First International Chess Champion in Duhok, Iraq

11/28/2011 – This rare event was held in the Kurdish corner between Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, not the most peaceful area in the world. Two events were staged: a round robin with a GM, four IMs and four FMs; and an Open Tournament with IMs, FMs and CMs. The former was won by the Iraqi national team trainer GM Merab Gagunashvili with 7.0/9 points. Pictorial report by Salman Mohammed Qaseem.

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First International Chess Champion in Duhok, Iraq

Report by Salman Mohammed Qaseem Mayi

Duhok is the small and beautiful city, located in the northern side of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. It has about 350,000 inhabitants and is about 160 km from Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, south of the border to Turkey.


Click to explore the area in Google Maps

Iraq's first International Chess Championship, which was held in Duhok City, consisted of two tournaments. One was a closed ten-players event with one GM, four IMs, four FMs and one untitled player. It was won by Georgian GM Merab Gagunashvili, 2577, while the Open Tournament was won by the young Syrian player Iyti Basher, rated 2225.

The championship was held in Jiyan Hotel (five stars) in Duhok City, from 19th to 25th November 2011 and was jointly organized by the Iraqi Chess Federation and the Duhok Governorate. The time control for the games was one hour 30 min per player, with a 30 second increment from move one.


The five-star Jiyan Hotel, where the event took place

Players from eight countries participated in this event (Syria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Palestine, Morocco, Bahrain as well as Iraq). The opening ceremony took place on November 19 at 10:00 a.m. in the Jiyan Hotel, and was officiated by the Governor of Duhok Temer Ramadhan and the head of the Iraqi Chess Federation Dhafer A. Madhloom. The Open Tournament was played according to the Swiss System and was nine rounds, while the closed tournament an all-play-all round robin.


Duhok Valley dam, a touristic place near the city


Use your mouse to explore or click to do so on a larger map


Georgian GM and Iraqi national team trainer Merab Gagunashvili (2577, right) playing
Armenian IM H. Ovik, rated 2395, in the round robin. The game ended in a draw.


Iyti Basher, 2225, playing Iraqi women's team trainer IM Akaki
Shalamberidz, 2325, in the Rapid Tournament,


Georgian Chief Arbiter of the tournament FM Varlam Vepkhvishvili, rated 2310,
GM Merab Gagunashvili and IM Akaki Shalamberidze, rated 2325


The winner of the Open Tournament Iyiti Basher, rated 2225


The chief arbiter of the open tournament Azad Bilal, and the
head of the Duhok Chess Federation Kamal Jalaluldin

Final standings of the closed tournament

Rk
 Ti.
Name FED Rtg
Pts
1
GM
Guganishvili Merab GEO 2577
7.0
2
IM
Hayrapetian Ovik ARM 2395
6.5
3
FM
Abdulwahhab Ahmed Abdulsattar IRQ 2264
6.0
4
FM
Ahmed Ali Layth Ahmed IRQ 2290
6.0
5
IM
Shalamberidze Akaki GEO 2325
5.0
6
IM
Tissir Mohamed MAR 2413
4.5
7
FM
Ayyad Husain BRN 2209
4.0
8
IM
Qashashvili Alexandre GEO 2298
2.5
9
Manashvili Aleko GEO 2226
2.5
10
FM
Al-Bahadly Amjad Ali Mohammed IRQ 2257
1.0

Top standings of the Open Tournaments

Rk
 Ti.
Name FED Rtg
Pts
1
Iyti Basher SYR 2225
7.5
2
Gharagyozian Artur ARM 2237
6.5
3
IM
Obada Ahmad Azeezjawad IRQ 2353
6.5
4
FM
Mohammad Samir SYR 2368
6.0
5
FM
Bakr Jwan SYR 2307
6.0
6
Azam Zeno SYR 2180
6.0
7
IM
Al-Ali Hussein Ali Hussein IRQ 2392
6.0
8
FM
Salih Akar Ali Salih IRQ 2186
5.5
9
FM
Adil Ali Jalal IRQ 2253
5.5
10
Ares Saber Majeed IRQ 2110
5.5
11
FM
Ayyad Maher BRN 2157
5.5
12
FM
Al-Khattab Ghassan IRQ 2155
5.5
13
CM
Mohammed Zozik Salah IRQ 2265
5.0
14
CM
Nameer Noor Al-Deen IRQ 2219
5.0
15
Jamal Danar IRQ
5.0
16
CM
Mohammed Arpak Worya IRQ 2252
5.0
17
Al-Turaihi Dhari Satea IRQ 1973
5.0
18
FM
Al-Saadi Jumaa A Gatea IRQ 2217
5.0
19
Ramzi Khazel A Al-Dahwi IRQ 2055
5.0
20
Noori Salah IRQ 2088
4.5

About our reporter

Salman Mohammed Qaseem, seen playing in the event above, is a civil engineer from Duhok, Kurdistan of Iraq. He works as site manager in construction of Aram City Project in Duhok City. He graduated from the University of Duhok Civil Engineering Department in the 2006 Class. Salman speaks Kurdish, Arabic, English fluently and also some Turkish. He lists chess as favorite hobby and participates in local tournaments. He won the championship of Duhok Governorate three months ago. Salman also enjoying reporting for ChessBase


Autumn in Maye Village Duhok, where Salman is from – the Kurdistan of Iraq


Beautiful nature in the Duhok region

Copyright ChessBase


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