12-year-old Alireza Firouzja is Iranian Champion

by Albert Silver
1/28/2016 – Three youths took the top three spots in the Iranian Championship that just ended in Tehran, Iran, and all three will be playing on the national team at the Olympiad in Baku later this year. At the top was 12-year-old Alireza Firouzja, who dominated the event and took first a full point ahead. He also became the youngest champion in history.

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Photos by Reza Mahdipour

The 2016 Iranian Championship was held in Tehran, Iran, ran from January 21-28. At stake was more than the title of Iranian Champion, but also five spots on the national team in the forthcoming Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan. In a field filled with young talents, were also veteran players such as top-seed Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (2594) who has already won it twelve times, or Darini Pouria who was the runner-up in 2015.

It was a fascinating and well conducted event

The games were all broadcast online via DGT boards

After ten rounds, the leader was twelve-year-old Alireza Firouzja, who faced one of the lowest rated
players in the field. The gold was not at all certain so a win was the only way to ensure the
top prize. He showed great character and won his game to take sole first a point ahead of the rest.

In second, going into the final round, was 15-year-old Parham Maghsoodloo who had held
the lead for a couple of rounds, but now trailed by half a point. Parham may not ring any
bells, but he was the youngest participant of all in the last World Cup competition.

14-year-old Aryan Gholami, a former World Youth champion, managed to take silver in a
crowded fight for the top spots

GM Morteza Mahjoob and Mohammad Zarei, a veteran Iranian chess journalist. GM Majboob
is not only a former national champion, but is also one of Firouzja's current coaches. Another
of his current coaches is GM Arman Pashikian from Armenia, who prepared Alireza for every round.

Obviously, his most important supporter is his father, seated next to Alireza here

Shahin Lorparizangeneh, who came in fifth, and thus will be on the team, has already won
five Asian Youth chess titles!

GM Pouria Darini, who failed to make the team, might also have caused
the downfall of...

... GM Ehsan Maghami (left) had he won his final game. Instead, he only drew and Ehsan
made the squad.

Standing on the left is IA Kaveh Honari, a former vice-champion, who was the chief arbiter

It wasn't his most memorable tournament, but Maziar Bagheri did leave with a win of his own

On the left is Omid Noroozi, playing Shahin Lorparizangeneh. If Omid seems distracted, he
has good reason: in three weeks he will be getting married!

World Under-18 champion Masoud Mosadeghpour also missed out on
the team after coming in eighth

The three champions: 14-year-old Aryan Gholami (silver), 12-year-old Alireza Firouzja (gold),
and 15-year-old Parham Mahhsoodloo (bronze). All three scored IM norms, being Alireza's second.

A group shot of all the players, arbiters, and organizers (click for high-res)

A very special thanks to Reza Mahdipour for the photos and invaluable information.

Final standings


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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mehrdadkhan5 mehrdadkhan5 2/1/2016 03:05
Congratulations to lran chess federation !! Firozja hopefully will be future boby

chessdrummer chessdrummer 1/29/2016 10:52
@Leonilo There is no ban on chess in Islam. Never has been. That was one religious authority giving his opinion on chess when asked. It was blown far out of proportion.
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 1/29/2016 07:02
Youngest national champion of any nation ever? Research please.
KevinC KevinC 1/29/2016 05:26
@mauro avon, It would be nice if I were wrong, but I do not think so. In the finals for a national championship, having to play two foreign players (the requirement for 12 rounds) is waived, so that is not a problem. His performance was easily over 2500, again not a problem for getting a norm. His problem is that for a 12-round tournament, he still needed to play four Grandmasters, but he only played two.

On the bright side, he picked up about 20 rating points, so he is now closer to the 2500 requirement, AND even without this counting as a norm, I am sure he will be a GM in no time.
Leonilo Leonilo 1/29/2016 05:19
Hopefully, this tournament wasn't affected by recent islam chess ban.
mauro avon mauro avon 1/29/2016 11:23
did he score a grandmaster norm?
fightingchess fightingchess 1/29/2016 10:08
three kids win the competition! end of an era for Ghaem maghami who will be caught very soon by these youngsters in rating list.
disneychannel disneychannel 1/29/2016 08:50