Dubai Open: Ghaem Maghami wins blitz, Negi and Hammer lead

4/17/2011 – Friday was a free day, but there was a blitz tournament, won in a tie-break sudden death blitz game by Iranian GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami. In the Open Parimarjan Negi, 18, and Jon Ludvig Hammer, 20, lead with 6.0/7 points. Our attention was, however, caught by a player in place 47. Vahap Sanal is from Turkey and just twelve years old. His performance: 2524. Portrait of a young talent.

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13th Dubai Open Chess Championship

The Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup is taking place from April 9th to 19th, 2011 in the Dubai Chess and Culture Club. It is a nine round Swiss, with time controls of one hour and 30 minutes for the whole game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move.

The games start at 17:30h local time. There is a rest day with a blitz tournament on Friday, April 15, and two rounds to be played on Saturday, April 16, starting at 10:00 a.m. and 06:00 p.m. local time. The closing ceremony takes place on Tuesday, April 19, one day after the final (ninth) round, at 19:00h.

Blitz tournament

Rk. Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts.
1 GM Andriasian Zaven ARM 2645 7.5
GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan IRI 2606 7.5
3 FM Grigoryan Karen H ARM 2463 7.0
GM Laxman R R IND 2462 7.0
5 GM Ter-Sahakyan Samvel ARM 2575 7.0
6 GM Arutinian David GEO 2575 7.0
7 GM Pantsulaia Levan GEO 2595 6.5
GM Kayumov Sergey UZB 2506 6.5
IM Guliev Logman AZE 2468 6.5
10 GM Miroshnichenko Evgenij UKR 2670 6.0
GM Guseinov Gadir AZE 2584 6.0
GM Simantsev Mikhail UKR 2569 6.0
GM Salem A R Saleh UAE 2511 6.0
GM Iskusnyh Sergei RUS 2481 6.0
Zarkua Davit GEO 2397 6.0
Abdulov Orkhan AZE 2327 6.0
17 GM Kazhgaleyev Murtas KAZ 2618 6.0
18 GM Aleksandrov Aleksej BLR 2638 5.5
GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2627 5.5
GM Berg Emanuel SWE 2612 5.5
GM Harutjunyan Gevorg ARM 2468 5.5
FM Koohestani Sh IRI 2345 5.5
FM Esenov Annaberdi TKM 2283 5.5
Abedi Ali IRI 2159 5.5
Abdulqader Al-Refaee SYR 0 5.5

The tie-break sudden death blitz game to break the tie between the two leaders: Armenian GM Zaven Andianisian faces GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami from Iran. Maghami won and took home the ENOC Dubai Blitz 2011 Cup. In the background Saleh Mohammed al-Husseini, Executive Director of Dubai Chess Club, Casto Abundo, Chief Arbiter, and Mahdi Abdulrahim, Deputy Chief Arbiter.

Top rankings after seven rounds

In the main event after two rounds on Saturday we see GM Parimarjan Negi from India tied for first with Norwegian GM Jon Ludvig Hammer. Their performance: 2805 for Negi and 2646 for Hammer. There are seven GMs in striking distance of the pair.

Rk. Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts.
1 GM Negi Parimarjan IND 2618 6.0
2 GM Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2606 6.0
3 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2682 5.5
4 GM Volkov Sergey RUS 2621 5.5
5 GM Balogh Csaba HUN 2601 5.5
6 GM Fedorov Alexei BLR 2596 5.5
7 GM Kazhgaleyev Murtas KAZ 2618 5.5
8 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2580 5.5
9 GM Aleksandrov Aleksej BLR 2638 5.5
10 GM Miroshnichenko Evgenij UKR 2670 5.0
11 GM Mchedlishvili Mikheil GEO 2629 5.0
12 FM Grigoryan Karen H ARM 2463 5.0
13 GM Amin Bassem EGY 2596 5.0
14 GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2627 5.0
15 IM Lalith Babu M R IND 2491 5.0
16 GM Pantsulaia Levan GEO 2595 5.0
17 GM Berg Emanuel SWE 2612 5.0
18 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2675 5.0
19 GM Guliev Sarhan AZE 2497 5.0
20 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar IND 2643 5.0
21 GM Guseinov Gadir AZE 2584 5.0
22 GM Adhiban B IND 2543 5.0
23 GM Kotanjian Tigran ARM 2527 5.0
24 GM Iskusnyh Sergei RUS 2481 5.0
25 GM Minasian Artashes ARM 2558 5.0
26 GM Arutinian David GEO 2575 5.0
27 GM Ter-Sahakyan Samvel ARM 2575 5.0
28 IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh R IND 2425 5.0


Equal first with 6.0/7: GM Parimarjan Negi, 18, from India, rated 2618


Norwegian GM Jon Ludvig Hammer, 20, shares first with Parimarjan


CM Vahap Şanal

In the Dubai Open our attention is directed towards a player who is currently 47th on the score table. Vahap Şanal (pronounced Shaanal) in just twelve years old. He was born on 26 May 1998 in Izmir, Turkey and started to play chess in connection with the Chess in School Project of Turkish Chess Federation. He was the first and youngest chess player in Turkish National Team when he was eight years old. His first official tournament was the 2006 World Youth Chess Championship in Batumi, Georgia. He finished this event in fourth place in the under-eight category.

Today Vahap has the opportunity to train with the best coaches in the world, with the support of TCF. After successful results, he gets a bonus from the federation. He believes that young Turkish players have plenty of opportunities, especially in the national teams, so that the number of GMs is going to increase soon.

In round one in the Dubai Open the 12-year-old, rated 2200, faced GM Jon Ludvig Hammer, rated 400 points higher than him, with the black pieces – and simply outplayed the current tournament leader:

Hammer,Jon Ludvig (2606) - Sanal,Vahap (2200) [E15]
13th Dubai Open Dubai UAE (1.13), 10.04.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qc2 c5 6.d5 exd5 7.cxd5 g6 8.e4 Bxf1 9.Kxf1 Bg7 10.Bf4 d6 11.Nc3 0-0 12.Rd1 Ng4 13.Kg2 Ne5 14.Ng1 Nbd7 15.Bc1 c4 16.Nge2 Nd3 17.Be3 a6 18.Nd4 b5 19.b3 N7c5 20.bxc4 bxc4 21.f3 Qa5 22.Nce2 Qa3 23.Bg5 Rfb8 24.Rb1 c3 25.Nc6 Rb2 26.Rxb2 cxb2 27.Be7 Qxa2 28.Rb1 Qa1 29.Kf1 Nb3 30.Bg5 Nbc5 31.Be3 Qa4 32.Qxa4 Nxa4 33.f4 Kf8 34.Bd2 Ke8 35.e5 dxe5 36.Nc3 Nac5 37.fxe5 Nxe5 38.Nxe5 Bxe5 39.Ke2 Rb8 40.Nd1 Ne4 41.Be1 Rb3 42.Ne3 Nc3+ 43.Bxc3 Rxc3 44.Kd2 Rc5 0-1.

In round three Vahap had black against IM Logman Guliev, 268 points above him in the FIDE ratings:

Guliev,Logman (2468) - Sanal,Vahap (2200) [C80]
13th Dubai Open Dubai UAE (3), 12.04.2011
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Nxe4 7.d4 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Be3 Be7 10.c3 0-0 11.Nbd2 f5 12.exf6 Nxf6 13.Bc2 Qd7 14.Qb1 h6 15.Nh4 Bd6 16.Ndf3 g5 17.Bf5 Ne4 18.Bxe4 dxe4 19.Qxe4 Rae8 20.Nd4 gxh4 21.Qxc6 Qg7 22.Nxe6 Rxe6 23.Qd5 Qg6 24.f4 Rf5 25.Qb3 Kh7 26.Rf3?

26...Rxe3! 27.Rxe3 Bc5 28.Rae1 Rxf4 29.Qd1 Qe4 [29...h3 would have finished the game more quickly] 30.Qd2 Rf7 31.Qf2 Qc4 32.b3 Rxf2 33.bxc4 Rxa2 34.cxb5 axb5 35.Kf1 Bxe3 36.Rxe3 c5 37.Re5 b4 38.Rxc5? Rb2? Both players in time trouble – Black had the devastating 38...b3, 39.Rb5 Kg6 40.h3 b3 41.Kg1 Kf6 42.Kf1 Ke6 43.Kg1 Kd6 44.Kh2 Rc2 45.Rh5? and because of 45...b2–+ White resigned. 0-1.

After seven rounds in Dubai Vahap has scored 4.0 points and achieved a performance of 2524, 324 more than his current FIDE rating. This kid is on track for a GM norm.

Important previous achievements:

2007 World School Chess Championship – U9 Bronze Medal
2008 World School Chess Champion – U11
2008 Turkish Youth Chess Champion (U10)
2008 Dubai Juniors Championship – U14 Bronze Medal
2009 Turkish Youth Chess Champion – U12
2009 Mediterranean Championship – Best Performance
2009 Dubai Juniors Championship – U14 Silver Medal
2010 European School Chess Championship – 13 Silver Medal
2010 World School Chess Championship – 13 Silver Medal
2009 Dubai Juniors Championship – U14 Bronze Medal
2009 World Under 16 Olympiad – bronze medal for board
2010 Turkish Youth Chess Champion – U12
2011 Turkish Chess Championship – 12th place

Interests: After English and French, Vahap has started to learn Russian – at the advice of National team coach GM Mikhail Gurevich, "in order to read Russian chess books". He likes to play basketball and gocart. Vahap is attending the MEV Izmir Private College, in the seventh grade.

There are two of them! Vahap's buddy FM Cemil Can Ali Marandi is just four months and is rated 2213 and was awarded the “sportperson of the year 2011“ title. His main goal is to be a grandmaster before the age of fifteen. We will be watching both these boys.


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