Maghsoodloo and Maltsevskaya are World Junior Champions 2018

by Sagar Shah
9/16/2018 – Although the gold medal in the open section had already been confirmed by Parham Maghsoodloo, the fight for other medals was exciting on the last day of the World Juniors 2018. Esipenko managed to beat Maghsoodloo, but it wasn't good enough for a medal for the Russian. Silver went to Abhimanyu Puranik who beat Aram Hakobyan and bronze to Sergei Lobanov who got the better of Johan-Sebastien Christiansen. In the Girls section, Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova drew her last round game which allowed Aleksandra Maltsevskaya to overtake her and win the gold. Tokhirjonova had to be content with silver and bronze to Nino Khomeriki.

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In the Ramada Plaza Hotel, the final round of the World Juniors 2018 was in progress in Gebze, Turkey. In the playing hall is a stage where the top three boards of both Open and Girls section are placed. In all, 12 players are playing there. This is how the key pairings looked:

1 6
GM Esipenko Andrey RUS 2593 1 - 0 GM Maghsoodloo Parham IRI 2649
2 18
GM Hakobyan Aram ARM 2554 0 - 1 GM Puranik Abhimanyu IND 2524
3 21
IM Lobanov Sergei RUS 2535 1 - 0 IM Christiansen Johan-Sebastian NOR 2525

In the Girls section, we have:

1 4
WGM Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim UZB 2369 8 ½ - ½ WIM Dordzhieva Dinara RUS 2318
2 3
FM Assaubayeva Bibisara RUS 2371 0 - 1 7 WIM Zhu Jiner CHN 2364
3 19
  Maltsevskaya Aleksandra RUS 2234 1 - 0 7 WFM Potapova Margarita RUS 2277

If you look at it, we have six Russians, one Iranian, one Norwegian, one Indian and one Armenian there, one Chinese and one Uzbek! All great powers in the world of chess. But somehow Russia is still miles ahead of the rest! But at the end of the last round things didn't really go Russia's way. They had to settle for just two medals out of the six.

The day began with the battle between Parham Maghsoodloo and Andrey Esipenko. Parham had already won the tournament but Esipenko had everything to play for. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The game was extremely tense and both players matched move for move with their opponent | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Andrey Esipenko somehow has this calm feeling when you see him playing chess. Even though Parham Maghsoodloo was in the best form of his life, Esipenko beat him without too many difficulties. That's because when Andrey gets the type of position he excels in, he is just extremely strong. These are the technical positions where he has a small edge. Parham would have easily drawn the game against a lesser master, but against Esipenko, he had big problems because the Russian kept up the pressure on all the moves and forced him to go wrong. 


It was unfortunate that Andrey Esipenko could not win a medal, but it will always be a memory for him that he was able to stop the unstoppable force at the World Juniors 2018  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Parham's parents and younger brother Roham had flown down from Iran to attend the prize giving ceremony! It was a nice surprise for Parham to see his parents. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

On board two Aram Hakobyan could not get a measure of the Indian GM Abhimanyu Puranik | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aram had a good tiebreak and a draw in the final round would have assured him of a medal. The same was not the case with Abhimanyu. Because a draw could mean that the Indian player would not get a medal. This led to an interesting struggle where Hakobyan was confused about whether he should play for a win or a draw, and Abhimanyu was pretty clear that he must keep pressing. I have a feeling that the Armenian, who is usually an extremely combative player, did not remain true to himself. That's the reason why his position started going downhill from what looked like an equal situation.

Abhimanyu explains his win in an interview with ChessBase India


Johan-Sebastien Christiansen played a great tournament but lost the final round and with it his chances for a medal | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Sergei Lobanov played a very strong last round game | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Lobanov ended the game in a brilliant manner. He had three queens on the board. Although he was under time pressure, when his opponent was thinking for the move, he went to another board where a game had just got over and brought a queen! It came to good use as you can see below!


Sergei Lobanov analyzes his game with Sagar Shah after the round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aleksandra Maltsevskaya had a nervous game against Margarita Potapova, but in the end managed to emerge victorious | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Aleksandra won the game, and as she had a better tiebreak than Gulrukhbegim, managed to win the gold medal | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Interview with Aleksandra Maltsevskaya after she won the gold

The top board clash between Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova against Dinara Dordzhieva was a tense game and one of the final encounters to finish at the event | Photo: Amruta Mokal


If Gulrukhbegim could have found some of the winning lines in the game, she could have been the World junior champion. But she was not able to and had to settle for the silver. Dordzhieva, who played on the top boards throughout the event, had to be content with the fifth spot.

Zhu Jiner did manage to beat Bibisara Assaubayeva in the final round but had to settle for the seventh spot | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Nino Khomeriki had a minus position in the middlegame but she managed to win and take the bronze medal when her opponent went for a wrong knight sacrifice. | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Closing Ceremony

Gold - Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran (centre), Silver - Abhimanyu Puranik of India (left), Bronze - Sergei Lobanov of Russia (right) | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Gold - Aleksandra Maltsevskaya of Russia (centre), Silver - Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (left), Bronze - Nino Khomeriki (right) | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The final video of the players receiving the medals

Parham Maghsoodloo with his parents and 12-year-old brother Roham | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Parham Maghsoodloo had one of the finest tournaments for his life. He and his Iranian teammates wanted to use the World Juniors as the training ground for the Olympiad. But little would have Parham imagined that he would win the tournament with a performance of 2976 after ten rounds with a gap of two points over the nearest of his rivals. Although he lost his last round his performance was still a solid 2823. Parham now has a live rating of 2685 and we are very sure that he will break the 2700 barrier at the Olympiad!

Parham Maghsoodloo, the chess player is well known. Through the past interviews on the ChessBase India channel at the World Juniors 2018 we all know that he really loves chess and works very hard at the game. But how did this love develop? How did Parham begin playing chess? Who taught him the rules, who was his first coach, and how did he get better at the game? Who is his favourite player and which is his favourite piece? In this interview, you get to know everything you wanted to know about Parham Maghsoodloo. The boy is working really hard and is extremely serious about becoming the World Champion in 3-4 years. Check out this video to form your opinion whether Parham will become a future World Champion or not.

Who is Parham Maghsoodloo?

Silver medalist Abhimanyu Puranik with the head of delegation of the Russian team GM Farrukh Amonatov. Farrukh has trained Abhimanyu in the past | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Abhimanyu Puranik from India is not as well known as the other Indian participants at the event like Aravindh Chithambaram or Murali Karthikeyan. But Abhimanyu likes to do things in a hurry. While many struggle to achieve their GM norms and reaching 2500 on the FIDE list, Abhimanyu achieved all of that in just one year.

Even after beating players like Jorden van Foreest or Alireza Firouzja or Aram Hakobyan in the tournament, he was not over-excited. This clearly shows that he thinks he can beat these players and there is nothing extraordinary for him when he does that. He is tactically very sharp and his play reflects that in a big way.

Sergei Lobanov with his coach Valeriy Loginov | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Sergei Lobanov already has a rating of 2535, but has been struggling to make his GM norms. He has one GM norm already achieved and he got his second one at the World Juniors 2018. It won't come as a surprise to anyone if he achieves his GM title within a few days. The Russian player calculates hard, he is solid and very objective. One of those extremely talented Russian players.

Aleksandra Maltsevskaya with her mother | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aleksandra Maltsevskaya is a girl of few words. She is definitely a monster on the board. She is trained by the famous Russian GM Alexei Dreev. When interviewed she said, she wants to play against men soon, just like Judit Polgar and beat them! We look forward to the development of this young talent from Moscow!

The Uzbek team! Silver medalist Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova with GM norm maker of the event Javokhir Sindarov, Uzbekistan Olympiad player Yakkuboev Nodirbek and father of Javokhir Sanjar Sindarov | Photo: Amruta Mokal

She is the top women's player (not just junior) from Uzbekistan and hails from a chess family. Gulrukhbegim is a big fighter and has the capacity to make comebacks even in events where she starts off poorly. She likes to play aggressive and enterprising chess. The Uzbek team had a very successful outing at the World Juniors 2018 as Gulrukhbegim won the silver, Javokhir Sindarov made his second GM norm and Yakkuboev Nodirbek finished with a very respectable 7½/11.

Nino Khomeriki with her father Giorgi Khomeriki who is also her coach and a strong chess player | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Being a father and a coach is not easy. But Giorgi Khomeriki manages this task well. He is proud of the fact that his daughter Nino played a strong tournament at the World Juniors and did not commit any tactical blunders. She did lose on time forgetting to make her 40th move against Bibisara Assaubayeva. Nino played an excellent tournament starting with 6.0/6. She could only manage 2½ in the last five rounds, but she is surely someone that you should follow. In the Batumi Olympiad, she will be playing for the third Georgian team.

Two young and talented GMs of Turkey Firat Burak and Sanal Vahap | Photo: Sagar Shah

President of Turkish Chess Federation Gülkız Tulay gifts a chess set to the Mayor of Gebze Adnan Köşker | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Ayse Kardas Ergezen, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services of the Republic of Turkey, attended the ceremony

Muzaffer Cintimar, Provincial Director of Kocaeli Youth and Sports

The chief arbiter of the event Fahri Karaby receives a certificate of appreciation from the President of Turkish chess federation | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The arbiters who worked extremely hard for the success of the event

The six medalists with the people who made the event possible | Photo: Amruta Mokal

There were vibrant dances at the closing ceremony giving you a feel of the Turkish culture | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Only six people went back home with the medals after the closing ceremony, but everyone went back with a satiated tummy!

Apart from the medals, there were also beautiful trophies for the winners  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A wonderful event comes to an end and everyone goes back with some wonderful memories worth preserving for a lifetime!

Standings after Round 11 (Open - top 20)


All Open games


Standings after Round 10 (Girls - top 20)


All Girls games


Experience the atmosphere of the World Junior Championship 2018 in Gebze, Turkey from your home!

Interview with Ozgur Solakoglu, the tournament director of the World Juniors 2018


Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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