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Alef Super Stars 2023 R1: Nihal and Yangyi make a winning start

by Shahid Ahmed - 28/11/2023

Nihal Sarin started with a convincing victory over Salem Saleh in the first round of Alef Super Stars 2023. In their first ever Classical rated game, Nihal made the most out of his opportunity when his opponent made a positional mistake by giving up his isolated d-pawn incorrectly. China no.3 Yangyi Yu completely decimated the new Hungary no.1 Sanan Sjugirov. The total prize fund of the tournament is US$15000. The prizes are $6000 + cup, $4000 and $3000 along with Gold, Silver and Bronze medal each. The event will be played Classical and Rapid games in double Round Robin format, while the Blitz event will be played in triple Round-Robin format. Classical is given maximum weightage, followed by Rapid and Blitz. Round 2 starts today at 4:30 p.m. local time, 6 p.m. IST. Photos: Aditya Sur Roy

A super strong four player round-robin event

The average rating of Alef Super Stars 2023 is 2688. Since the winner will be decided based on a combined score in Classical, Rapid and Blitz, one must show their prowess against their strong opposition in all three formats and on multiple occasion to claim the crown.

Nihal Sarin started the event with a comfortable win over the UAE no.1 - Salem Saleh

Nihal - Salem: 1-0

As per Mega Database, GM Nihal Sarin (2692) played the UAE no.1 GM Salem Saleh (2635) only twice in rated games. Both of them were Blitz and Nihal won them. For the first time, they played a Classical rated game yesterday.

Position after 14...d5

The isolated d6-pawn was a goner. There was no good way for Black to save it. 14...d5 helped White in creating a passed pawn 15.exd5 Bf5 16.Kf1 White does not need to castle. He can move the king to g2 to connect the rooks, if and when required. 16...Re8 17.Kg2 Rc8 18.Bb5 Bd7 19.Bxd7 Nxd7 20.d6 and White went on to win the game, thanks to his isolated d6-passed pawn.

GM Nihal Sarin vs GM Salem Saleh - Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India
How Deep Do Chess players Analyze? Nihal Sarin and Salem Saleh's Intense Post Game Analysis | Video: ChessBase India
GM Yangyi Yu (CHN) vs GM Sanan Sjugirov (HUN) | Video: ChessBase India
I am very happy to win the game - Yangyi Yu on beating Sanan Sjugirov | Video: ChessBase India

GM Yangyi Yu (CHN) decimated GM Sanan Sjugirov (HUN)

Photo Gallery

Inaugural first move is being made

The playing hall at Al Mamsha complex in Sharjah, UAE

Players and accompanying persons can play on a giant board at Alef Chess Olympiad

Spectators following Alef Super Stars 2023 games live

Player portraits on standees at Al Mamsha complex in Sharjah, UAE

For more Round 1 photos, please click here.


All four players will play Double Round Robin in Classical and Rapid time controls. The Blitz event will be a Triple Round-Robin.

Time control

Classical: 40 moves in 90 minutes + additional 30 minutes with an increment of 30 seconds from move no.1.

Rapid: 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment.

Blitz: 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment.


Classical: Win - 6 points, Draw - 3 points and Loss - 0

Rapid: Win - 4, Draw - 2 and Loss - 0

Blitz: Win - 2, Draw - 1 and Loss - 0


Classical: 27th November to 3rd December. Every day game starts at 4:30 p.m. local time, 6 p.m. IST. Rest day is on Friday 1st December 2023.

Rapid: 4th and 5th December. Three rounds each day from 4:30 p.m. local time, 6 p.m. IST.

Blitz: 6th December. Round 1 starts at 4:30 p.m. local time, 6 p.m. IST.

Replay Round 1 games

Round 1 results

112692GMNihal, Sarin1 - 0GMSalem, A.R. Saleh26354
222720GMYu, Yangyi1 - 0GMSjugirov, Sanan27033

Standings after Round 1

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2 
11GMNihal, SarinIND2692100
2GMYu, YangyiCHN2720100
33GMSjugirov, SananHUN2703000
4GMSalem, A.R. SalehUAE2635000


Round 2 pairings

142635GMSalem, A.R. SalehGMSjugirov, Sanan27033
212692GMNihal, SarinGMYu, Yangyi27202


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