Winners of World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018 Print
Saturday, 15 September 2018 12:16


World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018: Round 11

In the open section we had already the champion determined due to Maghsoodloo’s amazing 9,5/10 but in girls everything remained open and it was clear that today we’ll see big fights on top boards.

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Girls didn’t disappoint and all games on top boards were extremely interesting with all players trying to win. On the first board Tokhirjonova - Dordziheva ended in a stalemate on 73rd moves after a tough fight with both sides needing a win since on third board Maltsevskaya won against Potapova after some very aggressive play. This meant thanks to her compatriot Dordzhieva’s efforts Maltsevskaya, although having the same points - 8,5 - with Tokhirjonova, got the first place and became the 2018 World Girls U-20 Chess Champion! Congratulations to Aleksandra Maltsevskaya for her excellent result and also very impressive level of play she showed throughout the championship! Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonava from Uzbekistan has got thanks to her brilliant late run second place and on third place, probably Caissa has some mercy after all, we see Nino Khomeriki from Georgia with 8 points who truly deserved it with her excellent start of 6/6 and also very high level of chess much above the average.

In open section Andrey Esipenko became the hero of the day winning against a relaxed Maghsoodloo on top board in a game where he pressed throughout the game until his opponent finally cracked. Some balance in the things at work after Maghsoodloo’s meteoric rise perhaps? Anyway accomplishing this heroic feat unfortunately for Esipenko didn’t mean a medal since the Russian talent didn’t have better tiebreak than the Indian GM Abhimanyu Puranik (2nd) and another Russian IM Sergei Lobanov. (3rd)

Congratulations to Maghsoodloo, Puranik and Lobanov as well as all the other players who showed great sportsmanship and produced excellent fighting chess. We hope it’s been a joy for them to compete here and expect to see them soon in another international event! Best of luck to all young players in their future careers!

Open Round 11 Results

Girls Round 11 Results

World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018: Round 10

And what a champion he is! The unstoppable Maghsoodloo pulled off his trick again and simply outclassed his strong opponent to win the championship with a round to spare. It wouldn’t even matter if there were two more rounds actually since with 9,5 points he is two full points ahead of his closest followers. Time to call him the “Maghician from Persia” perhaps? Anyway it’s sure that we’re facing a big talent here and he’s definitely one of the main candidates in the world now to enter the superelite in near future. Even Carlsen himself would find it not so easy to match or surpass Maghsoodloo’s score in this championship. A proud moment for Maghsoodloo and his country Iran. Although the coach Ivan Sokolov predicted that 2020 will be the year of Iranian National Team, perhaps even this year in Batumi Maghsoodloo & co. will compete for top places!

Open Round 10 Results


The fight for second and third places is still on however in the open section. There are six players with 7,5 points and another six with 7 so we can expect some great fights on top boards tomorrow. If we look at the pairings, from players with 7,5 points Esipenko has a tough job playing against the champion while his countryman Lobanov has perhaps a relatively easier but again very strong opponent: Christiansen from Norway. Hakobyan will play against Indian grandmaster Puranik and another Armenian GM Martirosyan will have the task of playing black against China’s only hope for medals: Bai Jinshi. Firouzja - Narayanan, Vavulin-Tabatabaei and Donchenko – Pichot matchups might also become important if there are draws on the games of players with 7,5 points.

Girls Round 10 Results

In the girls section however everything remains unclear. The fourth seed Tokhirjonova won her fourth game in a row today and is now the sole leader with 8 points. A great run by the Uzbek player after a slow start, worthy of Usain Bolt. The Russian trio, Maltsevskaya, Dordzhieva and Assaubayeva, are following her at a close distance with 7,5 points and if Dordzhieva can win - or at least make draw - against Tokhirjonova we might even see an all Russian podium! Also 8 players are at 7 points (Zhu, Tsolakidou, Potapova, Varshini, Nomin-Erdene, Nurgali, Khomeriki, Paramzina) and if the Russians with 7,5 points lose their games tomorrow they will have the chance to become second or third. Lots of excitement seems to be waiting for us tomorrow morning! The last round will start on September 15 at 10.00. Stay tuned for an entertaining final round and live commentary of IM Ekaterina Atalık & FM Tarik Selbes!

World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018: Round 9

Yesterday we asked if anyone can stop Parham Maghsoodloo. The question is still on but we now know that even if anyone can that player is not Awonder Liang as he lost from the black side of a King’s Indian Attack a game without much counterplay after opting for a wrong plan. Now Parham Maghsoodloo is at 8,5/9 points with a safe distance of 1,5 points from a pack of five players with 7 players. A draw in the last rounds will suffice for shared first and two draws or one win will mean that the Iranian will finish clear first. What an incredible run by Maghsoodloo! After his recent sensational 8/9 score at the very strong Sharjah Masters the Iranian continues to fly high!

In girls section things remained very much unclear, if anything this round muddied the waters even further. Khomeriki lost against Assaubayeva and since there was a draw on the first board we have now five players with 7 points who are followed by three with 6,5. The penultimate round will see many exciting games, that’s for sure.

Open Round 9 Results

We have already mentioned that Maghsoodloo won against Liang on first board. You can find this game with some light analysis here. Again Maghsoodloo was very efficient in realizing his big advantage but to be fair Awonder Liang also played much below his standard in this game. But it doesn’t matter for Darius, sorry, Parham the Great of Persia who just continues winning one battle after another, be it against Wang Hao in Sharjah or here against Liang.

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It wasn’t a great day for Iran though since both Firouzja (against Puranik from India) and Tabatabei (against Christiansen from Norway) lost this round and are now left behind in the race for medals. Hakobyan won against Manuel Petrosyan in a good style - except for one slip - and managed to go forward before the last two rounds at the expense of his compatriot.

The other two players with 7 points are Maxim Vavulin of Russia and Bai Jinshi from China. Bai Jinshi’s rook endgame against Sindarov was finely played by the Chinese grandmaster but Sindarov could have made things much harder and eventually achieve a draw - perhaps - had he played something like 32…f6 instead of going back with king and losing tempi at the inavoidable rook vs pawns ending afterwards.

The most important matchups of 10th round are Maghsoodloo – Vavulin, Puranik – Bai Jinshi and Christiansen – Hakobyan. Maghsoodloo can settle for a draw if he doesn’t want to risk but if he wins he can already celebrate clear first place and in this form it is highly doubtful that he’ll play for a draw!

Girls Round 9 Results

On top board, Maltsevskaya - Dordzhieva it was a game with many ups and downs so the draw in the end was a fair result probably. This meant if Khomeriki won against Assaubayeva she would be clear first but the Georgian player at no point came close to it. Still one should feel pity for Nino Khomeriki as she lost on time just before she could make her 40th move and the final position on the board was definitely unclear and even balanced according to computer. Another shaky win for Assaubayeva but as long as you have a full point at the end of the game probably anything goes.

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If you look at the standings we see a big success for Russia. Maltsevskaya, Dordzhieva, Assaubayeva and Potapova have all 7 points and share the lead. The only non-Russian at 7 points is Uzbek WGM Tokhirjonova who will try to fight her way through to championship against Russian girls in the last two rounds. Khomeriki, Nurgali and Varshini are all at 6,5 points and they will try to win their last two games and then hope for the best.

The penultimate, 10th, round will start on September 14, at 15:00 local time. Don’t forget to follow the live broadcast and commentary by IM Ekaterina Atalık and FM Tarik Selbes!

You can find this game with some light analysis here.

World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018: Round 8

Can anyone stop Parham Maghsoodloo? The way he plays, he’s simply irresistible. His performance is reminiscent of Mamedyarov’s - as the most recent example which comes to mind - totally dominating performances at youth and junior events. Only time will if he match or even surpass his achievements but we can safely predict that we’ll soon see the young Iranian enter the elite 2700+ club.

In girls section not much has changed with the games of leaders, top two boards, being drawn and Khomeriki, Dordzhieva and Maltsevskaya continue to share the lead entering the last three rounds. Who will emerge victorious from this trio or their close followers is probably a question we’ll only be able to answer after the last round.

Open Round 8 Results

Maghsoodloo’s win and his amazing 7,5/8 score is definitely the most important news of the day. The Iranian chose the Classical Sicilian against IM Venkataraman of India and in Richter-Rauzer Maghsoodloo played 9…Bd7, a pet line of the famous Croatian grandmaster Zdenko Kozul. The Indian master - probably wisely after his choice of a3 - decided to lead the game to a complex Sicilian ending. In the beginning it looked like white might get a slight advantage but Maghsoodloo played it better than his opponent and when his opponent went completely wrong trading e-pawn with black b-pawn and thus opening up the position to blacks advantage the Iranian grandmaster played almost flawlessly till the end. Just three more rounds to go and we might see Iran getting the gold!

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On second board things didn’t go as smoothly as on first board however for Iran. Alireza Firouzja misplayed the Delayed Exchange Ruy Lopez against the American Awonder Liang and found himself already seriously worse around 15th move. There didn’t seem to be much counterplay and the way Firouzja tried to create it only led to more weaknesses and material deficit which Liang exploited very efficiently. Great game for the American grandmaster and a surprisingly easy win.

In 9th round we’ll see the sole leader Maghsoodloo (7,5 pts) playing white against Liang (6,5 pts), and a win for the Iranian will mean that he will practically clinch the title. If Liang wins though everything will be up for grabs and even some of the ten players with 6 points might begin dreaming of becoming champion! The most important matchup of the open section for sure!

Girls Round 8 Results

In girls section Khomeriki – Maltsevskaya and Potapova – Dordzhieva on top two boards ended in draws and since the only other player except Potapova with 5,5 points, Gorti lost an equal ending in zeitnot to Tokhirjonova no one could reach them which means Khomeriki and the two Russians, Maltsevskaya and Dordzhieva are still in the lead before the last three rounds.

Potapova – Dordzhieva game always revolved around equality but on first board Khomeriki seemed to get a significant lasting advantage. However against Maltsevskaya’s positionally dubious but active play the Georgian star couldn’t play precisely and the game ended in a repetition.

The rook endgame with pawn races in Zhu – Paramzina game - which should probably have never occurred had Paramzina played more positionally sound - made our commentators sweat in the live commentary room and it can definitely serve the purpose of a training material for calculation. Although there was one very important mistake on 40th move Paramzina generally played the ending superbly and got a necessary win crucial for her chances in the championship.

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The highly dramatic Assaubayeva – Sliwicka game was definitely a miracle for the Russian player. Since some very important Russian writers came up with it, there has been always a talk of a characteristic Russian soul. One of its features is a belief in miracles and it seems sometimes this approach too works. The clearest win for Sliwicka was 54…Nc6, a terribly easy move to make but sometimes Caissa can cloud your mind totally and the Polish player completely lost the thread of the game afterwards, managing first to turn a totally winning position to a draw and then finally to a loss! A really lucky moment for Bibisara Assaubayeva, whose play in this championship failed to impress but she’s still in contention for the first place.

In 9th round there are very important matchups: Maltsevskaya – Dordzhieva, Assaubayeva – Khomeriki, Paramzina – Tokhirjonova and Hojjatova – Potapova. The winners - if any - will be in a very good position to fight for the title in the last two rounds!

9th round will start on September 13, 15.00 local time. As we are getting closer to the end the games too are getting more and more exciting! Don’t forget to watch the live broadcast & commentary by IM Arduman & FM Selbes with surprise guests.

World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018: Round 7

2018 World Junior Championship continues with full pace! All games were rich in terms of pure chess content as always and the round turned out to be a crucial one in both sections. The only player with full score, Nino Khomeriki from Georgia was finally beaten by WIM Dordzhieva and together with Maltsevskaya there are now three players with 6 points in girls section. In open section the game of leaders Maghsoodloo and Sindarov ended in Iranian stars favor, in which a theoretical debate resulted in a very sharp position where Maghsoodloo managed to outplay his young opponent. This leeaves Maghsoodloo alone at the top with 6,5 points and he’s followed by his compatriot GM Firouzja and Indian IM Venkataraman from a half a point distance.

Open Round 7 Results

The most awaited game of the day was obviously Maghsoodloo – Sindarov. A win by any player would have meant to be sole leader, a feat which was accomplished by the more experienced Iranian grandmaster. Players entered into some wild complications already seen a few times in grandmaster play, most notably in Dubov – Kovalev, Aeroflot 2017. It was Sindarov who went off the beaten path with his 16…Bg4!? instead of Kovalev’s more logical choice 16…exd4 which appears to be more solid and objectively better. However Sindarov’s choice gave black a dangerous initiative and active play as well. Parham Maghsoodloo is a calculating beast who is not afraid of complications and risks however and when he found the great maneuver Bc1-Ba3, followed by Bb3 it was obvious that only white can play for a win. Although there were few slips and a missed drawing opportunity for Sindarov with 37…Rh4! the Iranian grandmaster showed a high level of play in general and gained deservedly the full point.

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On second board the game which started as Italian turned out to be a King’s Indian after all, in terms of pawn structure. It was GM Firouzja who played better and he beat Vavulin in a fine game with the theme of absolute positional dominance. If Tabatabaei could have won on third board too it would have been a perfect day for Iran but things are rarely so perfect in life and it was the Indian IM Venkataraman who got the full point, thanks to a sudden switch to a kingside attack for which Tabatabaei was completely unprepared. A very instructive game!

Other winners of the round on top boards were Hakobyan, Liang, Christiansen and Bai Jinshi. Of these games the most dramatic one was definitely Christiansen – Narayanan. The strong Indian grandmaster was two pawns up in a queens ending but somehow found a way to löse! This could’ve been a nice entry for Dvoretsky’s “Tragicomedies” collection, had Mark Dvoretsky still lived.

In 8th round we’ll have Venkataraman – Maghsoodloo, Liang – Firouzja, Bai Jinshi – Christiansen, Sindarov – Hakobyan on top boards, all pretty difficult and even matchups promising great entertainment for chess fans already!

Girls Round 7 Results

If Khomeriki had won today she could have left a big step behind towards the title but things went wrong for the Georgian and she lost her first point here. To be fair her opponent Dordzhieva from Russia played a good game after she gained the advantage so this loss was definitely not a surprise in the actual sense of the word. A bad result for Georgia but nothing is lost, she’s still at the top and a few wins in the coming rounds will easily settle the score for Nino Khomeriki.

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On second board it was a Russian duel between Maltsevskaya and Paramzina which was won by Maltsevskaya in the end. In fact she showed a great level of play, probably on par with Khomeriki in terms of quality, so it wasn’t a surprise. Potapova’s win on fifth board against Sieber of Germany meant a great day for Russian girls actually and as of this round in top 5 we see three Russians!

Pre-championship favorites Assaubayeva and Tsolakidou didn’t have a great day. Bibisara Assaubayeva couldn’t turn her tangible advantage into a win and Tsolakidou probably mixed up something in her preparation as she got a worse position right out of the opening. A major setback for the top seeded Tsolakidou.

In 8th round there are very interesting games on top two boards: Khomeriki – Maltsevskaya and Potapova - Dordzhieva.

The 8th round will start on September 12, 15:00. Don’t miss IM Arduman & FM Selbes’ live commentary and broadcast with surprise guests!

World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018: Round 6

Georgia has been a superpower in women chess for quite some time and it seems soon a new name will be added to the list of countless elite players they produced: Nino Khomeriki. She has an unbeliavable perfect score with 6/6 and already has already managed to put - a quite significant- gap of 1 point between herself and the three Russian musketeers: Maltsevskaya, Dordzhieva and Paramzina. If anyone will be able to stop WIM Khomeriki in the next rounds remains to be seen, but if other players have dreams of becoming champion they better hurry before Khomeriki escapes with the title!

In the open section Parham Maghsoodloo could also keep his perfect score if he beat his compatriot Firouzja but as the game reached a friendly outcome he has 5,5 points and shares the lead with the Uzbek prodigy IM Javokhir Sindarov who has won a fine game against IM Christiansen of Norway. For sure a lot will be on stake in the game between the two leaders next round. The future of Uzbek chess definitely looks to be bright with shining young stars such as IM Sindarov and GM Abdusattorov. Of course Iran is also on course to become a great force in chess world with such young talents like Maghsoodloo, Firouzja, Tabatabaei.

Open Round 6 Results

The game on first board between two Iranian players have seen points split quite friendly in an uneventful manner as already mentioned. Sindarov-Christiansen on second board however provided great entertainment, unless you’re a Norwegian obviously. It seemed that Christiansen wasn’t ready for Sindarov’s idea. Although he drifted into a type of position where he had an unpleasant defence in front of him, there was certainly no need to allow the obvious 19. Rxf6 exchange sacrifice, destroying the black kingside completely after which Sindarov easily rounded up the full point. A great result for Sindarov, a win tomorrow against Maghsoodloo and who knows; we might have the second youngest grandmaster in history!

In the all German game Donchenko – Kollars, Black misplayed in the opening and ended up being pawn down with only slight compensation. But inaccuracies of Donchenko led to the escape of Kollars and the game was drawn. On fourth board Santos Ruiz – Esipenko, the Russian player held perhaps a slight advantage most of the game but it never turned into anything tangible and players agreed to a draw just before it fizzled out to a drawn rook endgame.

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Possibly the game of the round was played on fifth board between two Indian players: Aravindh-Venkataraman. Scheveningen is a very complex system in Sicilian with lots of nuances and it seemed IM Venkataraman had a better understanding of the position. It was a near perfect effort by Black, combining defense with destruction of white center after which black rooks infiltrated white ranks with decisive effect. Truly in the style of Garry Kasparov, the greatest expert of Scheveningen; probably even now.

Other players with 5 points are GM Tabatabei of Iran who managed to beat Indian IM Bharathakoti after the latter made a great mistake on 45th move in a totally equal position and IM Vavulin of Russia who won a game of twists and turns according to Tartakower’s maxim: The game is won by the player who made the next-to-last mistake.

Besides Maghsoodloo-Sindarov the other most important matchups of 7th round are Firouzja – Vavulin and Venkataraman – Tabatabei in the open section.

Girls Round 6 Results

It’s becoming more and more a one man show or in this case a one girl show rather. Khomeriki played another high-class game, this time in the ultra-theoretical and sharp Meran against Bulgarian FM Antova, and scored another nice win to keep her perfect score. The accuracy of Georgian so far has really been above the others and that shows itself in the standings as well. Very impressive!

On second board Maltsevskaya played another fine game against Assaubayeva but being in mutual zeitnot she couldn’t calculate a win and opted for a draw. A good result for FM Assaubayeva who couldn’t show her strength in this particular game.

On third and fourth boards Russian girls WIM Dordzhieva and WGM Paramzina win with white pieces against Haussernot and Sliwicka respectively. Dordzhieva – Haussernot was pretty fun to watch with mutual mistakes in a very complex position which finally ended in favor of the Russian. Paramzina – Sliwicka was a more one-sided and correct effort but it had another interesting feature. Sliwicka played the same idea Khomeriki used to beat her yesterday with black pieces but the Polish player lost again! Losing two games in a row in almost the same position both as white and black must feel upsetting. Still Sliwicka showed her strength in the rounds before and best of luck to her in the rest of the championship!

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Finally the story of the round! On fifth board IM Tsolakidou was playing with white against WFM Hilario of Peru. Although she missed an opportunity for getting a big advantage by playing 8.a3 - instead she chose 8. Qc2 - according to her trainer Ioannis Papaioannou, she still managed to get a playable position. However no one could expect that the game would end on 12th move! Tsolakidou took the black knight with 12. Nxd5 and after 12…Nxd5 or 12…exd5 the game would have continued. Instead of taking back the knight however the Peruvian player touched her c-pawn, after which she had no choice but resign! A very unfortunate event for Hilario and a very precious gift for Tsolakidou.

In 7th round Dordzhieva – Khomeriki and Maltsevskaya – Paramzina will definitely be the games to follow as well as Gorti – Tsolakidou and Antova – Assaubayeva.

The 7th round will start on September 11, 15:00 local time. Don’t forget to follow the games and live commentary of IM Arduman & FM Selbes with the always entertaining and instructive GM Papaioannou as the guest commentator.

World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018: Round 5

As we leave the fifth round behind, we have in both categories a sole leader with full points. In the open section Parham Maghsoodlo from Iran had been overpowering his opponents so far with his brilliant calculation ability and today was no exception either so he keeps his perfect score as of now. In the women section it was Nino Khomeriki from Georgia who emerged as the winner in the game between two leaders so she’s leading with 5 points. A great achievement for both but there’s no time to relax as there are six more difficult games to play!

Open Round 5 Results

All eyes were set on the first two boards in the open section as the players with perfect scores were paired against each other. GM Maghsoodloo was black against IM Bharathakoti and his compatriot GM Firouzja had white pieces against Uzbek IM Sindarov. At one point it seemed like Firouzja will win and Maghsoodloo is going to make a draw but when the round has ended it was the opposite! Still a great day for Iran with the other Iranian grandmaster Tabatabaei also winning!

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Harsha Bharathakoti actually put up a good fight against Maghsoodloo and it seemed like he gained the upper hand in a 5. Bd2!? Nimzo-Indian, a popular sideline recently used by many players to avoid the theory. As Maghsoodloo himself admitted in the postmortem analysis black hasn’t played in the best fashion but still managed to get a good position. Things really began to look scary when the Iranian superstar lost two tempi playing the f6-knight to e4 via e8-d6 route instead of immediately playing 16…Ne4. According to GM Maghsoodloo 22. f5! push would have been much more dangerous than 22.d5 - a very accurate assessment according to our silicon friend. The move in the game also seemed very scary but Maghsoodloo managed to find all the best moves to neutralize white’s attack. To give Bharathakoti his due, the Indian IM attacked vigorously, with a rook sacrifice and so on, and a lesser player could easily lose with black. The resilient defense of Maghsoodloo paid off in the end and in a position, which could have been drawn, Indian IM missed 37…Bh3! which basically forces mate. Another very entertaining game by the young Iranian!

Firouzja too didn’t disappoint in terms of entertainment. Sindarov who has played Zaitsev, an opening line which was featured in Kasparov-Karpov matches very frequently as Igor Zaitsev himself was seconding Karpov, wasn’t probably familiar with the Ree3-b3 idea of white, attacking the black pawns and at the same time trying to put the dark squared bishop in the long diagonal with deadly threats. The exchange of dark squared bishops was positionally very undesirable for black and it also cost him a pawn. Firouzja seemed to be winning easily but the young Uzbek didn’t lose any heart in defense and complicated the matters as much as he could. To pull the hippopotamus out of the marsh of complications wasn’t an easy task for anyone and Firouzja trying to play safely missed the win. All he could get was a rook+knight vs rook endgame in the end and players agreed to a draw. A near miss for the Iranian star but Sindarov also fought in a very exemplary fashion once he found himself in a lost position.

IM Christiansen from Norway played a very good game in Fianchetto Grünfeld and didn’t give his opponent any chance at all. A tour de force from the first move! The same can also be said of Esipenko-Tang game. Russian young talent GM Andrey Esipenko played a great positional game in the style of Karpov, very pleasing to the eyes of fans of positional play for sure. After the free day on Monday we’ll see an Iranian derby between Maghsoodloo and Firouzja on first board. On second board Sindarov will play against Christiansen with white pieces. With other matchups such as Donchenko-Kollars and Santos Ruiz-Esipenko the sixth round is going to be very interesting for sure.

Girls Round 5 Results

In girls section today was another bloodfest with top six games being decisive. On the first board Nino Khomeriki answered the Italian Game with Two Knights Defense with Be7; usually a line which resembles Ruy Lopez. However Khomeriki had a different take on it and she opted for an aggressive plan with Nh7-f5-f4. It proved to be a very wise decision as Sliwicka found the aggressive threats of black on the kingside very difficult to deal with. A great result for the young Georgian who is now with 5/5 the sole leader.

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On second board we had Maltsevskaya-Tsolakidiou matchup and it provided some very instructive lessons on play with/against isolani. If you wonder what kind of lessons these are please watch comments of GM Ioannis Papaioannou in the live commentary room about positions with isolated pawns and this game in particular. Although initially it seemed like Tsolakidou equalized easily when she embarked on a faulty knight maneuver with 19…Ne7?! White gained the upper hand. There followed a very purposeful play by Maltsevskaya and she simply outplayed her opponent. A nice win for the Russian player who finds herself just half a point behind Khomeriki together with the Bulgarian FM Antova who won against Chinese WIM Chu in an epic game which lasted 97 moves!

Assaubayeva won today and reached 4 points, something which the sixth seed Azeri Hojjatova couldn’t do as she lost in a not so good fashion against Peruvian WFM Hilario. Other players with 4 points are Haussernot from France and Dordzhieva and Paramzina from Russian Federation.

There are also tough games awaiting us in the next round such as Khomeriki-Antova, Assaubayeva-Maltsevskaya, Dordzhieva- Haussernot and Paramzina – Sliwicka. Don’t miss the always entertaining and hard-fought games of the girls section. When it comes to willpower and energy girls can teach a thing or two to boys!

Tomorrow is free day in the championship. The sixth round will start on September 10, Monday 15:00 local time. See you in the live broadcast & commentary on Monday but let’s all have a one day rest first!

World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018: Rounds 3-4

With double rounds today was very exhausting for players. Even though they are all under 20 and at the peak of their energy playing high-level chess from 10 am to 10 pm in such a difficult championship takes its toll even on the fittest of all. But anyway we witnessed many great battles today and in terms of sheer chess content it was an amazingly rich day.

Open Round 3 Results

Open Round 4 Results

After the two rounds played today in the open section we have four players left with perfect score. Two Iranians, top seed GM Parham Maghsoodloo and eight seed GM Alireza Firouzja as well as the 12 years old Uzbek sensation IM Javokhir Sindarov and the 40th seed (!) Indian IM Bharathakoti Harsha. However as Greek GM Ioannis Papaioannou wisely said on the live commentary: “First three rounds mean nothing at such a long championship and the last three rounds everything!” So everything is pretty much on.

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The top seed Maghsoodloo played two extremely difficult and interesting games today. In the morning round Polish IM Lukasz Jarmula have played very well up to a point against the Iranian star and have got a very promising position. Fortunately for Maghsoodloo his opponent went wrong with 42. Ng7?, putting the knight on a wrong square which turned the tables completely. Perhaps not in a very accurate fashion but still the Iranian managed to punish his opponent for his mistake in the end. In the afternoon the game was again very difficult. This time, against the strong Armenian GM Hakobyan, it was always Maghsoodloo who held the advantage but the resulting queen and bishop ending with an extra pawn was terribly difficult to calculate; especially the advanced h-pawn was always a source of worry for white. Hakobyan’s tenacious play was almost rewarded at the end as his opponent played 73. e7??, thinking that after 73…Qxe7 the h-pawn is won by a series of checks; missing the Kh8-Qh7 idea which protects the h-pawn and forces Maghsoodloo to a draw. Still an impressive performance by Parham Maghsoodloo overall. One has to give credit to players who have played so many hours today and were probably extremely tired.

Firouzja has also played two very entertaining games, against Vugar Asadli in the morning round and then in the afternoon against Andrew Tang, a familiar name to online chess community. Both games were well played, even though Firouzja gave his opponents few chances to save both games it always seemed like he was the side pushing for a win.

The Uzbek prodigy Javokhir Sindarov made good use of two whites today and beat two very strong grandmasters in a row: Tabatabaei and Aravindh! Just an advice for Sindarov’s future opponents: Don’t play the Sicilian or even if you do, don’t let him play Nxc6 followed by e5 because he will beat you! Keep this boys name in your mind because it seems that you will hear it a lot in maybe 5-6 years from now on. If he wins this championship he will automatically become GM and thus become the second youngest grandmaster ever after Karjakin!

Top boards on 5th round will be Harsha Barathkoti - Maghsoodloo and Firouzja – Sindarov. Let’s see which players can keep their perfect score, if any!

Girls Round 3 Results

Girls Round 4 Results

In girls section we have only two players left with perfect score: WFM Alicja Sliwicka from Poland and WIM Nino Khomeriki from Georgia. As both countries are known for their strength in women chess it seems that they also have fresh talents coming up! Both players made a good impression with their play today, especially in the last round.

Sliwicka’s win against Gorti from USA was brilliant where the young Polish talent managed to keep control of the game until the very end. Khomeriki also played a brilliancy and punished some not so precise opening play by Kazakh Nurgali very efficiently. It seems that both players are in a great form and play at a higher level than their ratings suggest.

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Bibisara Assaubayeva, the third seed of the championship, had a 2/2 start but today achieved only two draws although having acquired great winning chances in both games. Top seeded IM Tsolakidou fared much better however as she won two good games and enter the fifth round just half a point behind the leaders.

Fourth round saw two very important surprise results too, 4th seed WGM Tokhirjonova losing to Maltsevskaya and 2nd seed IM Nomin-Erdene getting a second loss, this time against Chinese Yuxin Song who is having a great championship. The fifth seed WIM Zhu Jiner also didn’t have a great day, with one draw against Ece Özbay and a loss against her compatriot WIM Ruotong Chu she has only 2 points as of now and will try to make a comeback.

The 5th round will start on September 8, 14:00 local time. Stay tuned for very entertaining games tomorrow and also don’t miss the live commentary of IM Arduman & FM Selbes!

Daily results at

World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018: Round 2

Although first round was by no means a one-sided battle for favorites, the second round was destined to be even tougher as the rating differences between paired opponents got less. All the games were hard-fought and contained interesting and bold play from young stars.

Open Round 2 Results

In the open section it was a good day for 2600+ players as Maghsoodloo, Donchenko and Karthikeyan - despite the draw in the first round you can count Jorden van Foreest as well - all won fine games against their lesser rated opponents, thus entering the third round unharmed with 2 points.

One of the greatest upsets of the round was the defeat of the 16 years old Russian star Andrey Esipenko, at the hands of 18 years old Kazakh player Denis Makhnev. IM Makhnev played the opening phase of a Semi-Tarrasch game not too well and allowed Esipenko to equalize easily. At one point it looked like Black could even take the initiative but things have changed with Esipenko’s very quickly played move 18…Rd8? Makhnev found the best way of playing, namely with the idea of trapping the awkwardly placed black queen; a problem which Esipenko found very hard to deal with. By move 25 Makhnev won the f7-pawn and then went on to calculate a brilliant sequence of tactics to reach a double rooks ending with an extra bishop vs two pawns; which he converted perfectly. A great performance by the Kazakh player!

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The fifth board also saw a brilliant win by the Chinese grandmaster Xu. The intermediate move 20. Rxf6! was a beautiful exchange sacrifice after which the passivity of black pieces and mate threats led to a material down and totally lost ending for Janik from Poland.

Two other notable games in both of which underdogs have won against their opponents need to be mentioned. IM Percivaldi from Denmark won what seemed to be a very well played game against GM Bai from China, punishing his opponent for his reckless play. The 13 years old Işık Can of Turkey, one of the brightest stars of Turkish chess, managed to win against IM Lobanov from Russia; thanks to a very dangerous passed pawn on c-file. A very well played ending by the young FM! At 2 points Işık Can is also leading the race between the local players as of now.

By the end of the second round only 25 players remain with full score in the open category and with the exception of Işık Can -against GM Martirosyan (1.5 pts)- they will play against each other. We are still nowhere near the climax of the tournament and the best is yet to come!

Girls Round 2 Results

It was a day of missed opportunities and twists in girls section. There were four draws in the first five boards but it could easily have been five decisive games as well.

IM Tsolakidou of Greece, the top seed of the championship, had a significant advantage in a queenless middlegame position against Chinese WIM Chu but when she missed a couple of nuances at critical moments her advantage dissipated and the game ended in a draw. Bibisara Assaubayeva won on second board against Indian WIM Varshini, a game which went equal for a long time but when the Indian WIM finally faltered FM Assaubayeva didn’t give a second chance to her opponent.

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Perhaps the most incredible game of the round was played on third board, between German FM Schneider and the Uzbek WGM Tokhirjonova. Schneider opted for a wrong setup in Giuoco Pianissimo and handed down a very dangerous kingside attack to her opponent which was probably winning at a few moments of the game. However WGM Tokhirjonova lost her way and somehow a winning ending for white emerged on the board! FM Schneider played very well, all the way until the promotion after which she was an exchange up with a very easily winning position. Just pushing her passed pawn or mopping up the a-pawn of black was enough to win the game easily but instead miracles began to happen and in the end one can even say that it was white who had to make the draw! If someone speaks of the merits of resigning in completely lost positions show him/her this game!

The wins of Egyptian WGM Wafa and Polish WFM Dwilewicz against WIM Unuk and WIM Haussernot were also very impressive in different ways, the former being a slow grind whereas the latter a 27 move mate after some power play by White!

Third round of 2018 World Junior Chess Championship will start on September 7, 10:00 local time as the next one will be played in the afternoon at 17:00! A tiring day for sure, both for players and our commentators IM Arduman & FM Selbes! See you tomorrow at the live broadcast!

Daily results at

World Junior U20 Chess Championship 2018: Round 1

2018 World Junior Chess Championship and World U-20 Girls Championship have started today. A very important championship historically – just mentioning the fact that world champions Spassky (1955), Karpov(1969), Kasparov (1980) and Anand (1987) have all started as world junior champions is enough - it is definitely the event to follow these days, especially if you want to discover the elite players of future.

This years edition sees a record-breaking number of participation, players from 65 different countries have come to Gebze/Turkey to compete for the most important title U-20. But it’s not just about quantity. In the open section there are 30 players who have an ELO rating higher than 2500, which shows the strength of the competition. As for girls, it might seem to be not as strong as the open category but still in a very evenly matched field anything might happen, so lots of surprises and difficult battles should be expected in this category as well. Let’s have a short look at first round in both sections.


Open Round 1 Results

The first round usually brings heavy favorites against weak players but not here. For example on the first board GM Maghsoodloo (2649) from Iran found himself matched up against FM Wadsworth (2351) of England. Certainly not a championship to be taken lightly, even the very start is quite difficult in this marathon.

That being said still the first round saw few surprises. 12 years old Russian talent Volodar Murzin held against the second seed Jorden van Foreest and thus managed to begin the championship with a draw, usually not a bad result if you are playing with black against a 2624 ELO player! One of the local hopes, FM Tuna Tuncer of Turkey has played a very clean game against GM Martirosyan (2597) of Armenia and in a position with a material imbalance accepted the draw offer of his opponent. Probably a wise decision by the Armenian grandmaster, as black knight and bishop had trouble finding good squares for themselves whereas the same cannot be said of white rook and pawns.

In the second round we’ll see closer matchups than today and we can certainly expect a great amount of hard-fought games! Stay tuned for the live broadcast!

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Girls Round 1 Results

Women chess in general is a lot more exciting than men and this first round was also another occasion proving it. On board number one, the rating favorite Stavroula Tsolakidou from Greece seemed to be cruising to victory but then somehow found herself completely lost! This was not the end of the drama though as her opponent Malatsilava returned the favor and thus lost her chance to inflict a very upsetting defeat on IM Tsolakidou at the start of the championship.

The second board also saw the underdog getting winning chances, this time actually capitalizing on it. The second seed IM Nomin-Erdene from Mongolia found out that her Chilean opponent is not to be underestimated and lost in an uncomfortable position despite opposite-colored bishops to WIM Gomez Barrera. An early setback after which the Mongolian star will have a hard time climbing up the ranks again, but in an 11-rounds event everything’s possible!

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There are tough pairings in the second round as Tsolakidou and Assaubayeva will find themselves matched up against Chinese WIM Ruotong and Indian WIM Varshini respectively. If you think about how underrated players from China and India actually are these matches will be quite interesting to follow!

See you all at the second round starting on September 6, 15:00 local time! Don’t miss the live broadcast and commentary by IM Arduman & FM Selbes!

Daily results at

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