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Round 7 of the 37th Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2011: Khairallah sole leader

By: Charles Kayle

The encounters of the 7th round produced an important change in the after-round-7 standing of the 37th Lebanese individual championship. On the first board, BasselSharaf, playing with the black pieces, faced the English defense adopted by his opponent Ahmad Najjar during the tournament and equalized easily after some passive play from the later. In order to create something, Najjar conceded the bishop pair to his opponent, when the later profited from this gift to generate a strong initiative in the issuing endgame, and created a menacing passed a-pawn:


What distinguishes this ending is not the position by itself, but the difference in chess approach between the old generation and the new one. And the main difference is: experience. Najjar posted his rook on the 7th rank, locking in the black king, and putting the pass a-pawn under surveillance.  Two things are still missing: the centralization of his king and creation of his own chances. And that what he did (position after black 54th move):



This created a huge pressure on Bassel’ shoulders, who was already in time trouble. But he was up to the task, defended very well, and reached a rook-vs.-bishop ending to reach a draw.

On board 2, in a balanced opening phase of the symmetrical English defense (yes, again!), Mahmoud Maasarani , playing White against Faisal Khairallah, felt too ambitious. In the following position reached after the 21st Black move:

He played22 exd5 ?! (Instead of the better 22 bxc4) exd5 23 Nxd5?? (dreaming of 23..Bxd5 24 dxc4 with some advantage), he got a cold shower with the cool 23..cxb3 and you must be the lottery-winner man if you can save this game against Faisal.

With this win, Faisal took the lead with 6 points out of 7, followed by Ahmad with 5.5 points.

The 3rd board witnessed the nightmare for the player: arriving late at the board after expiring the tolerance period. And that what happened to Daniel Kobeisi (Black) who dropped the point, by forfeit, to Roland Akhras.

Board 4 was the battlefield between the promising young player Michel Adeimi (White) and the experienced Antoine Kassis. The ending was a fight between the Antoine’s 2 bishops and Michel’s 2 knights. An open board, plus open files are the requirements for Antoine’s army to invade:

And, as everybody knows, the advantage of having the 2 bishops is that you can exchange one of them for one of the opponent’s knight in order to transform one advantage to another much valuable. And that what Antoine did. Later he collected the central white d-pawn, a piece, and a point.

When 2 young tactical and promising players faced each other, the game should be an explosive one. And the spectators weren’t disappointed. Ibrahim Shahrour, playing Black, adopted the highly tactical Dragon variation of the Sicilian defense against the current champion Amr ElJawish. Each side tried to attack the other’s king. The following diagram shows the position after white 15th move:

It seems that the Black’s minority attack is much quicker that the White’s. After 15..a4 16 Bd5 b4, White played 17 Ne2 ?! , avoiding the highly unclear 17 Bxa8 bxc3 18 Qxd6 Qxa8 19 gxh5, to reach after Black ‘s  22nd move the following diagram:

Black has a winning position, but needed to play precisely if he wishes to collect the point. The only hope for White is to continue his attack. And that what he did, by opening the h-file for his rook:

23 h5 Qe8 (better is 23..e5, but still Black has a clear advantage) 24 hxg6 Qxg6 25 Bf4 Rab8 26 c3 Be5 ? (26.. e3 or 26..f2 are much better) 27 Bxe5 dxe5:

Now, instead of 28 Qe7, Amr miscalculated and made the blunder: 28 Nxe4?? ( to be sincere, the black’s king and queen alignment is very provocative, as clearing the g-file may seem winning) 28 fxe4 29 Qe7 (if 29 Rdg1 Bg4 30 Qe7 f2!!) Qg7 ?? (incredible. 29..Bg4 !! and Black is again winning)  30 Rdg1 Bg4 31 Rxg4 !! Rf7 (31..Qxg4 32 Qh7 mat – highlight of opening the h-file) 32 RxQ+ RxR 33 Qe6+ and Black resigned. What a game!

On board 6, the Centre Game was the opening adopted by Amin Haidar, as White, against Marwan sharbel, when they reached the following position after Black’s 13th move:

Amin played 14 Nf6+, on which Marwan replied with 14 Kf8?! It was much better the exchange that knight, as the Black king prohibited the h-rook from its freedom. A passed pawn created a lot of worries to Black, and after he succeeded in liberating his cornered rook, another adjacent passed appeared on the board, both of them, when reaching the 7th rank, forced Black nothing but to resign the game.

Passivity was again the strategy adopted by Jihad ElHusseini , as White , against Marwan Nassar, who profited from his passed pawn, open-f-file and centralized pieces to collect the point.

Rank after round 7
Rank SNo. Name Rtg FED Pts Fide
1 1 FM Khairallah Faisal 2283 LIB 6 22½
2 2 FM Najjar Ahmad 2267 LIB 23
3 3 CM Kassis Antoine 2230 LIB 18
4 9 BasselCharaf 2034 LIB 17
5 13 Akhrass Roland 1946 LIB 15½
6 8 Shamieh Jamal 2068 LIB 4 17½
7 5 CM El JawichAmro 2155 LIB 4 14½
8 6 Maasarani Mahmoud 2111 LIB 15
9 11 Daniel Kobeissi 2024 LIB 14½
10 7 Nassar Marwan 2072 LIB 13
11 15 Haidar Amin 0 LIB 11½
12 14 Adeimi Michel 1895 LIB 3 15½
13 12 FM Chahrour Ibrahim 1966 LIB 3 14½
14 10 Sharbel Marwan 2028 LIB 2 7
15 16 Jihad Al Husseini 0 LIB 1 5



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