Friday, October 23, 2009


FCPL players earn podium finish in Dubai Active Chess Open

Participants, winners and officials of the
recent Dubai Active Chess Tournament.

The FCPL again sent its players to the top rankings in the recent Dubai Active Chess Tournament held last October 15 and 17 at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

Jobannie C. Tabada and Rolenson Loyola each scored seven points to join two others for a tie at the fourth to seventh places. Both FCPL players picked up the pace late in the tournament after early setbacks. Tabada suffered a loss by default in the first round along with fellow FCPL player Joey Tiberio as the two had to attend to urgent preparations for the FCPL's Sing for a Cause charity event. Tabada suffered another setback in the sixth round to second-seed IM Fouad El Taher before cruising to three straight wins.

Loyola got derailed in the second round after he forced and eventually lost an already drawn endgame against the UAE's Omar Abdulwahab. After another loss in the fifth round to fellow FCPL player Rocky Pabalan, Loyola raked in four successive wins, capped by a final-round victory over fourth-seed Mohamed Amer of Egypt.

The tournament was won by top-seed GM Salem AR Saleh, the UAE's current teenage chess sensation and No.1 player. IM Fouad El Taher, a long-time chess coach in the UAE, and surprise podium finisher Santhosh P of India, who is a regular participant in FCPL tournaments, were at joint second with 7.5 points each. Egypt's IM Ali Farhat and India's Candidate Master Haridas K had seven points each.

Salem received Dh 1,000, Fouad and Santhosh shared the combined second and third prizes and received Dh 600 each, while Farhat, Haridas, Tabada and Loyola split the Dh. 300 cash prize for fourth. The tournament offered cash prizes only to the top four players.

Other FCPL players who competed in the tournament were NM Robert Arellano, FM Antonio Molina Sr., Marvin Marcos, Willy Narag, Francis Erwin Dimarucut, Hermie Cagatin, Macky Ingcongan, Larry Dolor, Dennis Raymund Victoria, Carlos de Guzman, Angelito Melicano, Richard Perez, Armando Delgado, Gerry Lababo, Joey Tiberio, Kyle Cedrick Dolor and Marlon Manila.

Standings (up to six points)

(Click here for full standings)

Final-round pairing (up to board 25)

(Click here for complete final-round pairings)

Loyola receives his cash prize from tournament officials.

Tabada receives his cash prize.
Winners and tournament officials. Champion
GM Salem AR Saleh is second from right

It was interesting to note, though, that the champion had losing games against two FCPL players: Rocky Pabalan, who was looking to score a repeat after a rousing 28-move upset win over Salem during last April's Dubai Open, and new Dubai resident Francis Erwin Dimarucut, a former college standout out of Tarlac State University.

Pabalan - GM Salem
(White to move)

Rocky played 1.Ba6? in this position. Rolenson Loyola, who was observing this encounter, pointed out to both players in the post-mortem analysis the winning move: 1.Qxc6! After 1...Qxc6, which is forced or else black loses a piece, there comes 2.Bxd5 Qxd5 Rxd5 and black is a healthy pawn up with the e-5 pawn coming down as well shortly. Black's weak a7 and f5 pawns compound his problems.

Dimarucut - GM Salem
(White to move)

Erwin, who arrived in Dubai only last May to work for an insurance firm, would have probably won this position against any other opponent in the tournament. But playing the top-seeded grandmaster in the first round of his first tournament in the UAE may have added a little more pressure to this game. Dumarucut played 1.Rf7+, which was not bad and at first glance seems to be a sensible choice. But the direct 1.Rxh7! was actually the crusher as shown in the following sample variation: 1...Kg8 forced or else black gets mated 2.Rbg7! an important in-between move 2...Kf8 3.Rc7 with this rook now controlling the potentially dangerous passed pawn, the other rook can start wiping out the kingside pawns. 3...Kg8 4.Rhg7+ Kf8 5.Rgf7+ Ke8 6.Rxf6 c3 7.Rxg6 and white gets three kingside passed pawns while black's passer gets nowhere.

The actual game went 1. Rf7+ Ke8 2.Rxh7 Rd7 the only move 3.Rb8+ Rd8 4.Rh8 Ke7 5.Rb7+ 5.Rhxd8 looked plausible but black interjects with 5...f5+!, otherwise the immediate exchange of rooks will give the white king enough time to catch up with the black passed pawn on the c file. 6.Kg5 Rxd8 and the resulting rooks and pawns endgame now has less material but is a lot more complex than in the starting position 5...R3d7 Rh7, etc. Couldn't make out the rest of the moves but with the black king in a more active position, black's chances were now higher although the game may have still been a draw if not for fatal blunders committed by Dimarucut much later in the endgame.

Finally, Rocky's win over Salem during last April's Dubai Open.

[White "Salem, AR."]
[Black "Pabalan, R."]
[Event "11th Dubai Open"]
[Date "2009.04.26"]
[Round "1"]
[WhiteElo "2479"]
[BlackElo "1938"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Bd6 6. Bd3 Qe7 7. e4 dxc4 8. Bxc4 e5 9. dxe5 Bxe5 10. Nxe5 Qxe5 11. O-O O-O 12. h3 b5 13. Bd3 b4 14. Ne2 Ba6 15. Bf4 Qxb2 16. Rb1 Qa3 17. Rb3 Qxa2 18. Bc2 Nbd7 19. Nd4 Bxf1 20. e5 Rfe8 21. exf6 Nxf6 22. Qxf1 c5 23. Bb1 Qa4 24. Qb5 Qxb5 25. Nxb5 Nd5 26. Bg3 c4 27. Rb2 c3 28. Rb3 a5 0-1

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