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Arab Individual Championship – Dubai 2021 – Round 1

A successful start

After a long break from over-the-board play, due to Covid-19, the Arab Individual Championship 2021, held in Dubai, was a great opportunity to the Lebanese players to touch the pieces over a real board, feel the real struggle, and what the real chess is all about.
Representing Lebanon were: in the Women section, WFM Maya Jalloul, and in the Open one: FM Amr El Jawich, FM Faisal Khairallah and the young Akram Khoder. The later won a bunch of Elo rating when he took part in the Blitz championship that preceded the Classical one.

When you play as White the classical variation against the King’s Indian Defense, your opening preparation must extend to a minimum of 20 moves, updated and polished. This is the enigma, I think, that faced the Kuwaiti FM Bader Al-Hajiri who was playing with the white pieces against Amr el Jawich. After just a dozen of moves, Bader’s position becomes critical, and very soon losing. Amr didn’t let his opponent take one breath and collected the point convincingly.

The London system adopted by Faisal against his experienced Egyptian IM Mohamad Ezzat was the right choice in the opening round of the championship. Ezzat sacrificed a pawn to complicate the task of the Lebanese player. But the later kept everything under control. After a massive exchange of pieces, the resulting rook endgame convinced the players to share the game point.

The Flohr-Mikenas system of the English opening results in an inferior ending for Akram against the Syrian FM Malik Konyahli. Akram, playing Black, defended well his position. The only weakness was his isolated e6-pawn, which was well guarded by his king. Malik pressured hard to break through Akram’s position, but all former attempts were in vain. Splitting the point was the logical result and a good start for the young Lebanese player in this tough competition.

Maya Jalloul’s win over the unrated Bahraini Najla Ahmad was not an easy task. After a successful King’s Indian formation of the Lebanese player against the English setup of her opponent, the decisive explosion occured at the king side, where the Bahraini player’s dark squares weaknesses, especially her king and its surrounding, was a decisive factor. Maya got a free hand in her game, as her opponent missed some play in the center and/or on the queenside. Maya’s f4-pawn played the role of a bone in the white’s throat. Mating the white king wasn’t a difficult task for Maya.
So, round 1 of the championship was a success for the Lebanese players.
Wish you all the good luck in the remaining rounds.



[Event "Arab Open Indiv. 2021"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2021.11.26"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Al-Hajiri, Bader"]
[Black "El Jawich, Amro"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E94"]
[WhiteElo "2044"]
[BlackElo "2309"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[SourceVersionDate "2012.10.13"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6
5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. Be3 Ng4 9. Bg5 f6 10. Bc1 Nh6 11. h3 c6 12.
Be3 f5 13. Bg5 Qe8 14. dxe5 dxe5 15. exf5 gxf5 16. c5 Nf7 17. Na4 e4 18. Bc4
exf3 19. Re1 Nde5 20. Qb3 Kh8 21. Bf4 Qd8 22. Bxf7 Nxf7 23. Rad1 Qf6 24. Qe3
Qg6 25. g3 Qh5 26. h4 Bf6 27. Bd6 Nxd6 28. cxd6 Bd7 29. Nc5 f4 30. Qc1 fxg3 31.
Nxd7 Qxh4 0-1

[Event "Arab Open Indiv. 2021"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2021.11.26"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Khairallah, Faisal"]
[Black "Ezzat, Mohamad"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D00"]
[WhiteElo "2247"]
[BlackElo "2418"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[SourceVersionDate "2012.10.13"]

1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5.
Nd2 g6 6. Ngf3 Bg7 7. Be2 O-O 8. Ne5 Nd7 9. Nxd7 Bxd7 10. O-O a5 11. Bf3 e5 12.
dxe5 Be6 13. Nb3 Qb6 14. Bxd5 Rad8 15. e4 Nxe5 16. Be3 Qc7 17. Bxc5 Rfe8 18.
Bd4 Bxd5 19. exd5 Rxd5 20. Re1 Red8 21. Qe2 a4 22. Nd2 Nc6 23. Be3 a3 24. Nc4
axb2 25. Qxb2 Ne5 26. Nxe5 Bxe5 27. Bb6 Qxc3 28. Qxc3 Bxc3 29. Bxd8 Bxa1 30.
Rxa1 1/2-1/2

[Event "Arab Open Indiv. 2021"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2021.11.26"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Konyahli, Malek"]
[Black "Khoder, Akram"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A18"]
[WhiteElo "2255"]
[BlackElo "1963"]
[PlyCount "70"]
[SourceVersionDate "2012.10.13"]

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. e4 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. e5 d4 6. exf6 dxc3 7. Bb5+ c6 8.
Qe2+ Be6 9. Bc4 Qxf6 10. dxc3 Bc5 11. Bxe6 Qxe6 12. Qxe6+ fxe6 13. Nf3 h6 14.
O-O Nd7 15. Re1 Kf7 16. Bf4 Rad8 17. Rad1 Bb6 18. h4 Rhe8 19. Rxd7+ Rxd7 20.
Ne5+ Ke7 21. Nxd7 Kxd7 22. Rd1+ Kc8 23. Rd2 h5 24. Re2 Kd7 25. g3 Rf8 26. Kg2
Rf5 27. Be5 g6 28. f4 Rf7 29. Kf3 Bd8 30. Rd2+ Ke8 31. Ke4 Rd7 32. Rg2 Kf7 33.
g4 hxg4 34. Rxg4 Bf6 35. Rg2 Rd1 1/2-1/2

[Event "Arab Women Indiv. 2021"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2021.11.26"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Najla, Ahmad"]
[Black "Jalloul, Maya"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A10"]
[BlackElo "1861"]
[PlyCount "76"]
[SourceVersionDate "2012.10.13"]

1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. Qc2 Nc6 4. e3 d6 5. Nge2 f5 6. g3
Nf6 7. Bg2 O-O 8. O-O e5 9. d3 Kh8 10. a3 a5 11. b3 Qe8 12. Bb2 g5 13. f4 Qh5
14. h3 Ne8 15. Kf2 gxf4 16. exf4 Qg6 17. Nd5 Be6 18. Ne3 Rg8 19. Bf3 Nf6 20.
Rh1 Nh5 21. Rag1 Rad8 22. g4 exf4 23. Nxf5 Bxf5 24. gxh5 Qh6 25. Bg4 Rdf8 26.
Bxg7+ Rxg7 27. Bxf5 Rxf5 28. Rxg7 Qxg7 29. Rg1 Qf6 30. Rg4 Ne5 31. Rg1 Qh4+ 32.
Kf1 Qxh3+ 33. Rg2 f3 34. Nf4 Rxf4 35. Kg1 fxg2 36. Qxg2 Qe3+ 37. Kh1 Rh4+ 38.
Qh2 Qe1+ 0-1