Chess ace Salem triumphs yet again.
Dubai: Emirati Grandmaster (GM) Saleh Abdul Rahman Salem continued to dominate the 32-nation field as he won the Asian Blitz Chess Championship alone with 7.5 points out of nine rounds at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain.
GM Zhu Chen of Qatar won the women's division by tiebreaker over two of her former countrymates from China.
Blitz chess requires natural talent for quick thinking. Players have three minutes each plus two-second increments per move on the chess clock. Games last ten minutes compared to one hour in Rapid chess or six hours in the standard chess.
After disposing of Liu Chang of China in the first round, Salem faced an all-grandmaster roster of opponents. He scored six straight wins against Zia Ur Rahman of Bangladesh, Darini Pouria of Iran, Koneru Humpy of India, top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi of India and Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan.
After a penultimate round loss to eventual runner-up GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore, Salem clinched the blitz title with a draw against GM Al Sayed Mohammad of Qatar as Zhang lost in the last round.
Zhang won the silver medal as he finished with seven points in a four-way tie that included namely Al Sayed, IM Haridas Pascua of the Philippines, GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran and GM SP Sethuraman of India. Pascua copped the bronze medal by tiebreaker with more wins and higher average rating of opponents.
Zhu Chen started with a loss to WIM Madina Davletbayeva of Kazakhstan but rebounded with four straight wins against Hanieh Khalaji of Iran, WIM Bayanmunkh Ankhchumeg of Mongolia, WIM Le Kiey Thien Kim of Vietnam and WGM Soumya Swaminathan of India before succumbing to Ghazal Hakimifard of Iran.
Then Zhu Chen scored three straight wins against IM Nisha Mohota of India, WGM Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan and GM Harika Dronavalli of India.
Zhu Chen tallied seven points to win the gold medal by tiebreaker over silver medallist WIM Zhai Mo and bronze medallist WGM Wang Jue, both of China.
Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development, presented the awards with Asian Chess Federation Secretary General Hisham Al Taher. The event was organised by the Asian Chess Federation in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and UAE Chess Federation.
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