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40th Lebanese Individual Championship – Final Stage – Round 3

Round 3: Faisal – Sole Leader

With his win over Dr. Mahmoud Maasarani on board 1, Faisal Khairallah emerged from the round 3 of the Championship as the sole leader after the setback of the current champion Ibrahim Shahrour against Bassel Charaf.  With a perfect score (3 points out of 3), he is edging Bassel by just a half point.

The Italian game, by transposition, was present on the board between Faisal and Mahmoud. A balanced middle game arose with chances for both sides. At the critical moment Faisal constructed an aggressive setup against Mahmoud’s king side, the later countered in the center, creating a passed pawn on the queen side. After some imprecise moves by both parties, Faisal emerged with a clear advantage due to his better king protection, and dangerous (a+e) passed pawns. The extra knight and the going-to-appear white queen forced Mahmoud to resign.

While the other players were still adjusting their pieces and preparing them to be developed for the opening phase, AbdelAziz Mahmoud – Ahmad Najjar game on board 2 was already in its end game one. AbdelAziz’ strategy, exchanging everything, helped Ahmad by improving his king and knights, resulting in a passed pawn on the king side, and a pawn majority on the other side of the board. These advantages were manipulated in a nice technique, forcing AbdelAziz to sacrifice his remaining pieces, hoping for miracle, that didn’t come.

A slow and maneuvering game occurred on board 3 between Marwan Sharbel and Amr El Jawish. The manipulating of the 2 bishops by Amr resulted in netting him a pawn, forcing Marwan to enter the endgame phase, seeking salvation. The endgame bishops of same color demanded a great technique, and Amr showed his expertise by calculating, till the end, the winning variation. The threat of the appearance of a black queen forced Marwan to resign. An instructive technical lesson to teach to your pupils.

On board 4, the exchange variation of the Queen’s gambit was played between Elie Asmar and Jamal Shamieh. Elie tried as much as he can to generate a certain attack against Jamal’s king. Nothing of this sort. The game entered its endgame phase with equal chances for both of them. But Elie’s severe time trouble was affecting this play. Jamal’s cool head enabled him to calculate the variations in good manner, sacrificing his knight for Elie’s only hope, his passed g-pawn, to enter a winning King+pawns vs Knight+pawns endgame. Sorry to repeat myself, but the threat of the appearance of a black queen forced Elie to stop the clock.

Board 5 witnessed a fearful battle between Bassel Charaf and Ibrahim Chahrour. A very complicated middle game arose, with chances for both sides. The reached phase demanded a high level of calculation, and White emerged from the complication with a clear advantage, to start a combination based on missed calculation. Ibrahim didn’t spot the flow of it, and succumbed to the trap laid by Bassel. The threat of losing materials forced Ibrahim to resign.

Before writing this article, I was hesitating about what title to choose for it. I was hesitating between the present one and the (Knights Dance). This title applied perfectly to the board 6 game between Khaled Shehab and Antoine Kassis. More than 50 % of the moves were knight jumps, and to what squares!! The g1 and h1 squares seem stuck to Khaled’s knights. Nimzowitsch surely was feeling the anger watching the game from above as White didn’t win with the knight visiting h1 several times (Do you know Nimzowitsch-Rubinstein Dresden 1926 game?). Khaled played the game without any threat, leaving to Antoine the way he likes to construct his middle game pieces setup, netting the later a couple of pawns, and the game point.

Round 3 results:

SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
2 FM Khairallah Faisal 2235 1  -  0 Maasarani Mahmoud 2103 12
3 CM Abdulaziz Mahmoud 2101 0  -  1 FM Najjar Ahmad 2247 1
4 Sharbel Marwan 2006 0  -  1 FM El Jawich Amro 2171 11
5 Asmar Elie 2016 0  -  1 Shamieh Jamal 2076 10
6 Bassel Charaf 2114 1  -  0 FM Chahrour Ibrahim 2133 9
7 Shihab Khaled 2112 0  -  1 FM Kassis Antoine 2177 8
Round 4 on 2014/06/17 at 6 PM
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 Maasarani Mahmoud 2103 - FM Kassis Antoine 2177 8
9 FM Chahrour Ibrahim 2133 - Shihab Khaled 2112 7
10 Shamieh Jamal 2076 - Bassel Charaf 2114 6
11 FM El Jawich Amro 2171 - Asmar Elie 2016 5
1 FM Najjar Ahmad 2247 - Sharbel Marwan 2006 4
2 FM Khairallah Faisal 2235 - CM Abdulaziz Mahmoud 2101 3

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