Hoogeveen: The Firouzja Express

by André Schulz
10/24/2019 – Alireza Firouzja is the world's highest rated junior player and is currently proving his strength at the Hoogeveen Chess Festival. After three games he leads Jorge Cori 3-0. The match between Jan Timman against Zhansaya Abdumalik remains balanced. In the top Open group, 13 year old Javokhir Sindarov is in sole possession of first place with 5½/6. | Photo: Harry Gielen / Official site

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Young talent Javokhir Sindarov leads the Open

The traditional chess festival in Hoogoveen has long been a proving ground for young up-and-coming players participating in either the open or invitational tournaments. The Masters Open is lead by Javokhir Sindarov — just 13 years old — from Uzbekistan, who maintained a perfect score through five rounds and leads with 5½/6 after Wednesday's sixth round.

In addition to the open tournaments, the Hoogeveen chess festival is know for its pair of matches, typically under the rubric of man versus woman or young versus old.

This year Jan Timman vs Zhanzaya Abdumalik combines the two — generations and the sexes — and remains balanced after three games with the score at 1½ apiece. The young Kazakh won the first game, while the second ended in a draw and Timman took the third.

Abdumalik vs Timman | Photo: Harry Gielen / Official site

The second competition is one-sided thus far: Alireza Firouzja has won all three games against Jorge Cori. If he wins this match he will cement his live Elo rating (currently at 2726) atop the Junior world rankings, surpassing even Wei Yi who has long held the top spot. Since Wei is already 20 years old, Firouzja is undoubtedly the best teenager in the world and still just 16 years old!

Firouzja vs Cori

The young Iranian got off to a good start in game one: 


With 21.♘xf7 White obtained a decisive advantage.

In the second game Cori played well with the white pieces at first, but was tactically surprised in the middlegame:


Here 23.♘f4 was required — supporting the d-pawn while simultaneously guarding the h5 square. After 23.e3 instead, Firouza pounced: 23...h5 24.c4? (White must grovel with 24.♘f1 ♛h4 and 25.♘d1) 24...h4 and after 25.c7 g3!! it's too late to defend. The point is 26.♕xg3+ is met by ♜g5 leaving Black up a queen for two pieces. After Cori's 26.f1 gxf2 was crushing.

In the third game the Peruvian reached an endgame, only to be tactically taken down once again: 


Can you calculate the forced win for White?

Here white decided the game with 49.f8+ h7 50.♗e5! g5 51.h5 1-0

The matches resume Thursday with game four.

All games



Youth dominates in the open as well. GM Javokhir Sindarov from Uzbekistan leads after six rounds despite yielding his first half point to GM Sipke Ernst. Sindarov passed on a chance to go up an exchange in the middlegame and ended up drawing by constructing an unusual fortress.


30.♖d3 and 31.♖xb3 would leave White with a full exchange up, but after Sindarov's 30.e1 f8 32.xc7?! the bishop was left alive. He was eventually forced to give up queen for rook, but found a shell to crawl inside and hide. 


Ernst decided there was no way forward.

Javokhir Sindarov

Standings after Round 6 - Open (top 10)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Sindarov Javokhir 5,5 2788
2 Ernst Sipke 5,0 2645
3 Werle Jan 5,0 2641
4 Pruijssers Roeland 4,5 2547
5 Basso Pier Luigi 4,5 2528
6 Kirchei Viktoriia 4,5 2523
7 Akash Ganesan 4,5 2510
8 Moksh Amit Doshi 4,5 2506
9 Beerdsen Thomas 4,5 2483
10 Okkes Menno 4,5 2413

All games


Translation and additional reporting: Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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