Ahmed Adly wins Arab-African Online Individual Chess Championship 2021

by Diana Mihajlova
3/3/2021 – More than 1600 players started in the Arab-African Online Invidiual Chess Championship 2021, a big online blitz (3+2) tournament that took place from 25th to 27th February, 2021, and that was organised by the Arab Chess Federation and the African Chess Confederation. The Egyptian Grandmaster Ahmed Adly won the tournament, WFM Ghayda Alattar from Jordan won the women's event. | All photos unless otherwise indicated: Arab Chess Federation

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Arab-African Online Individual Chess Championship 2021

Recently we have reported on the Africa Online Individual Championship https://en.chessbase.com/post/africa-online-individual-chess-championship-2021  Now, a title African-Arab Online Individual Championship might sound slightly confusing. Such a Championship indeed took place from 25th to 27th February, 2021. It was a brain child of the President of the Arab Chess Federation, Mr Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al Mualla who was also Head of the Championship’s Organising Committee. On his initiative, prompted by the current trend of online competitions, the African Chess Confederation and the Arab Chess Federation ‘merged’, for this occasion, so that players from both federations had the opportunity to compete. The goal was achieved by the starling number of participants: more than 1600!

It was meant to be the regular Arab Chess Championship until the Arab Chess Federation’s president got the ingenious idea to invite to a ‘marriage of convenience’ the African Chess Confederation. The move had positive implications on several accounts: using the chess playing platforms online, players that would normally be restricted to travel could play on an international level and gain both experience and rating opportunities.

Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al Mualla, the Arab Chess Federation’s  president

The Arab World is composed of 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. When it comes to chess, some African nations have the best of both worlds being African by geographical position and Arab by ethnic and cultural identity.  

In the Invitation letter to the Heads of the Arab and African Chess Federations the following aims are stated:

  • Raising the level of the Arab and African players
  • Continuity of work to improve the game of chess
  • Competitive activity and development of skills in practicing the game
  • Communication between member players of the two regions
  • Cooperation between the Arab Chess Federation and the African Chess Confederation.

Starting on Thursday 25 February, 2021 at 4:00 pm (GMT) and finishing on 27 February, 2021 the Championship was held in four stages: preliminary, men’s semi-final, female’s final and men’s final. The time control for each round was three minutes with an additional two seconds from the first move.

The Preliminary stage was actually an Open tournament in which Arab and African players with a standard rating of less than 2000, as well as non- rated players could participate. The first thirty winners would move to the semi-final stage for men from the category of male players.

The twenty best women from the preliminary stage would play in the final stage for female players.

The preliminary stage opened the door to all players, included unrated ones, among whom often there are some hidden talents. Like the unrated Moroccan player Arrami Mohamed who climbed to the first place in a competition against opponents rated up to 2000.

Arrami Mohamed from Morocco (Photo: the player’s Facebook page)

In the Semi-Final stage for men, the thirty finalists were joined by Arab and African male players with a standard rating between 2000 and 2400. Twenty top finishers of 180 players that took part in this stage would qualify for the final stage for men.

The five best players in the Semi-Final stage were awarded prizes: Adjerit Nourreddine (1967) from Algeria, Chigodo Mukai  Cyril (1953) from Zimbabwe, IM Ameir Moheb (2339) from Egypt, IM Boudriga Mohamed Ali (2294) from Tunisia and FM Sadek Sameh (2264) from Egypt.

Adjerit Nourreddine, the unrated Algerian won the first place in the Semi-Finals

Participants in the Final stage were Arab and African male players rated  above 2400, in addition to the first twenty finishers from  the Semi-final stage for men and the first placed winner of the females’ final stage.

Egyptian GM Ahmed Adly continues his victorious streak by winning this Championship as well, after claiming victory in the recently finished African Online Individual Championship https://en.chessbase.com/post/africa-online-individual-chess-championship-2021) He was followed by Algerian grandmasters Bilel Belhacene and Muhammad Haddouche, GM Adham Fawzy from Egypt and Keith Khumalo, the promising candidate master from South Africa.

The Final Stage winners

In the preliminary stage-women, the first four places were won by Algerians Nassr Rania (1745), Nassr Lina (1960), Hamza Amira (1882) and Guenadez Amina (1492); on the fifth place was Botlhole Kgalalelo (1713) from Botswana. From these, only the 18 year old Nassr Lina kept the pace until the end finishing fifth in the final stage.

WIM Botlhole Kgalalelo, a member of the Botswana’s national women’s team (Photo: Botswana Chess Federation)

In the final stage-women some of the best African and Arab women chess players participated, but the finalists did not come necessarily from the ranks of the highest rated representatives.

The African-Arab woman champion is WFM Alattar, Ghayda M.(1868) from Jordan. She was better on tie break but otherwise shared the first place with another Jordanian, WFM Boshra, Alshaeby (2033). They were followed by WIM Ayah Moaataz (2028) from Egypt, WGM Shahenda Wafa (2145) also from Egypt and WIM Nassr Lina (1960) from Algeria. The woman champion was entitled to take part in the men’s final stage.

The five women finalists in the Arab-African Online Championship

Apart from the great playing opportunity and experience that a huge number of players enjoyed, the Prize Fund was not negligible either. 100 USD received ten players from the Preliminary stage, the best male and the best female player in each of the rating groups U-1200, U-1400, U-1600, U-1800 and U-2000.

The first five top finishers in each stage were awarded equal prizes in the men and women groups, the highest being 400 USD  in the Preliminary Stage and 600 USD in the Semi Final – men and the Final –women. In the Final Stage – men the first place was awarded 1200 USD.

The organisers of the Arab-African Online Chess Championships 2021, Lewis Ncube, the president of the African Chess Confederation and Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al Mualla, president of the Arab Chess Federation

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A former university lecturer in Romance philology, she is currently a painter as well as a chess journalist, and reports regularly from the international tournament scene.

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