Former Azerbaijan national champion and coach Grandmaster (GM) Eltaj Safarli made a strong start in the Dubai Open Chess Tournament by defeating Greek GM Efstratios Grivas in the opening round. Safarli secured victory after a swift 30-move display of dominance at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

While the other matches were still underway, Safarli showcased his prowess from the white side of a Sicilian — Rossolimo Attack, outplaying Grivas and gaining a full piece advantage on the 26th move. This forced Grivas, a renowned chess author and trainer based in the UAE, to resign four moves later.

Meanwhile, tournament top-seed GM Teimour Radjabov from Azerbaijan found himself held to a draw by Al Ain-based Georgian chess coach International Master (IM) Giorgi Sibashvili, despite a 300-point rating difference. The day also saw victories for other top-10 seeds including teenage second-seed GM Raunak Sadhwani of India, sixth-seed GM Velimir Ivić of Serbia, and 10th-seed S.P. Sethuraman of India.

The second round of the tournament is scheduled to commence on Sunday from 5pm.