Bassem Amin wins rapid portion in Abidjan

by Graham Jurgensen
7/28/2018 – A good final day performance gave rating favourite Bassem Amin the first place at the rapid portion of the Cote d'Ivoire Invitational. The rapid results are added to the scores in the eighteen rounds of blitz that will be played during the weekend, so everything is still up for grabs in Abidjan. Alina l'Ami has travelled to Ivory Coast and sent pictures and video interviews with the participants | Pictured: Dr. Essoh Essis, President of the Ivorian Chess Federation makes the first move in Amin-Belkhodja | Photos: Alina l'Ami

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GM Bassem Amin has lived up to his reputation as the top player on the African continent and has a comfortable two-point advantage over his nearest rival at the end of the rapid portion of the 2018 CIV Invitational. The 10 players now enter the blitz portion of the event and it will now likely take a minor miracle for anyone to stop Bassem from securing victory.

Bassem had struggled to find his form in the early going and survived scares against both IM Andrew Kayonde and IM Mokhliss El Adnani on the first two days. Both had excellent winning chances in their individual encounters but Bassem’s experience under pressure and resolute defence enabled him to survive both. 

 

Bassem Amin

Bassem Amin had a great third day | Photo: Alina l'Ami

He hit his straps on the final day however and recorded a perfect 3/3 to give him an undefeated total of 7.5/9, which is worth 15 points under the GCT style scoring system. In the eighth round, his win over Kenny Solomon included some nice tactics in the middlegame and good endgame technique:

 

GM Mohamed Haddouche from Algeria has also played solidly and finds himself in sole possession of second place after scoring 6½/9 for 13 points. IM Mokliss El Adnani from Morocco and the talented 17-year-old IM Fy Rakotomaharo from Madagascar are a further two points back in 3rd place with 11 points each.

Mohamed Haddouche

Mohamed Haddouche from Algeria finished the rapid portion in clear second place | Photo: Alina l'Ami

Fy Rakotomaharo

Fy Rakotomaharo is a promising player from Madagascar | Photo: Alina l'Ami

The players now enter the blitz portion of the tournament, which will see them complete 18 games over the weekend at a rate of 5/5 with 3 seconds delay per move. The combined scores will determine who walks away with the biggest share of the prize pool, which totals an impressive US$ 15,000.

The tournament is sponsored by Vivendi SA who also sponsor the annual GCT tournament in Paris. It is being hosted by the Ivorian Chess Federation and is run in conjunction with Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa and Kasparov Chess Foundation Francophone. 

The tournament hall

The tournament hall | Photo: Alina l'Ami

Alina l'Ami recorded interviews with all ten participants. Below you can see the one with the leader, but you can enjoy all of them on the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa youtube channel

The St Louis Chess Club is also providing daily coverage of the event by way of a 90-minute highlight show which is hosted by Ben Simon and GM Robert Hungaski. 

Final standings - Rapid

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Amin Bassem 7,5 29,00
2 Haddouche Mohamed 6,5 24,50
3 El Adnani Mokliss 5,5 22,00
4 Rakotomaharo Fy 5,5 17,75
5 Kayonde Andrew 5,0 24,50
6 Solomon Kenny 5,0 16,00
7 Silva David 4,0 12,00
8 Ssegwanyi Arthur 3,5 9,50
9 Adu Oladapo 1,5 7,75
10 Belkhodja Slim 1,0 1,50

All games - Rapid

 

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Graham Jurgensen is the Executive Director of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant by profession and held senior financial positions in South Africa before joining the Kasparov Chess Foundation in a full time capacity in June 2014.
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