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Round 3 of the 37th Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2011 :Najjar escapes from a sure defeat

By : Charles Kayle


What a round! During several years of chess competitions, I have  witnessed  on several occasions a lot of games played by Ahmad Najjar, who, when reaching  critical or lost positions,  found a certain way to save his scalp and even emerged victorious. But this game is much more different. It is like a Houdini magical escape.

On board 1, playing with the White pieces against the ambitious, and 4 times Champion of Lebanon, Faisal Khairallah, the later obtained, after just the 17 moves of White, a very advantageous position, which deserves a diagram:

It is like a Four Pawns Attack facing the Modern Defense with reversed colors! In this position, Faisal brock through by 17..c4, followed by a sacrifice on e3, and reaching, after the 58th move by White, the following position:

Now, it is like a (Black to play and Win) position. And Faisal found the superb 58..Rxf3!! 59 Nxf3 Bg2 60 Ke4. Now he played the imprecise 60 ..g4 ?! Later, as was communicated to me by the player himself, Faisal mentioned 60..Ke6!! And the Black king would hold the 2 white passed pawns, as the black king is inside the square!! What a missed opportunity. As Grand Master  Vassily Yemelin used to tell me: Well, That’s life!


Board 2 saw another solid draw by Jamal Shamiyeh (White) facing the Olympic player Antoine Kassis. Jamal was wise by choosing the equalizer exchange variation of the Slav defense adopted by Antoine, reaching an opposite colored bishops position with no entry point for either side.

The battle of Youth could be the appropriate title of the board 3 game, between Ibrahim Chahrour and Michel Adeimi. Although a queen-less middle game appeared quickly on the board, the ending was played solidly by both players to reach en ending of same-colored bishops, handled easily by both of them and ended peacefully.


Board 4 was a witness of the first drama of the championship, when Bassel Sharaf, asWhite, was facing the current champion Amr ElJawish. After 1.b3 Nf6 2 Bb2 g6 Bassel played 3 BxN releasing himself of the 2 bishops, and relying on his static advantage and the 2 knights maneuvering. In the meantime,  Amr was engineering a certain initiative on the kingside, to reach the following position after white’s 20th move:

Amr played 20..Qe7?! It appeared later, after a certain analysis, that 20..Qc7 or even 20..Qa5, Black could have shares of chances in the middle game. But, time trouble was looming again on the Black side. Amr tried some desperate attack on Bassel’s King. The later defended well, and collected the point.


Another draw was the result of  Mahmoud Maasarani – Amin Haidar game on board 5. After imprecise moves from Black, White reached an advantageous position, netting a pawn in the endgame as show in the following diagram:

But an extra pawn in this position is sometimes not enough to win. And after several attempts by Maasarani, a draw was signed.


Board 6 was the battlefield between the young Daniel Kobeisi (White) and the experienced Marwan Nassar. In an Alapin- Sveshnikov Sicilian, Daniel emerged with the classical center and space advantage. Those advantages were transformed methodically by White into an attack against the Black king.

After defending for several moves, Marwan played 27..f5, dreaming of counter-attack on the White King, missing that his move has weakened the g5 square. Daniel profited immediately from his opponent’s mistake and played 28 Ng5. Later the black position deteriorated, and an extra bishop was an enough reason for Marwan to stop the clocks.

The Dragon variation with Maroczy setup was played by Roland Akhrass (White) and Marwan Sharbel on the 7thboard. An interesting opening novelty by Roland (7. Nf3), avoiding the main path, didn’t change much of the equilibrium of the game, till the played 17th black move:


Roland played 18 Bg5 and after hesitated play by Sharbel, the former succeeded in creating a dangerous attack on the g and h files to collect the point. But a win was missed in the diagram position. The motive is the Bf3 opposite to the Qc6. After 18 fxg6 fxg6 19 Bxd4 exd4 20 e5!! Was a faster way to win.

As a conclusion, these round games are the proof that all the players are in fighting mood, and no dull play even with the peaceful results ones.




(1) Najjar,Ahmad (2267) – Khairallah,Faisal (2283)

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 Nh6 6.0–0 Nf5 7.b3 a6 8.Bb2 b5 9.d3 Rb8 10.Qd2 0–0 11.e3 e5 12.Ne2 Re8 13.cxb5 axb5 14.Rac1 Qb6 15.Rfd1 d5 16.Qc2 Bf8 17.Nd2 c4 18.dxc4 Nxe3 19.fxe3 Qxe3+ 20.Kh1 Nb4 21.Nf1 Nxc2 22.Nxe3 Nxe3 23.Bxd5 Nxd1 24.Rxd1 bxc4 25.Bxc4 Bb7+ 26.Kg1 Bc5+ 27.Kf1 Rbd8 28.Rxd8 Rxd8 29.Ke1 Bb4+ 30.Bc3 Bxc3+ 31.Nxc3 Kf8 32.a4 Ke7 33.Ke2 f5 34.a5 Rc8 35.Kd3 Kd6 36.Na4 Ra8 37.b4 g5 38.Nb6 Ra7 39.Kc3 f4 40.gxf4 exf4 41.Be2 Ke6 42.Bg4+ Kf7 43.Nc4 Bd5 44.Nd6+ Kg6 45.Kd4 Bg2 46.Nc4 Bf1 47.Ne5+ Kf6 48.Nc6 Ra8 49.Bf3 Re8 50.Kc5 Re3 51.Nd4 Ke5 52.Nc6+ Kf5 53.Nd4+ Ke5 54.Nc6+ Kf6 55.Nd4 Rc3+ 56.Kd5 Ra3 57.Kc5 Rc3+ 58.Kd5 Rxf3 59.Nxf3 Bg2 60.Ke4 g4 61.Kxf4 gxf3 62.Kg3 Bf1 63.Kxf3 Kf5 64.Kf2 Ba6 65.Ke3 Ke5 66.Kf3 h5 67.Ke3 Bb5 68.Kf3 Bc4 69.Ke3 Ba6 70.Kf3 Kf5 71.Ke3 Kg4 72.Kd4 Kh3 73.Kc5 Kxh2 74.b5 Bc8 75.a6 h4 76.a7 Bb7 77.Kb6 Bf3 78.Kc7 Kg1 79.b6 h3 80.b7 Bxb7 ½–½



(2) Shamieh,Jamal (2068) – Kassis,Antoine (2230)

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bf4 Ne4 7.e3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 Qa5 9.Qb3 g6 10.Ne5 Bg7 11.Bb5 Bxe5 12.Bxe5 0–0 13.Bf4 Bd7 14.0–0 Nxd4 15.cxd4 Qxb5 16.Qa3 Rfe8 17.Rab1 Qa6 18.Qxa6 bxa6 19.Rb7 Bb5 20.Rc1 Bc4 21.a3 a5 22.Rcb1 a4 23.R1b4 a6 24.R4b6 Bb5 25.Rb8 Kg7 26.Rxe8 Rxe8 27.Rb8 Rxb8 28.Bxb8 f6 29.f3 Kf7 30.Kf2 Ke6 31.Ba7 Kd7 32.g4 Bd3 33.Bc5 e6 34.h4 e5 35.g5 fxg5 36.hxg5 Ke6 37.f4 exf4 38.exf4 Kf5 39.Ke3 ½–½


(3) Chahrour,Ibrahim (1966) – Adeimi,Michel (1895)

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.f4 e5 5.d5 Ne7 6.fxe5 dxe5 7.Nf3 Ng6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.Qd2 h6 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.0–0–0 0–0 12.h3 Nh4 13.Qf2 a6 14.g3 Nxf3 15.Qxf3 Bg5+ 16.Kb1 Qf6 17.Qxf6 Bxf6 18.h4 Be7 19.Be2 Bb4 20.Rd3 f5 21.Rf1 fxe4 22.Rxf8+ Kxf8 23.Nxe4 Ke7 24.a3 Bd6 25.g4 Bd7 26.c4 Kf7 27.Nxd6+ cxd6 28.Rb3 b5 29.cxb5 axb5 30.Rb4 Ra5 31.Kc2 Ke7 32.Kd2 Kd8 33.Ke3 Kc7 34.g5 hxg5 35.hxg5 Ra4 36.Bd1 Rxb4 37.axb4 Kd8 38.Be2 Ke7 39.Bd3 Kf7 40.Kf3 Kf8 41.Kg3 Be8 42.Kg4 Bd7+ 43.Kg3 Be8 44.Kg4 Bf7 45.Be4 Ke7 46.g6 Be8 47.Kg5 Bd7 48.Bd3 Kd8 49.Be4 Bc8 50.Bd3 Bb7 51.Be4 Ke7 52.Bf3 Kf8 53.Be4 Bc8 54.Bd3 Bd7 55.Be4 Ke8 56.Bd3 Ke7 57.Be4 Bh3 58.Bf3 Bf1 59.Be4 Bc4 60.Kf5 Bb3 61.Kg5 Bd1 62.Kf5 Be2 63.Kg5 Bf1 64.Kf5 Bh3+ 65.Kg5 Bd7 66.Bd3 Ke8 67.Be4 Kf8 68.Bd3 Ke7 69.Be4 Bh3 70.Bf3 Bc8 71.Be4 Kd8 72.Bd3 Bd7 73.Be4 Bh3 74.Bf3 Ke7 75.Be4 Ke8 76.Bf3 Bf1 77.Be4 Be2 78.Kf5 Kd7 79.Kg5 Bf1 80.Kf5 Bh3+ 81.Kg5 Kc7 82.Bf3 Kb6 83.Be4 Bf1 84.Kf5 Bh3+ 85.Kg5 Kc7 86.Bf3 Kd8 87.Be4 Bf1 88.Kf5 Ke7 89.Kg5 ½–½



(4) Bassel,Charaf (2034) – El Jawich,Amro (2155)

1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 g6 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.c4 f5 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Rc1 0–0 7.g3 d6 8.Bg2 Nc6 9.a3 Re8 10.e3 h5 11.Nf3 g5 12.h4 g4 13.Ng1 Ne5 14.d4 Ng6 15.Nge2 c6 16.b4 Bd7 17.b5 a6 18.bxc6 bxc6 19.0–0 Rb8 20.Rb1 Qe7 21.Rxb8 Rxb8 22.Qa4 c5 23.Qxa6 cxd4 24.Nxd4 Be5 25.Nd5 Qd8 26.Nc6 Bxc6 27.Qxc6 Rb2 28.Qc7 Qe8 29.a4 Kg7 30.a5 Qa4 31.Nf4 Nxf4 32.gxf4 Bf6 33.Bd5 Qe8 34.a6 Ra2 35.a7 Bxh4 36.a8Q Rxa8 37.Bxa8 Qxa8 38.Qxd6 Qf3 39.Qd5 Qe2 40.Qxf5 g3 41.Qh3 gxf2+ 42.Kg2 1–0

(5) Maasarani,Mahmoud (2111) – Haidar,Amin

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 f5 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.0–0 e6 5.d3 Bd6 6.c4 c6 7.Nc3 Bb4 8.cxd5 exd5 9.a3 Be7 10.b4 a5 11.Bf4 Bd6 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 13.e4 dxe4 14.dxe4 Qxd1 15.Rfxd1 fxe4 16.Ng5 axb4 17.axb4 Rxa1 18.Rxa1 Na6 19.b5 cxb5 20.Nxb5 Nc5 21.Nd6+ Ke7 22.Ngxe4 Ncxe4 23.Nxe4 Nxe4 24.Bxe4 Kd6 25.Rc1 h6 26.f3 Rf8 27.Kf2 g5 28.Ke3 h5 29.Rd1+ Ke7 30.Rb1 h4 31.Bxb7 hxg3 32.hxg3 Bxb7 33.Rxb7+ Kf6 34.Rb6+ Ke5 35.g4 Rg8 36.Ra6 Rg7 37.Ra5+ Kf6 38.Rf5+ Kg6 39.Re5 Kf6 40.Ke4 Ra7 41.Rf5+ Kg6 42.Rd5 Ra4+ 43.Rd4 Ra6 44.Ke5 Ra3 45.Rd6+ Kg7 46.Ke4 Ra4+ 47.Kf5 Rf4+ 48.Kxg5 Rxf3 49.Rd7+ Kg8 50.Kg6 Rf8 51.g5 Ra8 52.Rg7+ Kh8 53.Re7 Kg8 54.Rg7+ Kh8 55.Rd7 Kg8 56.Rd6 Rb8 57.Kh6 Ra8 58.Rd7 Rb8 59.Rd6 Ra8 60.Kg6 Rb8 61.Kf6 Ra8 62.Ke7 Kg7 63.Rd5 Kg6 ½–½



(6) Daniel,Kobeissi (2024) – Nassar,Marwan (2072)

1.e4 c5 2.c3 b6 3.d4 Bb7 4.Bd3 Nf6 5.Qe2 g6 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.0–0 0–0 8.Bg5 c4 9.Bc2 b5 10.Nbd2 Ne8 11.a4 a6 12.axb5 axb5 13.Rxa8 Bxa8 14.Ra1 Nc7 15.b3 cxb3 16.Bxb3 d6 17.Qe3 Nc6 18.h4 Qd7 19.h5 e6 20.hxg6 hxg6 21.Bh6 Rc8 22.g3 f6 23.Kg2 Bxh6 24.Qxh6 Qg7 25.Qf4 Rd8 26.Rh1 Ne7 27.Nf1 f5 28.Ng5 Bxe4+ 29.f3 Ned5 30.Qd2 Bxf3+ 31.Kxf3 Nf6 32.Nxe6 Nxe6 33.Bxe6+ Kf8 34.Qh6 Qxh6 35.Rxh6 Kg7 36.Rh2 Ne4 37.Bb3 Rc8 38.Rc2 Nxc3 39.Ne3 Rc7 40.Nd1 b4 41.Nxc3 bxc3 42.Ke3 Kf6 43.Kd3 Kg5 44.Rxc3 Re7 45.Kd2 f4 46.gxf4+ Kxf4 47.Rc6 Rd7 48.Be6 Rd8 49.Rc8 Rxc8 50.Bxc8 Ke4 51.Kc3 g5 52.Bb7+ d5 53.Bc8 Ke3 54.Bh3 1–0



(7) Akhrass,Roland (1946) – Sharbel,Marwan (2028)

1.e4 d6 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.c4 c5 5.Nc3 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Nf6 8.Be2 0–0 9.0–0 Bg4 10.Be3 Rc8 11.Rc1 Bxf3 12.gxf3 Qd7 13.Kh1 Rfd8 14.Rg1 e5 15.f4 Nd4 16.f5 Qc6 17.Bf3 Re8 18.Bg5 Qa6 19.b3 Qc6 20.h4 Qd7 21.Bg4 Nxg4 22.Qxg4 Rc5 23.Nd5 Qc8 24.Bf6 Rxd5 25.cxd5 Qb8 26.fxg6 hxg6 27.Bg5 a6 28.Rg3 f5 29.exf5 gxf5 30.Qh5 f4 31.Rg4 Rc8 32.Rxc8+ Qxc8 33.Bh6 Qc1+ 34.Rg1 Qxg1+ 35.Kxg1 1–0