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40th Lebanese Individual Championship – Final Stage

Round 1: Bang on first board

Honored by the LCF, as appointing me as Chief Arbiter for its 40th championship, I got the opportunity to observe in somewhat (!?) the round 1 games progress. It is worth to mention that the 12 finalists are using the Olympiad timing system (40 moves in 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds extra time per move starting from move 1). As most of the players took part in the recent big international francophonie Championship, I was expecting some dry games. Nothing of the sort!!

On board 1 (as it is a round-robin system, boards numbering doesn’t reflect anything related to the players’ standing), the 2 experienced FM Ahmad Najjar and Dr. Mahmoud Maasarani were facing each other for the nth times. In his usual somewhat rapid play, Ahmad snatched a pawn, forcing Mahmoud to go to the defensive, putting him in an only-move situation during his time trouble. This provoked Ahmad to try to win quickly, took risk that led him to make a fatal mistake (63 c5?). Mahmoud, even with his time trouble, was up to the task to turn the table. Mahmoud’s new queen promotion forced Ahmad to resign.

FM Faisal Khairallah – FM Amr ElJawish encounter on board 2 was the spot of the round. A Trompowsky opening was on the schedule. A slight imprecise opening move order by Amr (3..Qb6 instead of 4..Qb6) enabled Faisal to obtain the typical opening structure issued from the mentioned opening. In order to limit White’ static advantage, Amr spent too much time in searching for a quick counter play on the king side. The mission was partially successful, as the 21 Qh4? move enabled Amr to bag in a pawn, profited from the undefended white queen. Faced with this new turn of events, Faisal kept his head cool, generated a counter-play from nowhere. Amr, with his severe time trouble started playing à la defensive. Reaching the calm-time zone (move 41), with an extra exchange, Faisal liquidated the position into endgame phase, forcing Amr to stop the clock.

Board 3 encounter between CM Abdelaziz Mahmoud and Jamal Shamiyeh was no less exciting. In a somewhat lost position, Jamal sacrificed a piece in order to muddle the water. The accepted sacrifice forced AbdelAziz’ king to go into the open, Jamal’s Queen and Rook started to harass the white king. But AbdelAziz’ pieces coordination were enough to provide their king a safe shelter. Time pressure forced AbdelAziz to offer a draw, putting an end to his king’s walk.

Board 4 witnessed the encounter Marwan Sharbel – FM Ibrahim Chahrour. A typical Chigorin defense middlegame, adopted by the current champion, enabled his typical knights to dominate Marwan’s position. Step by step White’s position deteriorated, letting Ibrahim to crown his strategy by an elementary and very nice queen sacrifice, forcing Marwan to resign.

The Benoni setup was adopted by FM Antoine Kassis on board 5 against Elie Asmar. With his first game in the Final stage of a Lebanese Championship, Elie reached a very playable middle game. But, something happened that pushed him to start making imprecise moves, enabling Antoine to improve his position. A king’s move on e3 by Elie enabled Antoine to snatch a central pawn, and the game point.

A calm opening between Bassel Charaf and Khaled Shehab on board 6 resulted in an early exchange of queens. The game entered early the endgame phase. Some cautious play by both parties forced them to sign the peace.

SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
1 FM Najjar Ahmad 2246 0  -  1   Maasarani Mahmoud 2103 12
2 FM Khairallah Faisal 2235 1  -  0 FM El Jawich Amro 2169 11
3 CM Abdulaziz Mahmoud 2101 ½  -  ½   Shamieh Jamal 2076 10
4   Sharbel Marwan 2006 0  -  1 FM Chahrour Ibrahim 2129 9
5   Asmar Elie 2016 0  -  1 FM Kassis Antoine 2177 8
6   Bassel Charaf 2114 ½  -  ½   Shihab Khaled 2112 7
Round 2 on 2014/06/15 at 6 PM
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12   Maasarani Mahmoud 2103 -   Shihab Khaled 2112 7
8 FM Kassis Antoine 2177 -   Bassel Charaf 2114 6
9 FM Chahrour Ibrahim 2129 -   Asmar Elie 2016 5
10   Shamieh Jamal 2076 -   Sharbel Marwan 2006 4
11 FM El Jawich Amro 2169 - CM Abdulaziz Mahmoud 2101 3
1 FM Najjar Ahmad 2246 - FM Khairallah Faisal 2235 2

 

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