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Round 4 of Zonal 3.1 – Doha 2013

Maya won, Fadi drew masterly with GM El-Modiahki

Maya did it again (I told you!) and over her Qatari opponent Aisha Al-Khelaifi. In adopting the English opening, Maya was relying on her better understanding of the middle-game positions that could arose from this Sicilian-reverse opening. After some ups and downs, she succeeded in invading with her queen the weakened light squares around her opponent’s king. A mistake from the Qatari player enabled a white h4-knight to jump g6 with a deadly effect.

Yesterday, when I read the round 4 pairings, I felt optimistic about the encounter between Fadi (Black) and the Qatari GM Mohammad El-Modiahki. I don’t know why, may be because Fadi will be too motivated every time he has to play a much higher opponent (Who isn’t?!). I logged in to the server at the moment when Maya has already won her game, and Fadi was moving his bishop backward and forward, from a6 to b5, sending a message to his opponent: well, let’s go home (my italics).

While the game was still in progress, I started scrolling down the game moves from the beginning, wasn’t surprised to see 1..Nc6 from Fadi. But, after White’s 10th move, the reached position was a chock for the eyes:

White has already a castled, 2 centralized knights, full center, and meanwhile, Black’s king is still in the center, with 3 islands of pawns, undeveloped minor pieces, and the  evaluation is: Black has a playable position!!!

After an instructive endgame play, the Qatari GM finally understood Fadi ‘s deeper strategic defense, and the peace was signed.

I couldn’t refrain but to express my admiration the Fadi’s play. Today’s game and yesterday’s one, with knights on a8 and h8, force me to shout: Fadi, you need to change one letter from your tittle: the (I) to a (G).

In zonal tournament, every round  is a critical one, but tomorrow’s one is a distinguished one, as Maya will face the X-World Champion Zhu Chen with the black pieces, while Fadi will face the Jordanian IM Sami Khodr Safarini with the white ones.

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