Dubai, UAE

Mohammad Fahad Rahman of Bangladesh maintains half-point lead after eighth-round draw with top-seed Viktor Matviishen of Ukraine in the 14th Dubai Juniors Chess Tournament.

FM Viktor Matviishen vs. FM Mohammad Fahad Rahman

FM Viktor Matviishen vs. FM Mohammad Fahad Rahman

Fide Master (FM) Mohammad Fahad Rahman of Bangladesh survived a tense battle against Ukrainian top-seed FM Viktor Matviishen to eke out a draw in Monday’s eighth round and maintain his slim lead going into Tuesday’s final round of the 14th Dubai Juniors Chess Tournament – Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

The third-seed Rahman upped his tally to seven points, as five players from five different countries are in hot pursuit half a point behind with 6.5 points each, including Matviishen and the UAE’s Candidate Master (CM) Omran Al Hosani, who scored an emphatic 41-move win over Armenia’s Eduard Hakobyan in a chaotic Sicilian Defence encounter.

Rahman was on the defensive end as the Ukrainian launched a promising endgame attack with his queen, rook and bishop. Matviishen, however, could not find the right continuation as the Rahman gradually consolidated his defence before forcing a series of exchanges that resulted in a drawish rook-and-pawns endgame. The players agreed to a draw on the 47th move.

Hakobyan confronted Al Hosani’s Sicilian Scheveningen with the aggressive Keres Attack, but the Armenian played tentatively, allowing the Emirati to launch a swift counter offensive in the queenside. The position, however, remained complicated until Hakobyan unleashed a piece sacrifice on the 28th move that ultimately proved inadequate. Al Hosani defended accurately and later won more material to score the full point.

Others with 6.5 points are Indian second-seed Rahul Srivatshav P, who settled for a draw with CM Ahmad Ahmadzada of Azerbaijan, fifth-seed Kazybek Umbetov of Kazakhstan, who won over the UAE’s Saeed Al Hosani, and Armenia’s 11th-seed Hayk Kocharyan, who upset sixth-seed Ranjan Aryan of India.

Ahmad Ahmadzada vs. Rahul Srivatshav

Ahmad Ahmadzada vs. Rahul Srivatshav

Ahmadzada joins the UAE’s CM Sultan Al-Zaabi, Sultan Al Darmaky and Amer Sultan, and India’s Johary Rishabh at joint third with six points apiece. Al-Zaabi won over India’s Gurmeher Singh, Al Darmaky and Sultan outplayed compatriots Khalifa Essa Albalooshi and Amer Shamsa, while Rishabh won an all-Indian encounter with Pratihar Yatrik.

The final round will be played on Tuesday at 10am, with featuring Rahman against Omran Al Hosani at the top board. Kocharyan will take on Matviishen on second board, while Umbetov faces Srivatshav on board three. All three matches will be crucial in deciding this year’s champion.

A total of 110 players from 12 countries are taking part in the nine-round Swiss system tournament, which offers a total prize fund of US$10,000, with US$2,000 and the Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup going to the champion. The top 10 winners of the tournament will receive cash prizes, along with the best Emirati and Dubai Chess Club players.

Top 15 standings after round 8

1 FM Mohammad Fahad Rahman BAN 2157 7
2 Rahul Srivatshav P IND 2273 6.5
3 FM Matviishen Viktor UKR 2390 6.5
4 Umbetov Kazybek KAZ 2002 6.5
5 Kocharyan Hayk ARM 1573 6.5
6 CM Al Hosani Omran UAE 1821 6.5
7 CM Ahmadzada Ahmad AZE 2099 6
8 CM Al-Zaabi Sultan UAE 1674 6
9 Al Darmaky Sultan UAE 1500 6
10 Sultan Amer UAE 1233 6
11 Johary Rishabh IND 0 6
12 Mohammed Fawwaaz IND 1479 5.5
13 Hakobyan Eduard ARM 1753 5.5
14 Sidharth Balaji Sridharan IND 1420 5.5
15 Al Hosani Saeed UAE 1550 5.5

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