World Junior Rd 6: Alinasab leads, Iran-Israel pairing creates chaos

by Sagar Shah
10/20/2019 – Going into the rest day we are now past the half way mark at the World Junior Championships 2019. In the open section we have two leaders: Evgeny Shtembuliak of Ukraine and Aram Hakobyan of Armenia. They are on 5.0/6 and are followed by a pack of seven players on 4½/6. In the girls section we have Mobina Alinasab who has taken the sole lead with 5½/6 beating Altantuya on top board. Polina Shuvalova is in the sole second spot with 5.0/6. As many as ten girls are on 4½/6. In this report we bring you the most interesting games of round six and interviews. We also tell you about the Iran-Israel controversy which has been going on at the event. Two Iranians (pictured) were paired against Israeli opponents in this tournament and forfeited. A power-packed report by IM SAGAR SHAH from New Delhi.

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The Iran-Israel Controversy continues

In round four Aryan Gholami was paired against Alexander Zlatin. Due to medical reasons Aryan didn't turn up for the game and later that day he withdrew from the event and left back for Iran. His score was 1½/4. A couple of rounds later in the sixth round it was Amin Tabatabaei who was paired against Or Bronstein. Amin didn't turn up for the game and when the arbiters asked for the reason, a medical certificate was provided. When the seventh round pairings came out, Tabatabaei's name was taken out from the pairing. Iran's head of delegation appealed this decision of the chief arbiter. The appeal's committee was assembled at night and in a long meeting that lasted over couple of hours, Amin's name was put back in the tournament with a fresh pairing list created. But this was done only under the condition that the next time Amin has a medical issue, he will be checked by the doctor provided by the organizers and most importantly, if he is paired against Israeli opponent or a player from any country, he will ensure that he plays the round. Only after these conditions were met, was his name put back into the pairing.

The chief arbiter is Hamid Majid, the head of delegation for Iran is Shadi Paridar and the chairman of appeals committee is Tania Sachdev. We will be trying to get the official quotes from these important personalities for our next report on this incident. For now, the pairing in the open section was changed well past midnight, around 00:40 hours, so the players who are fighting it out below board number 20 should check it out again.

The team of arbiters in action after the appeal was submitted | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Interview with Israeli player Or Bronstein after he got a walkover against Amin Tabatabaei

Back to chess!

After defeating Praggnanandhaa, Evgeny Shtembuliak was up against another top Indian: Karthikeyan Murali.

After just 12 moves we reached the following interesting position:


Have you ever got this "Block" pawn structure in your games?

Shtembuliak explained after the game, "Sometimes I can just start pushing my pawns down the board with ...f5 and ...g5 and my king would still be safe!" Black had a comfortable position and Karthikeyan was under grave time pressure. But he found some very interesting moves to hold on. Shtembuliak was especially impressed with the idea where White placed his pawns on h4, g3 and then exchanged his bishop with 30.♗f4.


White had little time on the clock and Black is threatening to gain space with g5. Hence, White put his pawn on h4 and then after 29.g3, he tried to exchange the bishops with 30.♗f4. It perhaps wasn't objectively great but during the game it looked quite a good idea with White having very little time on the clock. 


To take on d7 or not? White to play.

Shtembuliak (Black) against Karthikeyan Murali | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Here is where Karthikeyan's calculating abilities combined with his knack for solving studies came into good use. He confidently took the knight on d7. He had seen that the pawn ending is drawn and that he can always meet ...g5 with h5 and Black cannot make progress. If Black after g5 and h5 goes to Kf7 and tries for g6 then White takes and get his king to the e6 square. All of this has been explained in the notes below.


Indian GM Iniyan facing Aram Hakobyan | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Aram Hakobyan is in excellent form at the World Junior 2019. In round five he beat the strong Spanish GM Miguel Ruiz and now against Iniyan with the black pieces, he played some flawless chess to move into the joint lead with 5.0/6 along with Shtembuliak.


White has broken in the centre with the move 18.e4. How should Black respond?

In this position Black went for the move 18...c5! It was an excellent decision by Aram as this opens up the position for his bishops and also the white king on c1 starts to feel the heat.


White's 18.e4 finished off the game quickly after 18...dxc3 19.xb7 cxb2+ 20.b1 e7! The pawn on a3 is hanging now. 


Time for the final blow. Black to play and win.

You can win this position only if you spot the move 26...♛a2! Now the threat is b1=Q and after 27.♖b1, Black went 27...♞c5 and the white king was mated in the next couple of moves!

After suffering his first loss in a while, Pragg was back on track with a nice win over IM Zhanados Agmanov | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Volodar Murzin played the endgame like a champion to beat Harsha Bharathakoti | Photo: Niklesh Jain

In our last report we had already mentioned the phenomenal endgame acumen of 13-year-old Volodar Murzin. Well, he went one step ahead in the sixth round where he showed all the skills of a good endgame player. We are going to change our format for this one and first give you the entire game to look at. Afterwards, we will explain to you the techniques used by the Russian IM to win his game.


First step was to create a weakness in the position.


Maximizing the position with each piece standing on an ideal square.


Patience! Here Murzin could have gone 56.g5 directly like he did on move 57. However, he did not do it immediately. Why to end the misery for the opponent when he cannot do anything. From move 47 to 57 Volodar just moved his pieces from one square to another doing absolutely nothing. Defence is always tiring.


The breakthrough! Often when you are playing slowly, it is possible to just forget about calculating lines. But good players are always on the watch out for tactical opportunities. Here the move 57.g5! is pretty strong.


Once the rook breaks in, the knight and rook combo will create havoc on the board! It was necessary to calculate lines here and Murzin did so without too much of difficulty.

After watching this performance, one can easily see the talent in this youngster and predict that he will be a great player in the years to come! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Miguel Ruiz played a fine game from the white side of the Najdrof to beat Leib Mendonca | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Aravindh finally showed what he is capable of against Artur Davtyan | Photo: Niklesh Jain 


It looks like a such a simple position. But that's the thing about magicians! They can create something out of nothing! Look how Aravindh makes some magical moves to beat his strong opponent.



Black to play and win


Open standings after round 6


Mobina Alinasab leads in the girls section

Mobina beat Boldbataar Altantuya in round six of the World Juniors 2019 to take sole lead with 5½/6. She has a half point lead over Shuvalova and a full point lead over rest of the field. While Iran is struggling in the open section with bad results as well as the pairing related issues, Mobina's performance gives the Iranian fans something to cheer about.

Although Mobina's rating is just 2239 and she is still a WIM, you can expect a lot from her at this event. At the Women's World Championships 2018 she went to round three knocking out strong players like Elizabeth Paehtz and Monika Socko. She has also finished her schooling and has taken a year of break from studying so that she can focus on her chess!

She is trained by GM Oleg Korneev.


Polina Shuvalova is making a strong claim to fight for the world title in under-20 as well when she beat Solozhenkina in round six | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Divya Deshmukh managed to hold the much more experienced Stavroula Tsolakidou to a draw | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Mariia Berdnyk beat the giant killer Toshali V | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The Indian match up between Rakshitta and Vaishali ended in a draw | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Arpita Mukherjee managed to hold Bibisara Assaubayeva to a draw | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Girls standings after round 6


All games






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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