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IM Ahmad Al Khatib wins 2023 Arab Chess Championship

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IM Ahmad Al Khatib wins 2023 Arab Chess Championship

IM Ahmad Al Khatib of Jordan is the 2023 Arab Chess Championship. He clinched the title in Khartoum, Sudan, with 7.5 points out of 9 rounds.

GM Hesham Abdelrahman of Egypt, IM Husain Aziz of Qatar and CM Ahmed Abuzied of Sudan were joint third with 6.5 points. However, GM Abdelrahman clinched the silver, and IM Husain Aziz the bronze based on their tie-breaks. 

The winner of the 2023 Arab Chess Championship IM Ahmad Al Khatib of Jordan with his trophy at the closing ceremony.
The winner of the 2023 Arab Chess Championship IM Ahmad Al Khatib of Jordan with his trophy at the closing ceremony. Photo credits – The Sudan Chess Federation.

The Open Section saw 34 players from 17 federations taking part. African representatives included Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Somalia, South Sudan and host Sudan.

The Arab Chess Championship 2023 occurred from 26th February to 5th March 2023 in Khartoum, Sudan. The format was a nine-round Swiss. The time control is 90 minutes for the entire game, plus a 30-second increment starting on move one.

The 2023 Arab Chess Champion IM Ahmad Al Khatib of Jordan.
The 2023 Arab Chess Champion IM Ahmad Al Khatib of Jordan. Photo credits – The Sudan Chess Federation.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich makes the first move at the event.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich makes the first move at the event.

David George Samir

IM Ahmad Al Khatib and WIM Lina Nassr deserve special praise for winning their maiden Arab Championship titles. However, it is noteworthy to point out the performance of 12-year-old David George Samir from Egypt. He scored an impressive 4.5 points out of nine rounds and seemed destined to step into the big shoes of his compatriots GM Amin Bassem and GM Adly Ahmed.  

David George Samir
David George Samir. The future stars of Egyptian chess. Photo credits – The Sudan Chess Federation.

David George Samir who currently has a FIDE rating of 2000 missed a podium finish at the 2021 African Junior Chess Championship when he scored 6 points out of 9 rounds and ended up fourth in the ranking.

In this article, I have included two games, including his win against Sudan’s top player FM Samir Nadir.


Ladies’ Section

WIM Lina Nassr of Algeria won the Ladies’ section of the event with 7.5 points out of nine rounds.

WFM Manar Khalil of Syria was second with 7 points, while Ruba Al-Qudah of Jordan clinched the bronze medal.

WIM Lina Nassr of Algeria the winner of the Ladies' Section of the 2023 Arab Chess Championship.
WIM Lina Nassr of Algeria the winner of the Ladies’ Section of the 2023 Arab Chess Championship. Photo credits – The Sudan Chess Federation.

The Ladies’ Section had 29 players from 10 federations, with Egypt, Algeria and Sudan being the only African nations participating.

Chess facts about Sudan

The Sudan Chess Federation was formed in 1973 and joined FIDE in 1986.

FM Samir Nadir is Sudan’s highest-ranked player at 2216. A total of 105 players have a FIDE rating.

Sudan has participated eleven times in the Chess Olympiad. These included 1986, 1988, 1990, 1994, 2002, 2006, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 & 2022 editions.

Logo of The Sudan Chess Federation.
Logo of The Sudan Chess Federation.

Interesting facts about Sudan

On 1st January 1956, Sudan gained independence from Egypt and the United Kingdom, explaining why English and Arabic are the official languages in Sudan.

Sudan translates to “the land of the blacks in Arabic. It derives from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān.

Map of Sudan.
Map of Sudan.

The Blue Nile and White Nile rivers meet in Khartoum to form the Nile, which flows northwards through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea.

Sudan has 597 groups that speak over 400 different languages and dialects. Sudanese Arabs are by far the largest ethnic group in Sudan.

Sudan was the first Muslim and Arab country to appoint a female judge in the 1960s. Today Sudan has over 60 female judges in the judiciary system.

Presidential Palace in Khartoum.
Presidential Palace in Khartoum. Photo credit Wikicommons

Before 2011 it was the largest country by area in Africa and the Arab world. The succession of South Sudan made the country fall to third in the pecking order.

The Great Green Wall is a collaborative endeavour among African countries, including Sudan. The project aims to grow a long wall of trees across 21 African countries. The wall will travel across these countries along the arid Sahel Savanna to the Indian Ocean. The length of the wall is expected to be about 8,000km.

Photo of Khartoum Mosque. Photo credit Wikicommons.
Photo of Khartoum Mosque. Photo credit Wikicommons.
Flag of Sudan.
Flag of Sudan.

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Article by Kenya Chess Masala.