Friday, October 23, 2009


FCPL players make it to winner's circle in Sharjah chess

Three FCPL players joined the winner's circle in the recent Sharjah Ramadan Chess Open held at the Holiday International Hotel in Sharjah.

Fide Master Antonio Molina Sr., Jobannie C. Tabada and Tato Abdullah each scored seven points to secure a tie for fourth to 14th places. Tabada ended up at ninth, Molina at 13th and Abdullah at 14th after the tiebreaks. Each of them received US$ 200.

Molina drew his ninth-round game against Georgia's Parmen Gelazonia, while Abdullah had a two-pawn defecit in a knights and pawns endgame but was able to successfully hold on to a draw against Egyptian FM Georg Magdy.

Tabada spoiled a chance to claim the overall championship when he bungled a two-pawn advantage in his final-round game against top-seed and eventual champion GM Yuri Drozdovskij of Ukraine. The FCPL player capitalized on an early blunder by the Ukrainian on the 18th move, a pawn push to g4 that resulted in the following position:

GM Drozdovskij - Tabada
(Black to move)

There followed 18... Nxg4! 19.hxg4 Qxg4+ 20.Bg2 Qxd4 and black is simply two pawns up 21.Qe2 Bf8 22.Re1 Bf5 23.Rd1 Qg4 24.f3 Qh5 25.c5 and the following position was reached...

GM Drozdovskij - Tabada
(Black to move)

Black played 25... Bd7?! (25.... Rad8 or 25... Qg6 was more accurate here) 26.Ne4? (26.cd6! Nf5 27.Re8 Re8 28.Ne4 gives white a dangerous attack) 26... Qg6 27.cd6 cd6? (black is hallucinating. 27...Nf5 was correct and after 28.dxc7 Qb6 29.Nf6+ Qf6 30.Re8 Be8, black is a piece up and will soon neutralize the white passed pawns) 28.Nd6 Nf5?? (black simply self-destructs. This move loses a piece without anything in return) 29.Rxe8! (of course, not 29.Nxe8? on account of 29...Bc5+ and black regains the upper hand) 29...Rxe8 30.Nxe8 and it was just a matter of time before black resigned.

It was a major disappointment for Tabada who failed to follow up on his big wins over FM Djakhangir Agaragimov of Azerbaijan and Serbian WGM Maria Manakova in the seventh and eighth rounds, respectively. A win over the top-seed would have given Tabada clear first and a US$ 1,500 paycheck.

Instead, it was Drozdovskij who picked up the championship with eight points. At joint second and third with 7.5 points apiece were Azerbaijan's IM Sanan Dovliatov and his youthful compatriot FM Ulvi Bajarani. The two players drew their ninth-round game.

Marvin Marcos, NM Robert Arellano and Rocky Pabalan also had a chance for a podium finish, but were unsuccessful in their final-round games against GM Roman Ovetchkin of Russia, GM Elmar Magerramov and IM Akaki Shalamberidze of Azerbaijan, respectively.

Other FCPL players who trooped to Sharjah to compete in the tournament were Melvin Segismundo, Larry Dolor, Angelito Melicano, Jumar Abo, Axel John Valerio, Augusto 'Marz' Marcial, Macky Ingcongan, Richard Perez, Alexius Valerio, Lito Lababo, Ronnie G. Balilo, Carlos de Guzman, Hermie Cagatin, Gerry Lababo and Antonio Gawid.

Nearly 200 players from different countries participated in the nine-round Swiss system tournament. Time control was 20 minutes plus five-second increment per move.

Top 14 standings below (click on image to enlarge)

(Click here for complete final standings)

Final-round pairings (top 17 boards only)

(Click here for complete final-round pairings)

Videos taken at the tournament courtesy of Richard Perez.

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