Chess fever in Cairo (2/2)

by Alina l'Ami
5/13/2016 – In this second part of the report, enjoy the visit to the pyramids, and the climb, as well as the timeless ride on a camel, albeit that takes getting used to. It was not the smoothest event for some players, but top Egyptian GM Ahmed Adly had no such issues as he stormed to a near perfect 8.5/9, with very enterprising play. Here is the report with tons of photos and analysis.

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A camel's walk is odd, irregular, and herky-jerky; and since they won't listen anyway, better
not try to be in control, “let yourself sway with the camel...”, says Omar.

An off- the-board handshake to wish Marian a good and pleasant journey

Let's say this up front: riding a camel is not one of the most comfortable experiences you can
ever imagine.(Ed: my Lawrence of Arabia dreams just took a hit)

Once you accept that the worst thing that could happen is just to fall on the (hopefully) soft sand, the experience is simply amazing – so enjoy the elevated views!

Petrov - Wageih

[Event "Egypt Open 2016"] [Site "Eastern Company Club"] [Date "2016.04.26"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Petrov, Marian"] [Black "Wageih, Kareim"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2447"] [BlackElo "2336"] [Annotator "AA"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1r1qkb1r/3n3p/p3pp2/1p1pPpB1/N2P4/2Q2P2/PP3P1P/2R1K1R1 w k - 0 20"] [PlyCount "9"] [EventDate "2016.04.22"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "EGY"] {How would you continue with White? The Bulgarian GM went for the logical} 20. exf6 {which brought him only half a point} ({In true Egyptian style} 20. Nc5 $1 {would have hit the jackpot!} fxg5 (20... Nxc5 $2 21. Bxf6 $1) 21. Nxe6 Qb6 22. Nc7+ Kd8 23. Nxd5 Qb7 {Another positional sacrifice, which I simply admire a lot! White can even go} 24. Qc6 $44 {where exchanging the queens is beneficial only for White. Black's pieces are paralyzed, White's central pawns are very dangerous and their black fellows too weak; I would put my money on 1-0. But I must admit, not so easy to evaluate these unbalanced positions...}) 20... bxa4 21. f7+ Kxf7 22. Bxd8 Bb4 23. Ba5 Bxc3+ 24. Bxc3 {Marian drew the endgame and finished on a shared 2nd place, with 7.5/9.} 1/2-1/2

A trip to Egypt is never complete without stopping by the Great Sphinx of Giza, together
with your newly made friends.

The Egyptians I had the privilege to meet during my stay were so kind... which backfires at times, as some foreigners would interpret the local people's gestures as far-fetched, unnatural or even furtive, especially in touristy places. That said, my experience is at the opposite pole and I will not forget the way they supported or greeted me, quite exhaustively, “Welcome to Cairo, my friend”.

In spite of everything, Egyptians are very bubbly, friendly and helpful
people. They want to talk to you, show you places, practice their English,
propose marriage, you know, the usual.

And they love taking photos. A LOT of them! Luckily (or not?!) they caught a Tartar

Inside the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, one of the landmarks and tourist attractions of Cairo

However, mosques and pyramids are not the only ones to be admired and churches are proudly standing too

Before it was invaded in 640 AD by an Arab army, Egypt was a Christian nation and its people
were known as the Copts. Here you can see the Hanging Church (aka St. Virgin Mary’s Coptic
Orthodox Church) dating from the third century.

Children will always be in complete harmony with the others, with the world and with themselves

Where there is peace and meditation, there is less room for doubt. Plus: some answers cannot
be answered by Google, especially in imbalanced chess positions...

The blundering competition: Because we focused on the snake, we missed the scorpion (Egyptian proverb)

I was not the only one to mess up winning positions. In the diagram above, Black's last move was 1... Rc7? allowing me to continue with 2. Rxb6 as 2...Ne6+ does not work in view of 3.Rxe6+ and game over. Obviously I missed that and played the 'great' 2.Kf3, followed by one bad move after another and went on to even lose the game. Ouch.

We all threw away rating points for absolutely no reason, as the Bulgarian GM, Marian Petrov, didn't manage to win either with an exchange and a pawn up (above). At least he did make a draw, unlike yours truly or...

... the Egyptian IM Ezat Mohamed (above) where he was a rook up with a winning game but ended in a supposedly forced repetition, with Qg3-Nh5-Qe3-Nf4-Qg3 etc. Instead, he decided to go 1. Rf1?? and after 1...Nh3+ the queen on e3 started crying. At least Ezat had the 'satisfaction' of having made just one crucial mistake while me...I was simply outplayed, which is much worse.

Maybe I can blame the sun?!

Not really, as I found a good antidote: it is not beer, even though it looks like. Fresh sugar
cane is gold after a roasting day.

How did we recover after the chess blows?! It is never easy I must say but brooding over blunders is not too helpful either.

“I wish I had seen that before...”

The most beautiful games are not perfect. No need to panic after a less fortunate move
(I am communicating that to my brain as well).

Full concentration is always needed

Even if you want to quit chess, this game will not allow it. Here is the doctor and a big
chess lover, FM Ahmed Ali Layth Ahmed from Iraq.

“Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake” (Tartakower)

What did help against the inevitable errors was the emotional backup and the efforts of the organizers & locals alike to make us forget (and enjoy) through a variety of well-timed excursions.

More chess? Well, what can you do when it is so much fun?!

To be honest, climbing the pyramids overshadowed chess. A bit.

A friend in need is a friend indeed

Back to the future is 'easy'; it is back to the past that's hard

A slice of the Pharaonic times experienced by the chess players...

… who were treated like kings on the organized Nile cruise.

Undoubtedly part of the program!

The same kind of encouragement, though undoubtedly on a larger scale, was experienced by the tournament winner, the super-star Ahmed Adly. No idea what has happened to him though, as he won the event with only 8.5/9?!

Massive support, massive score for Ahmed

Adly - Abdel

[Event "Egypt Open 2016"] [Site "Eastern Company Club"] [Date "2016.04.28"] [Round "9.1"] [White "Adly, Ahmed"] [Black "Abdel Fadil, Mohamed"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A46"] [WhiteElo "2601"] [BlackElo "2217"] [Annotator "AA"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1b1rbk1/2qn1ppp/2pp1n2/p3p3/1pPPP3/4BNPP/PPQ1NPB1/2RR2K1 w - - 0 15"] [PlyCount "35"] [EventDate "2016.04.22"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "EGY"] {The top seed and the local hero, GM Ahmed Adly, didn't disappoint his fans. On the contrary, he won the tournament in style, with a massive number of wins, eight to be precise, delighting the public with his entertaining play. In the following game, a critical moment appeared and the question was how to continue? Breaking with the typical 15. c5 or perhaps...} 15. g4 $1 {the more aggressive the better:)} g6 16. Ng3 exd4 ({if} 16... c5 17. d5 {with a preferable position for White.}) 17. Nxd4 Nb8 $2 {A bit too passive, handing White free hand in the remaining of the game. Black's position is not ideal but is far from losing immediately} ({Better was} 17... Nc5 18. g5 ({The same idea as in the game after} 18. e5 {doesn't work as well} dxe5 19. Nb5 Qb6) 18... Nfd7 {White is pressing but Black can bounce back in a King's Indian fashion.}) 18. e5 $1 {You should not give the initiative into Ahmed's hands!} dxe5 19. Nb5 Qe7 20. Bg5 Bg7 21. Ne4 Rf8 22. Qe2 h6 23. Nxf6+ Bxf6 24. Bxh6 Rd8 25. Rxd8+ Qxd8 26. Rd1 Qe7 27. Qd2 Bd7 28. Be3 Be6 29. g5 Bg7 30. Qd8+ Bf8 31. Nc7 Qxd8 32. Rxd8 {and White won a convincing game.} 1-0

Massive support, massive score for Ahmed

As Adly openly said it:”I love Egypt, my Egyptian friends and family and I doubt I would be able to live elsewhere. This is my home, my land, this is where I belong.” Looking at his result, I would say he is the exception which confirms the rule that “no prophet is accepted in his hometown” or differently put, many sportsmen would face difficulties in proving themselves in their native city or country. Not Ahmed, who is the living proof that chaos often breeds life, opportunities, while order could breed mostly habit.

With such explosion of colors...

… I cannot stay too long indoors, Cairo is calling! And so is the Egyptian singer, Umm Kulthum,
one of the greatest and most influential Arab singers of the 20th century. No wonder the Cafes
are trying to lure in the customers with her presence (middle).

Traditions during the closing ceremony, enjoyed by foreigners and locals alike

Probably the happiest player of them all was Ahmed, with his well deserved tournament victory

We all have our moments of glory, that's the best part in chess. To wrap things up on a beautiful chess note, find how the Danish FM Jesper Lauridsen won with Black in the position below.

Black to play and win on the spot!

Time for a break

As for your reporter, after having finished an amazing chess event in Cairo, where I hope to return with a lightning speed, and after having played immediately afterwards the 4NCL in Birmingham... a break wouldn't hurt, since I sort of got this fever, literally and metaphorically. Funny thing is that the only viable prescription is: more chess! There will be another Open in October in Cairo, with an inspiring name: Cleopatra.

Are you ready?

Solution to position: 14... Nxc3! 15. Qxf5 (15. Bxc3 Rxc3 16. Qxc3 Bb4) 15... Nb1!+ 16. Qxa5 Rc1#

Final standings

Rk SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts. TB  rtg+/-
1 1 GM Adly Ahmed EGY 2601 8,5 44,0 9,1
2 8 IM Hesham Abdelrahman EGY 2390 7,5 40,5 10,0
3 4 GM Petrov Marian BUL 2447 7,5 40,5 6,4
4 37   Ismail Hamed EGY 2171 7,5 36,5 23,2
5 5 IM Ameir Moheb EGY 2430 7,0 44,5 2,7
6 7 IM Abdel Razik Khaled EGY 2392 7,0 44,5 2,2
7 30   Gabr Mohsen EGY 2225 7,0 43,0 38,8
8 11 IM Wageih Kareim EGY 2336 7,0 40,5 17,2
9 22 FM Ahmed Ali Layth Ahmed IRQ 2257 7,0 37,0 10,6
10 35   Sayed Hassan Mohamed EGY 2177 7,0 36,5 15,2
11 19 FM Yousry Salah EGY 2266 7,0 36,5 19,8
12 32   Abdel Fadil Mohamed EGY 2217 7,0 35,5 22,8
  45   Roshdy Mahmoud EGY 2139 7,0 35,5 33,8
14 17 FM Lauridsen Jesper Morch DEN 2275 7,0 33,0 -12,8
15 6 IM Labib Ibrahim Hasan EGY 2424 6,5 42,5 -3,3
16 14 IM Hassan Sayed Barakat EGY 2316 6,5 41,0 8,1
17 3 IM Ezat Mohamed EGY 2467 6,5 40,0 -11,3
18 21 IM Yasseen Aly EGY 2265 6,5 39,5 20,0
19 146   Hussain Abdel Naser EGY 1884 6,5 39,0 86,4
20 27   Saber Ibrahim EGY 2230 6,5 39,0 4,4
21 20 IM El Arousy Abdul Hameed EGY 2265 6,5 38,5 -15,6
22 157   Youssef Fady EGY 1844 6,5 38,0 208,0
23 34 FM Sameeh Hany EGY 2180 6,5 38,0 34,0
24 46   Ibrahim Mohamed EGY 2137 6,5 36,5 13,2
25 10 IM L'ami Alina ROU 2348 6,5 36,0 -5,4

Click for complete standings


You can use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server

Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


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