Al-Wahda of Sanaa Team Ranks 4th  in the Arab Chess Championship [Archives:1999/16/Sports]

April 19 1999

After a vigorous competition with the best Arab Chess players, the Chess Team of Al-Wahda Sanaa was able to attain 4th place in the overall Chess rankings of the first Arab Chess Championship held in Al-Sharqiye Club of Egypt last week. Al-Wahda of Sanaa was the only team representing Yemen. Ten teams representing ten Arab countries participated in the championship. 
These teams were: 
1-Al-Sharqiye of Egypt 
2-Beirut University – Lebanon 
3-Dubai Chess Club – UAE 
4-Doha Chess Club – Qatar 
5-Al-Wahda of Sanaa 
6-Al-Majd of Syria 
7-Olympic of Algeria 
8-Post Service Chess Club of Egypt 
9-Royal Jordanian Club 
10-Palestinian Jerusalem Employees Club 
The competition was held under the Swiss rules, where every team had to play 9 games. Ahli Sanaa was able to earn 17.5 points in their nine games, which earned them a tie for fourth with the Syrian Al-Majd Club. Al-Wahda might have been able to reach second if not for the professional Russian chess-masters who were playing for the Dubai and Doha Clubs. These clubs have sufficient resources to hire professionals, which none of the other clubs did. The International Master Hameed Al-Qadhi, a member of the Yemeni team, won second place and the silver medal in the individual competition. This is the first medal that Yemen has earned in 1999. However, Zindan Al-Zindani lost his chance at the bronze medal due to mental exhaustion from playing two rounds every day. This was something that the Yemenis were not prepared for, and it hurt several of the players. Yahya Faraj of Al-Wahda was able to obtain a draw with mighty players such as the Russian professional chess-master Von Joltiny who plays and trains in Doha Chess Club of Qatar. He was also able to gain a draw in a game with the Syrian Imad Haqqi, and defeated last year’s Egyptian chess champion, Wala Tharwat. 
The head of Al-Wahda Club Chess Team spoke to the Yemen Times: 
“The competition in this championship was quite strong, especially for us Yemenis, who had not had much experience with this system of two rounds per day. Each round lasted more than 5 hours without a break. I think that if not for the harsh system and the professional Russian players, we could have gained a much better result. As it was, we did quite well. But of course, the most fascinating thing about this championship is the wonderful coordination and love I witnessed from my other Arab brothers.”