Following an opening round defeat to India B on Friday, the UAE wasted no time to turn their fortunes around at the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India by outplaying Senegal on an action-packed second day.
Teenage prodigies Abdulrahman Mohammad Al Taher and Mohammed Saeed Laily teamed up with veteran Othman Moussa to secure a 3-1 victory for the UAE after International Master Sultan Ibrahim fell victim to the guile of Senegal’s Wane Al Hassane (CM).
Fide Master Moussa, 47, rolled back the years to control the board against Cisse Amadou Lamine, while sixteen-year-old Al Taher and Laily, a year older, dominated their Senagalese rivals Diop Wara and Badjl Seou Aransbene respectively.
The UAE return to action on Sunday when their face Portugal in the third match in the 188-team Open competition.
This year’s Chess Olympiad is the biggest ever in the history of the game with a record 161 team’s also taking part in the FIDE Women’s Chess Olympiad being held simultaneously in the seaside resort of Mahabalipuram.
Meanwhile, strong contenders Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Georgia, Argentina, Cuba, Montenegro, and Canada swept through their second-round matches with ease.
Ukraine, who defeated Thailand on an opening day kept the momentum going with a resolute 4-0 victory over Albania. Their opponents in the third round are Cuba, who have looked impressive in their wins over Myanmar and Nigeria.
The Olympiad spotlight was on Grandmaster and five-time World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen who made his first appearance in the tournament when he anchored Norway to a 4-0 sweep against Uruguay.
The newly retired world champion is using the Olympiad to aim for a high score to boost his chances of reaching the 2900 target which has twice narrowly escaped him.
Norway are the No 3 seeds behind the US and India.
England, who are seeded 10th and are hoping for a top-six finish, following up their 4-0 rout against Cyprus with a 3-1 victory over Singapore on Saturday.
Hosts India maintained their winning ways in the Women’s tournament with a 3 ½-1/2 victory over Argentina in Round 2. This following their 4-0 whitewash of Tajikistan in Friday’s opening round.