Africans At The 18th Dubai Open Chess Tournament
The 18th Dubai Open Chess Tournament broke several records this year, which included a record number of participants, norms awarded, and African participants.
Some 18 players registered from three different African countries, which included:
1. Egypt with 12 players
2. Nigeria with 2 players
3. Libya with 2 players
The Egyptians were the obvious favorite to dazzle in this tournament owing to the fact that they had the highest-rated African player in their midst, in the person of GM Amin Bassem (2655), who duly delivered.
The GM had a performance rating of 2593 to his credit, defeated only by India's 25 year old IM Karthikeyan P. He had tournament statistics of 5 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss. He finished with a brilliant 6.5/9 to become the new UAE champion. The best in Africa proved to be the best in UAE, but fell short of the top prize by 1 point.
IM Fawzy Adham (2475), who was also tipped to pull off some upsets with his high rating, was astonished by the brilliance of his compatriot Sameir Ramez (2070), who defeated him in the first round for the latter's most important win of the tournament. After which the IM was unable to reach full potential, and was relegated to finish with 4.5/9, a score that ensured that he had a tournament statistics of 4 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses, with a performance rating of 2243.
IM Ezat Mohammed (2467), with his wealth of experience, always finds a way to not lose. But he was unable to wriggle his way out of the grasp of the grandmasters at the Dubai tournament, and he eventually lost 3 games and won 6 interesting games to finish just behind his compatriot, and highest-rated African player. Ezat had a performance rating of 2491 and a tournament statistics of 6 wins, no draws and 3 losses, to become the 2nd best African player at the tournament.
But it was 19 year old FM Anwuli Daniel from Nigeria that stole the show, after losing a winning position in Round 4 to GM Antipov Mikhail Al., just because he refused consistent draw offers, he went on to defeat IM Abou El ZeinEid Mahmoud, which was a soother for the young Nigerian. He eventually went on to defeat GM Ankit R. Rajpara (2491) and GM Arun Prasad S. (2509) from India and picked up a draw against GM Emre Can (2555) in the penultimate round. He recorded a performance rating of 2427, and tournament statistics of 5 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses. He also picked up an IM norm from the tournament with hopes that he will pick up the IM title soon, or better yet, the grandmaster title.
This is the very first back-to-back victory over grandmasters by a Nigerian, which shows that West Africa is coming for the World!