World Juniors 2018 Round 10: Parham Maghsoodloo is the champion!

by Sagar Shah
9/15/2018 – (Current standings, games and results!) It has been one of the most dominating performances that you would ever see at any strong chess tournament, leave alone World Junior Championships. GM Parham Maghsoodloo from Iran started the tournament as the top seed. He conceded half a point in the sixth round by drawing his game against Alireza Firouzja. But rest of the games he managed to win thereby scoring 9½/10 and winning the tournament with one round to spare. In the Girls section as well, we have the sole leader after ten rounds and she is Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova. | Photo: Shohreh Bayat

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Parham Maghsoodloo became the World Junior Champion 2018 with a round to spare. He scored 9½/10 and is two points clear of the field! He has gained 26.5 Elo points and has a rating performance of 2976! Unbelievable, but true. His live rating is now 2691.

Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova leads the Girls section with 8.0/10. She started the World Juniors pretty poorly but managed to gather herself and score an impressive 5½ points in the last six rounds. She has been lucky and she has also played some great chess. 

Parham Maghsoodloo gets ready for another round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Rd. Bo. SNo   Name Rtg FED Pts. Res. K rtg+/-
1 1 83 FM Wadsworth Matthew J 2351 ENG 5,5 s 1 10 1,50
2 1 44 FM Haldorsen Benjamin 2461 NOR 6,0 w 1 10 2,60
3 1 28 IM Jarmula Lukasz 2504 POL 5,5 s 1 10 3,10
4 1 18 GM Hakobyan Aram 2554 ARM 7,5 w 1 10 3,70
5 1 40 IM Harsha Bharathakoti 2474 IND 6,5 s 1 10 2,70
6 1 8 GM Firouzja Alireza 2582 IRI 7,0 w ½ 10 -0,90
7 1 38 IM Sindarov Javokhir 2484 UZB 6,0 w 1 10 2,80
8 1 27 IM Karthik Venkataraman 2519 IND 6,5 s 1 10 3,20
9 1 12 GM Liang Awonder 2575 USA 6,5 w 1 10 4,00
10 1 16 IM Vavulin Maksim 2559 RUS 7,0 w 1 10 3,80
11 1 6 GM Esipenko Andrey 2593 RUS 7,5 s    

Maghsoodloo's performance at the World Juniors 2018 | Source: Chess-Results

I first saw Parham live in action at the IIFLW tournament in Mumbai in January 2018. He was the sixth seed with a rating of 2570. He won the tournament ahead of some strong players like Abhijeet Gupta, Timur Gareyev, Ivan Rozum and many other GMs. After the tournament ended I asked Parham for a short interview. Here's how it went:

Interview with Parham Maghsoodloo after he won the IIFL Wealth GM Tournament 2018

One of the things that stood out from that interview was Parham saying," I work 20 hours a day on chess!" I was not sure how to take that. Was that an overstatement? Was he making fun of me? Or was it really true? A lot of people messaged me that day and on the following day that they had seen the video and were surprised that someone could work so hard and love chess so much. 

Instead of trying to explain to the world, Parham decided to let his performance do the talking. Just nine months later Parham has a live Elo of 2691. That means he has added 121 Elo points in the last nine months. It is very clear to any chess literate person that this can only be possible for someone who works hard on chess.

In the last ten days I have interviewed Parham at least eight times and every time he is able to surprise me in some way or another. Sometimes it is his phenomenal opening preparation that runs as far as 35 moves, sometimes it's his memory that he can actually replay those 35 moves on the board, sometimes it is his ability to find the best move in any given position, no matter how bad it is, and lastly his hunger for chess. Every time he played a game there was a childlike enthusiasm in him to see whether he had made the best moves or not. I guess what really motivates him is the challenge of finding all the best moves in the position.  Sometimes after the game he would ask me, "So, how did I play?" He knew that I would have checked the games with the engine. The focus for Parham is always on making the best moves in any given position. No wonder, he is able to win game after game! I have no doubt that in the years to come he will be one of the finest players in the world.

Here's his last round win against Maxim Vavulin:


After the game ended Parham came outside the playing hall we asked him for an interview. Here's the first interview with the World Junior Champion 2018.

Parham Maghsoodloo, World Junior Champion 2018

Becoming the World Junior Champion will surely open new doors in Parham's chess career. First of all, he will get an entry in the Tata Steel Challengers section in Wijk Aan Zee. Secondly, he gets a direct entry into the World Cup 2019. When asked what the World Junior title means to him, Parham replied, "It means that I have to prepare hard for the World Cup!"

One of the things that stood out in the interview for me is his statement, "It's good to be a fighter and not make draws. If you love your sport you can be a fighter." Let's see if Esipenko can cause some last round damage to this unstoppable force from Iran.

Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova leads the Girls

When the tenth round began she was the only non-Russian in the lead with 7.0/9. After the round ended she was the only one who could move to 8.0/10. Everyone else drew their games. In the final round, Tokhirjonova takes on Dinara Dordzhieva with the white pieces in order to fight for the gold.

The sole leader in the women's section Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Interview with Gulrukhbegim and also the analysis of her 10th round win over Potapova

Standings after Round 10 (Open - top 20)


Important pairings of Round 11:

1 6
GM Esipenko Andrey 2593   GM Maghsoodloo Parham 2649
2 18
GM Hakobyan Aram 2554   GM Puranik Abhimanyu 2524
3 21
IM Lobanov Sergei 2535   IM Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 2525
4 17
GM Bai Jinshi 2556   7 GM Martirosyan Haik M. 2597

Johan Sebastien Christiansen has the best tiebreak on 7½ points. He faces the strong Russian IM Sergei Lobanov. Hakobyan who is in the third position right now faces fourth-placed Abhimanyu Puranik.

All Open games from Round 10


Standings after Round 10 (Girls - top 20)


Important pairings of Round 11

1 4
WGM Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim 2369 8   WIM Dordzhieva Dinara 2318
2 3
FM Assaubayeva Bibisara 2371   7 WIM Zhu Jiner 2364
3 19
  Maltsevskaya Aleksandra 2234   7 WFM Potapova Margarita 2277
4 32
WIM Varshini V 2173 7   7 IM Tsolakidou Stavroula 2393
5 2
IM Nomin-Erdene Davaademberel 2377 7   7 WFM Nurgali Nazerke 2080
6 9
WIM Khomeriki Nino 2313 7   7 WGM Paramzina Anastasya 2222

With the white pieces on board one Tokhirjonova, has the best chance to clinch the title. All that she has to do is win the game. However, if she draws her game then Assaubayeva and Maltsevskaya have excellent chances to win their own games and move ahead of Gulrukhbegim as their Buchholz tiebreak score is very high. 

All Girls games from Round 10


The game between Abhimanyu Puranik and Bai Jinshi ended in a draw in the Peroff. Both moved to 7½/10. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Johan-Sebastien Christiansen put a lot of pressure on Aram Hakobyan but could not convert his advantageous position into a win | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Dinara Dordzhieva (left) drew her game against Bibisara Assaubayeva on the top board | Photo: Amruta Mokal

What's that you are eating?! Alexander Donchenko and Dinara Dordzhieva at the start of the round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nothing can distract him! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A Romanian, an American and an Armenian — all in a serious mood before the start of the game | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Different jerseys for different countries! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Interview with top Slovenian player Laura Unuk

Menderes Sargin is a chess promoter in Turkey. He has 20 schools where he goes during the week and teaches the kids. He has found an exciting way of teaching the kids using puppets. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Wouldn't you have loved to learn chess in this way

How about some Turkish tea in their special glass?! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Turkish Chess Federation officials Gulkiz Tulay and Ozgur Solakoglu with the long-standing (13 years!) sponsors of the Turkish Chess Federation — Türkiye İş Bankası. Bulent Yumusaker (left) Division head visited the tournament venue. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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


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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