by Prathamesh Mokal
1/2/2016 – Wang Hao of China dominated the Al Ain Chess Classic and achieved the remarkable feat of winning it with a round to spare! He beat Indian GM Abhijeet Gupta in the eighth round to take his tally to 7.5/8, one and a half points over his nearest rivals, thus guaranteeing sole first. A draw with the top-seed and he finished with a 2944 performance. Report with commented games.

Al Ain Classic – Wang Hao wins in style

By IM Prathamesh Mokal

All photos by WGM Emkhtuul Altan Ulzii (unless otherwise stated)

He completed the last round formalites by drawing with top seed Yuriy Kryvoruchko from Black and winning the tournament by the same margin as his lead in the previous round. Wang Hao took home a shining trophy and the first prize of 13000 dollars!

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The winner of the Al Ain Chess Classic 2015…Wang Hao!

The last round

Wang Hao had already won the tournament with an unassailable 1.5 point lead but his clash against the top seed seemed worth following.

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Top seed Yuriy Kryvoruchko, completely focused against Wang Hao in the final round

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Alexander Areshchenko beat Abhijeet Gupta to end the Indian hopes of a good finish

As many as nine players finished on 6.5/9 to share second place. While Alexei Shirov,Yuriy Kryvoruchko, Mykhaylo Oleksiyenko, and Arman Pashikian got there with final round draws, Alexander Areshchenko, Zahar Efimenko, Levan Pantsulaia, Robert Hovhannisyan and Kravtsiv Martyn scored crucial last round victories to finish on a good note.

The eighth round

The eighth round actually saw the victory of the tournament sealed as Wang Hao scored over Gupta on the top board. Shirov had to be content with a draw as Kryvoruchko did not allow him to make any inroads.

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Oh no…the Berlin again (Shirov). Kryvoruchko held Shirov to a draw with Black pieces in the
eighth round. Wang Hao versus Gupta in the background as the arbiter watches Shirov’s game.

Meanwhile, a curious position arose in the game Mchedishvili vs Malakhatko in round eight.

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White to play and win

Players and personalities

One could not help but notice a little kid moving around, holding his own against (and even beating) seasoned masters in the tournament.

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It is none other than 10-year-old Uzbek CM Javokhir Sindarov. He had a
great tournament and stands to gain 81 Elo points! One of his victories
came against yours truly. From personal experience, I think we are likely
to see Sindarov achieve the IM and GM titles within a couple of years.

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Arbiter Ilgar Bajarani at his workstation

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GM Ivan Sokolov, who coaches talented players in the U.A.E was often
seen visiting the tournament hall to follow the games of his protégés.
You can read Sagar Shah’s excellent interview of Sokolov by clicking here.

The Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony was held at the poolside of the Hotel Hili Raayhan by Rotana.

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The traditional dance at the closing ceremony

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Alexei Shirov, after receiving his (second) prize volunteered to say a few words and praised
the organisation of the Al Ain Chess Classic, “Al Ain has established itself as an important tournament in the calendar”.

Behind him on the stage is the tournament director Tarek Al Taher, happy to find out that his efforts have been appreciated.

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WCM Narmin Mammadova of Azerbaijan took the best female player prize

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The Amateur section was won by India’s Sasikumar Anusweud

Final standings

1 2 GM Wang Hao CHN 2707 8,0 41,5 21,8
2 5 GM Shirov Alexei LAT 2676 6,5 44,5 10,9
3 21 GM Pashikian Arman ARM 2606 6,5 42,5 15,2
4 24 GM Pantsulaia Levan GEO 2598 6,5 41,5 15,2
5 1 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2711 6,5 40,5 0,4
6 4 GM Areshchenko Alexander UKR 2677 6,5 39,5 4,3
7 17 GM Oleksiyenko Mykhaylo UKR 2616 6,5 38,0 1,8
8 16 GM Kravtsiv Martyn UKR 2623 6,5 37,5 3,8
9 15 GM Hovhannisyan Robert ARM 2624 6,5 37,0 5,6
10 9 GM Efimenko Zahar UKR 2647 6,5 37,0 6,7
11 13 GM Mchedlishvili Mikheil GEO 2635 6,0 42,5 4,4
12 19 GM Onischuk Vladimir UKR 2612 6,0 40,5 1,6
13 12 GM Rakhmanov Aleksandr RUS 2640 6,0 39,5 2,3
14 26 GM Andriasian Zaven ARM 2594 6,0 39,0 5,4
15 8 GM Motylev Alexander RUS 2653 6,0 38,0 -1,2
16 7 GM Zhigalko Sergei BLR 2655 6,0 38,0 0,3
17 25 GM Azarov Sergei BLR 2595 6,0 37,0 0,5
18 30 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2574 6,0 35,5 3,0
19 10 GM Anton Guijarro David ESP 2640 6,0 33,5 -8,3
20 37 GM Zeng Chongsheng CHN 2530 5,5 44,5 15,7


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