director, Rajai Alsusi, general coordinator, and other dignitaries.

Dr Sheikh Khalid, Chairman of the Championship Organizing Committee, expressed gratitude to Ghanem Al Hajri and Eisa Hilal Al Hazami Eisa Issa Hilal for their presence at the opening ceremony.

He emphasised the significant international participation in the seventh edition, reflecting the competition's strength.

“This presents an excellent opportunity for Emirati players to engage, learn, and enhance their skills while also enriching the club's members with a high level of competition. Notably, the tournament boasts nine internationally acclaimed Grandmasters, who have previously clinched world championships, marking a significant milestone of the championship.

“We thank all organizing committee members for their dedicated efforts in elevating the tournament to a professional standard, especially considering the large turnout of both male and female players. Additionally, the tournament serves as a valuable learning platform for local arbiters, contributing to their overall development,” he added.

Dr Sheikh Khalid also revealed the club's intention to organize a scientific conference to spread chess culture at the Gulf level.

He said: "The club's strategy aims to spread the culture of the game in all cities of the emirate and to discover new talents. Organising and hosting the tournament contributes to the emergence of these talents. We hope that we will have players like Salem Abdelrahman and new generations to lead the game.”

Hazami said: "The Sharjah Masters has garnered significant international acclaim, reaching unparalleled technical and organisational standards with participants from 60 countries.

“I hope it will successfully fulfill its objectives across sporting, societal, and touristic realms, befitting the gracious emirate's reputation.”

During the first round, the highly-rated international grandmaster Salem Abdul Rahman, representing the UAE national team and the Sharjah Cultural & Chess Club, secured a valuable victory.

He defeated the Polish grandmaster Jan Klimkowski. The UAE star with a rating of 2629 played with the black pieces, demonstrating focus and caution in the opening phase. As the game progressed, he strategically outmaneuvered his opponent, ultimately forcing the Pole to concede. Salem’s win sets a strong tone for his performance in the championship.

Defending champion and Indian grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi (rated 2761) achieved an exciting win against the Azerbaijani grandmaster Eltaj Safarli, solidifying his status as a formidable contender for this year's title.

Iran’s Parham Maqsoudlou, who won the second edition of the Sharjah Masters Championship, settled for a draw against Uzbekistan Grandmaster Shamsuddin Vukhidov, maintaining parity on the scoreboard.

Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov shared points with Indian Grandmaster SP Sethuraman. Iranian Amin Tabatabaei triumphed over India’s Pranav V, asserting his dominance as the champion of the fourth edition of the Sharjah Masters Championship.

Serbia’s Alexey Sarana and Ireland’s Bardiya Daneshvar shared the points after playing a draw.

One of the standout moments of the opening round featured the debut of veteran Ukrainian Grandmaster Vasyl Mykhaylovych Ivanchuk, a former World Rapid Chess Champion.

Making his first appearance at the Sharjah Masters, Ivanchuk captured the attention of chess enthusiasts worldwide by securing a well-deserved victory over his opponent, Alisher Suleymenov from Kazakhstan.

Fans eagerly tracked the progress of the controversial American talent Hans Niemann, as he began his campaign with a well-earned victory over his Hungarian opponent, Gleb Dudin.

Meanwhile, Indian prodigy and Grandmaster Nihal Sarin played to a draw against his Turkish opponent, Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus.

In the Challengers Championship, Neuris Delgado Ramirez of Paraguay secured a victory over FIDE Master Ekaterina Borisova. Netherlands’ Anna-Maja Kazarian lost to Vladimir Burmakin of Russia.


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