Chess in a former Silk Road oasis

by ChessBase
2/6/2016 – Chess is booming in Iran. A few days after the end of the Iranian Championships an international tournament took place in Mashhad, Iran's second most populous city, formerly an oasis along the ancient Silk Road. After nine rounds GM Pavel Maletin and IM Maksim Chigaev (both from Russia) shared first place with 7.5/9 each. Maletin won on tie-break-points.

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The 6th Ferdowsi Tournament in Mashhad

Photos: Sergei Tiviakov

Can a chess club have a more suitable building?

The majority of he 178 players who took part in the 6th International Ferdowsi Tournament in Mashhad came from Iran but there were also players from Azerbaijan and Armenia, Russia and Ukraine. With eleven Grandmasters and a number of International Masters the field was reasonably strong.

After nine rounds the Russians Pavel Maletin and Maksim Chigaev shared first place with 7.5/9. They both did not lose a single game but scored six wins and three draws. However, first on tie-break points was Maletin. Half a point behind the leaders followed eight players with 7.0/9 each. Third on tie-break was GM Gadir Guseinov from Azerbaijan.

Final Standings

Rg. Snr     Name Land Elo Pkt.  Wtg1   Wtg2   Wtg3 
1 6
GM Maletin Pavel RUS 2580 7,5 0,5 2285 53,0
2 11
IM Chigaev Maksim RUS 2526 7,5 0,5 2239 52,0
3 1
GM Guseinov Gadir AZE 2646 7,0 0,0 2271 51,5
4 7
GM Bocharov Dmitry RUS 2567 7,0 0,0 2240 50,0
5 8
GM Zubarev Alexander UKR 2553 7,0 0,0 2239 51,0
6 9
GM Gagunashvili Merab GEO 2541 7,0 0,0 2218 49,5
7 2
GM Tiviakov Sergei NED 2611 7,0 0,0 2203 49,5
8 3
GM Grigoryan Karen H. ARM 2602 7,0 0,0 2197 49,0
9 4
GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan IRI 2594 7,0 0,0 2185 48,5
10 5
GM Gabuzyan Hovhannes ARM 2585 7,0 0,0 2174 47,0
11 12
GM Rasulov Vugar AZE 2493 6,5 0,0 2218 51,0
12 14
GM Darini Pouria IRI 2474 6,5 0,0 2206 52,0
13 18
IM Grabliauskas Virginijus LTU 2322 6,5 0,0 2170 50,5
14 13
IM Mosadeghpour Masoud IRI 2475 6,5 0,0 2088 48,0
15 22
  Molaei Mohammadamin IRI 2230 6,5 0,0 2050 48,5
16 10
GM Mirzoev Azer AZE 2539 6,5 0,0 2034 49,0
17 15
IM Polyakov Maxim UKR 2444 6,5 0,0 2013 46,5
18 34
  Ghaffarifar Matin IRI 2054 6,5 0,0 1958 44,5
19 39
  Bahmani Amir Mohammad IRI 2000 6,5 0,0 1907 44,5
20 33
  Oliyazade Pooya IRI 2057 6,5 0,0 1895 43,0

... 178 players (Source:

Pavel Maletin

In round five Maletin scored a crucial win by beating Guseinov with Black. In a Sicilian Najdorf Maletin attacked in textbook-fashion.


Maksim Chigaev

GM Gadir Guseinov from Azerbaijan

Iranian Grandmaster Darin Pouria

GM Merab Gagunashvili from Georgia

GM Karen Grigoryan from Armenia

Tournament director Mousavi Ghods Hossein

The arbiters


According to Wikipedia "Mashhad is the second most populous city in Iran and capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the northeast of the country, close to the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Its population was 2,749,374 at the 2011 census and its built-up (or metro) area was home to 2,782,976 inhabitants including Mashhad Taman and Torqabeh cities. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.

The city is most famous and revered for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam. Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the Imam Reza shrine and pay their tributes to Imam Reza.

Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran. The city is the hometown of some of the most significant Iranian literary figures and artists such as Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, the famous contemporary poet, and Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, the traditional Iranian singer and composer. Ferdowsi and Akhavan Sales are both buried in Tus, an ancient city that is considered to be the main origin of the current city of Mashhad."


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