Parham Maghsoodloo wins Iranian Championship

by André Schulz
4/14/2021 – 14 points out of 15 games and an Elo-performance of 2843 - Parham Maghsoodloo won the Iranian Championship 2021, a 16-player round-robin tournament, in impressive fashion. However, Maghsoodloo was also pushed by his rival Pouya Idani, who scored 13.0/15 and finished second. | Photo: Iranian Chess Federation

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A traditional tournament

In the FIDE country list Iran is on place 28, behind Sweden but ahead of Denmark. The list of the best Iranian players includes 13 grandmasters, although the country has lost two strong grandmasters through emigration: Alireza Firouzja, who might soon play for France, and Elshan Moradiabadi, who emigrated to the USA.

Iran also has a remarkably high number of strong female players. With a rating of almost 2500 Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (born 1997) is number nine in the overall list, Atousa Pourkashiyan (2322) is 31st and Mitra Hejazipour (2319) 34th.

Alireza Firouzja, Parham Maghsoodloo and Amin Tabatabaei were the country's most promising talents. In fact, Firouzja (born 2003) developed so quickly that he had no time to excel in junior tournaments. In 2016, when he was just 12 years old, he won the Iranian Championship, and in 2019 he won it again. In 2018, he finished 6th in the World Rapid Chess Championship, and in 2019 (when he had already left Iran) he was runner-up in the World Rrapid Chess Championship, which was won by Magnus Carlsen.

Parham Maghsoodloo is now the country's number one and in 2018 he won the World Junior Championship U20. Amin Tabatabaei also had a number of successes: at the Junior World Championship U8 in 2009 he won bronze, in 2014 he became Asian Champion U14, and won silver at the World Junior Championship U14.

Pouya Idani (born 2005) is another remarkable talent. In 2011 he won silver at the World Junior Championshp U16 and in 2013 he became World Junior Champion U18.

The National Championship 2021 was played over-the-board and in a format reminiscent of old tournaments from the last century. No fewer than 16 players took part and played a round-robin.

Number one seed Maghsoodloo was in outstanding shape and won 13 of his 15 games. The other two ended in a draw. Pouya Idani played two more draws than Maghsoodloo and finished second with 13.0/15.

In the penultimate round Idani won against Iran's former number one, Ghaem Maghami:


34.b4 a5 35.Rb2? Instead of defending the pawn on b4 White should have kept an eye on Black's passed pawn. 35.Kd1 axb4 36.axb4 h4 (36...Nxb4 37.Nxb4 Bxb4 38.Rb2) 37.Ke2 Rh1 (37...h3 38.Rd1=) 38.Kf3=]

35...axb4 36.axb4 h4 37.Kd2 Rh1 37...h3? 38.Rb1

38.Nc5+ 38.b5 Na5–+

38...Ke8 39.Ra2 h3 40.Ra8+ Nd8 41.Bf4

Perhaps 41.Nxb7 was worth trying, e.g. 41...h2 42.Nxd8 Bxd8 43.Bg5. And now 43...Rd1+ 44.Kxd1 h1Q+ 45.Kd2 Kf7 46.Rxd8 Qf3 might not be enough to win: 47.Be3 f4 48.b5 fxe3+ 49.fxe3 Qf2+ 50.Kd3 Qf1+ 51.Kd2 Qxb5 52.Rd6.


41...h2 42.Bxh2 Lxc5 43.dxc5 Rxh2 44.b5 Rxf2+ 45.Kc3 Rf4 0–1

At the end of the tournament, Pouya Idani was no less than 3.5 points ahead of the rest of the field. Amin Tabatabaei and Aryan Gholami shared 3rd/4th place. Gholami also belongs to the successful squad of Iranian talents. He was Junior World Champion U8 in 2009 and won bronze at the U14 World Junior Championship in 2015.

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  Tb1 
1 Maghsoodloo Parham 14,0 96,00
2 Idani Pouya 13,0 89,75
3 Gholami Aryan 9,5 60,75
4 Tabatabaei M.Amin 9,5 60,50
5 Ghaem Maghami Ehsan 8,5 48,50
6 Mousavi Seyed Khalil 8,0 53,00
7 Mosadeghpour Masoud 7,5 48,00
8 Gholami Orimi Mahdi 7,5 42,50
9 Darini Pouria 7,0 43,50
10 Daghli Arash 7,0 43,00
11 Daneshvar Bardiya 7,0 42,50
12 Atakhan Abtin 6,0 35,25
13 Hakemi Arman 5,5 30,75
14 Jahedi Mani 4,5 24,00
15 Veisi Bardia 3,0 23,50
16 Nikookar Mahdi 2,5 15,50




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


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