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39th Lebanese Individual Chess Championship

12 gladiators ready for the fight

This Saturday will be the Day. Mr. Nabil Badr, the president of the Lebanese Chess Federation, will press the start button of the first board clock, in the Golden Tulip hotel, Jnah branch, announcing the launching of the fight for the ultimate national title, the Champion of Lebanon. (Who is the best chess player in Lebanon) will be the question that the spectators and followers of the championship will ask. For a period of 11 days this championship will be the focal attention of all the amateurs and professionals alike.

The 12 gladiators: Who are they?

I will try to summarize the profile of each of them, and list them in the decreasing order by their corresponding Elo rating:

Gladiator # 1:

Faisal Khairallah

– Fide Master – Elo: 2271, the defending champion. He won the prestigious title in 2002, successfully defending it in 2003 and 2004, winning it back in 2008 (he won the 2008 rapid chess championship en-passant!), 2011 and 2012 (9 points out of 11). As member of the Olympic team in several Chess Olympiads, he represented Lebanon in several Arab and continental championships. As managing of Beirut Chess Academy is absorbing most of his time, will 2013 be a distinguished year? Will he find the necessary time to prepare properly for defending his title so that he can later celebrate his 7th anniversary of holding it?

Gladiator # 2:

Ahmad Najjar

– Fide Master – Elo: 2263, the player who can defeat any elite player. Just take a look at his games during the Olympiads and Arab and continental events.  This Mighty-Lucky player is famous, especially in the Arab chess circles, of his capability to snatch a draw or even a win from a lost position. He won the national title in 1999 and 2007. He also was the champion of rapid chess in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2011. Finishing 4th in the 2012 edition (7 points out of 11), will his expertise bring to him the ultimate national title?

Gladiator # 3:

Amro ElJawish

– Fide Master – Elo :2173. The youngest player ever to win the championship (he did it in 2010 at age of 15!). As member of the Olympic team in 2010 and 2012, he is considered as one of the new generation that the country is relying on in international competitions. He just returned from Amman, where he shared the 2-3 final ranking in the Arab U20 individual championship, missing the title of the championship (and the IM title) by just half a point, a prove of his potential. Finishing 2nd in the 2012 edition (8 points out of 11), Will he break the rules and win the 2013 national title?


Gladiator # 4:

Antoine Kassis

– Fide Master – Elo: 2166. This solid player won the title in 1995, and Champion of rapid chess in 2001, 2004, 2006, and 2010. He is considered the corner stone of every Lebanese Olympic team he was member of (check his games during the Istanbul Chess Olympiad 2012 and learn!). Finishing 3rd in the 2012 edition with 8 points out of 11, Will he succeed in wining it back?

Gladiator # 5:

Dr. Mahmoud Maasarani

– Elo: 2109. He is considered as one of the most solid players to beat. Several times champion of North of Lebanon, he nearly always finds a place in the leading part of the final standing of the national championships. With 6.5 points out of 11, he finished 5th in the 2012 edition, will he succeed in snatching it from the other gladiators?

Gladiator # 6:

Marwan Nassar

– Elo: 2091. The fighting spirit and the coolness of his play during the qualification phase for the championship were enough to reserve a place for this young player. His final score during Beirut Open (6.5 / 9) and especially his draw with GM Barsov, is an indicator for what Marwan is capable of. Touch wood.

Gladiator # 7:

AbdelAziz ElMahmoud

– Candidate Master – Elo: 2074. He is back!! Winning the prestigious title in 2000 and qualifying somewhat easily for the final stage of this year, the x-president of the Lebanese Chess Federation is back to Lebanon. Being a captain or player, this experienced International Arbiter has led several Lebanese delegations on the international chess scenes. A force not to be underestimated.

Gladiator # 8:

Bassel Charaf

– Elo: 2059. With 6.5 points out of 7, he was the clear winner of the qualification stage. Bassel is one of the candidate players who always targets a place on the podium. Which step of the podium he will stand on?


Gladiator # 9:

Ibrahim Shahrour

– Fide Master – Elo: 1980. The youngest gladiator! Although an increase of some 40 Elo points in a period of one year tells something, Ibrahim was the only player who succeeded in inflicting the only loss to the current champion. Their forthcoming encounter is long awaited impatiently by the spectators, who will be forced to hold their breath during this clash, and after it.


Gladiator # 10:

Tarek Moudallal

– Elo: 1968. Again in the Final! Will his attacking style shake his opponents? Tarek’s games are always full of tension and pleased to follow.

Gladiator # 11:

Nadim Hammoud

– Elo: 1944. Finally he made it J this opportunity was much awaited by Nadim, who is capable of everything, and he will prove that he is a real gladiator.

And the last gladiator is: ……………

Maya Jalloul

– Woman Fide Master – Elo: 1942. Yes, she participated in the qualification and proved for all that she deserves a place in the Final stage. Maya has represented Lebanon in several Olympiads and international events. I think that she will be the tigress that all the other gladiators will be afraid of. Will she do what Kanarik Mouradian did in 2005?

As you can see, dear reader, all the gladiators are rated. This makes the 39th edition the strongest championship ever in the history of Lebanese chess. Another heavy factor will be standing over the shoulders of the players is that the final standing of this championship will be, most probably, the key factor to the federation board in choosing the players of the 2014 Olympic team.




Round 1 of Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

Chahrour started with a Bang! On board 6, the youngest participant of the 39th Individual championship, FM Ibrahim Chahrour, playing with the white pieces, made the first blow of this prestigious event by beating the experienced FM Ahmad Najjar in a game full of strategic and tactical ideas. Using the English defense, Ahmad was trying …

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Round 10 of the Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

Who will be the Champion? With every round and every game the tension grows, especially on the leaders’ boards. Take for example board 3 game between Maya Jalloul (White) and Antoine Kassis. Nearly everyone expected an easy win of Tony over Maya, forgetting that she succeeded in drawing her game with the current champion Faisal …

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Round 11 of the Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

Surprise!! No champion till tomorrow In every championship surprises are always present, and this 2013 edition is no exception. In a thrilling game on board 1 between Ibrahim Chahrour and Dr. ahmoud Maasarani, the tension grew with every move. Some modest moves by Ibrahim permitted Dr. Mahmoud to launch a strong attack against Ibrahim’s king, …

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Round 2 of Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

The tigress hold down the lion’s assault The encounter between the highest seeded player and the lowest seeded one is always interesting. If we add that each one of them has to his credit a lot of prestigious titles, you will be sure that all the feelings that a chess player feels during the battle …

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Round 3 of the Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

FM Antoine Kassis – Solo With 3 points out of 3, Antoine Kassis increased the gap between him and his nearest rivals for a clear one point. His opponent in the 3rd round was no other than the experienced Ahmad Najjar, one of the toughest player to crack.  Some imprecise moves made by Ahmad in …

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Round 4 of the Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

Kassis held by Dr. Maasarani Adopting his usual solid setup, Dr. Mahmoud Maasarani put his system under test by the leader of the tournament Antoine Kassis. The usual aggressive style of the later gave him a substantial space advantage in the center, an advantage that he tried to increase it by the d4-break-through (possibly the …

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Round 5 of the Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

Bang Bang!! What a player needs to beat the current champion? A deep preparation? A high level of tactical and technical skills? Nerves of steel? Karpovian face? Energy for 4 hours play? Put all of those needs together in one set, embody them with a bunch of luck and gambling style, and here we go: …

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Round 6 of the Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

3 gladiators in the lead Before starting commenting on the round 6 games, let me, dear readers, apologize for not presenting you some pictures of the round, as I couldn’t assist it live due to some car problem. Also I take the opportunity to thank my 8000+ readers for their supports and consolidation of our/their …

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Round 7 of the Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

Chahrour leads by half point With his win over Nadim Hammoud, Ibrahim Chahrour took the lead alone in the after round 7 standing of the Lebanese Championship, profiting from the loss of Dr. Mahmoud Maasarani on the hands of Amr ElJawich and the draw result of Antoine Kassis with Faisal Khairallah. Nadim adopted the Accelerated …

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Round 8 of the Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

Gifts, sacrifices, or blunders? In every game of this exciting round, you can find, dear reader, at least one move that you have to contemplate for some time. Some can be considered gifts without expecting anything in return, and without making any damage in the position. Other moves are considered sacrifices, as they are the …

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Round 9 of the Lebanese Individual Chess Championship 2013 – Final Stage

Surprises in a White Round In a round where tension dominated on all boards, the white color emerged victorious over the black one, a rare occurrence in a championship event. This was not the only feature that distinguished the 9th round, but also the results of certain encounters. In a balanced middle game position, Bassel …

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