World Juniors 2018 Round 2: The boy who works ten hours each day

by Sagar Shah
9/7/2018 – Chess tournaments become interesting because of the players who are participating in the event and the quality of their games. At the World Juniors we have a player who is extremely interesting not only off the board, but also on it. He finds moves which even the engines have difficulties understanding, and he works for at least ten hours each day. He is none other than the top seed of the World Juniors 2018 - Parham Maghsoodloo. In this article we acquaint you with this big talent and also bring you the report from round two. Photo: Amruta Mokal

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The World Junior Championships 2018 is enjoyable and fun for the spectators because of the colourful personalities involved. I would say one of the most impressive talents at the event is the top seed of the tournament Parham Maghsoodloo. The boy has a live rating of around 2667 and he just turned 18 twenty days ago. So what exactly makes this Iranian tick?

Parham Maghsoodloo, one of the biggest talents in the world as of today, fighting it out in the second round of the World Juniors 2018 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

I often try to get an idea as to how serious a chess player is about the game by looking at his physical condition. If someone has lost weight and is looking fit, that is a sign that he is taking the sport seriously. People may remember how Peter Svidler lost a lot of weight before the Candidates in 2013. It was not surprising that in the last round which was filled with so much pressure and tension, Peter was able to maintain his nerves and stamina and beat Magnus Carlsen. A healthy mind in a healthy body, as they say. But when one looks at Parham, you do not get the feeling that the boy particularly works on his fitness. But there is something else that makes him keep climbing up the Elo ladder — "The love for the game of chess!" 

After the game when I interviewed Parham, he said that he works at least ten hours each day. Such work ethic is not very common. His confident attitude backed by such actual hard work is a sure recipe for success and Parham is already showing it in his results. His live rating is somewhere around 2667. "If I work hard, I think I can become the World Champion!" Check out this interview and learn from the best Iranian talent.

Maghsoodloo speaks about his games, work ethic and also his future aims | ChessBase India Youtube Channel

An interesting point that Parham mentioned in the interview was from his first-round game.


"I think Ke8-d7 is a very strong move. It is a move that computers do not understand instantly. The idea is to draw the queen to a4 and then play Ke7. Because if I played Ke7 directly, then after Qb1 Rac8 Rxe4 I cannot play Rc4 as Rxe5 comes with a check and my queen hangs. So after Kd7 Qa4+ Ke7 we no longer have Qb1 in the position. This is a deep idea and even the computer takes some time to understand the power of this move", Maghsoodloo said.

Here is Maghsoodloo's second-round win over Benjamin Haldorsen:


It will be interesting to see if Maghsoodloo is able to continue his form and become the World Junior Champion this year. If he does so he would get a direct seeding at the World Cup 2019 and also more invitations to elite events.

Alexander Donchenko is Germany's best bet at the World Junior's title | Photo: Amruta Mokal

This is Donchenko's final chance at the World Junior Championships. The German has been in the 2600+ zone for quite some time, but surprisingly he has played the World Juniors only once before. Hailing from the small town of Geisig near Frankfurt, Donchenko is currently dedicating all his time to chess. He aims to become a professional chess player and hopes that the World Juniors is a tournament where he can show his best chess. "I do not want to think about the result. I just want to focus on one game at a time and keep playing good chess." Extremely objective and level-headed is what one gets the feeling after speaking with Alexander.

In his second-round game, Alexander was playing against an IM from Moldova Nichita Mozorov. After the opening Donchenko had a comfortable position. His opponent decided to muddy the waters by sacrificing the pawn on b7.


Donchenko's approach was very simple. He picked up the pawn, defended carefully and won the game. No problems doing that!


A detailed interview with Alexander Donchenko, speaking not just about chess, but also his aims, ambitions and future plans | ChessBase India Youtube Channel

Known for his sharp calculations and imaginative play, the fourth seed of the tournament Karthikeyan Murali (2605) won against Barseghyan Harutyun in the second round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Karthikeyan played the two knight's tango and just put a lot of pressure on his opponent. It was a case where the player with the lower rating kept making small errors and the Indian GM took advantage of this fact.


We ask Karthikeyan about the young Iranian talents who are improving rapidly in chess and take his view on the same | Video: ChessBase India Youtube Channel

One stop for chess lovers to find everything related to chess, right outside the playing hall | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Some happy faces before the round! We would like our readers to help us in identifying these players.

The organizers have taken care to set up quite a few analysis boards outside the playing hall, which are being used by all the players. Here you see Iranian talent Alireza Firouzja (right) analyzing his interesting game against his Peruvian opponent. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

GM Aravindh Chithambaram played a good game against Giorgi Sibashvili to move to 2.0/2 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Chinese GM Xu Xiangyu played a fine game to beat his opponent IM Igor Janek in the second round. In the diagram below, the Chinese player decided to play for the audience instead of just retreating his bishop to b3. 


Check out the annotations below


Andrey Esipenko (above) suffered a defeat at the hands of IM from Kazakhstan Denis Makhnev | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The strong Peruvian GM Jose Eduardo managed to beat the young Russian talent Murzin Volodar after a long struggle | Photo: Amruta Mokal

We have to mention that Volodar Murzin drew his game yesterday against Jorden van Foreest and is surely a talent whom we are closely following

GM Alan Pichot from Argentina is on 2.0/2 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Top Turkish talent Sanal Vahap was pressing throughout the game but couldn't convert it into a full point, and is on 1½/2 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Results of Round 2 (Open)

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Maghsoodloo Parham 1 1 - 0 1 Haldorsen Benjamin
Donchenko Alexander 1 1 - 0 1 Morozov Nichita
Barseghyan Harutyun 1 0 - 1 1 Karthikeyan Murali
Makhnev Denis 1 1 - 0 1 Esipenko Andrey
Xu Xiangyu 1 1 - 0 1 Janik Igor
Escalante Ramirez Brian Sebasti 1 0 - 1 1 Firouzja Alireza
Sibashvili Giorgi 1 0 - 1 1 Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.
Tabatabaei M.Amin 1 1 - 0 1 Raja Harshit
Muradli Mahammad 1 ½ - ½ 1 Liang Awonder
Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan 1 ½ - ½ 1 Garayev Kanan
Pichot Alan 1 1 - 0 1 Ozer Omer Faruk
Lagunow Raphael 1 0 - 1 1 Vavulin Maksim
Bai Jinshi 1 0 - 1 1 Percivaldi Martin
Nikolovski Nikola 1 0 - 1 1 Hakobyan Aram
Lomasov Semyon 1 ½ - ½ 1 Nikitenko Mihail

Standings after Round 2 (top 20)


All games of Round 2


Girls section

Second seed of the event Bibisara Assaubayeva will now assumes the top spot after she managed to beat V. Varshini in round two. Top seed Stavroula Tsolakidou drew her game.

The best talent in girls under-20

Bibisara Assaubayeva in the lead

A girl to watch out for is surely American Akshita Gorti (2315) from USA, who beat Nela Pychova (2173) in the second round and is now on 2.0/2

A lovely chess dress!

Number one female player from Slovenia, Laura Unuk, suffered a defeat at the hands of Shahenda Wafa | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Results of Round 2 (Girls)

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Tsolakidou Stavroula 1 ½ - ½ 1 Chu Ruotong
Assaubayeva Bibisara 1 1 - 0 1 Varshini V
Schneider Jana 1 ½ - ½ 1 Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim
Zhu Jiner 1 ½ - ½ 1 Song Yuxin
Dordzhieva Dinara 1 ½ - ½ 1 Ivana Maria Furtado
Pychova Nela 1 0 - 1 1 Gorti Akshita
Khomeriki Nino 1 1 - 0 1 Santeramo Alessia
Wafa Shahenda 1 1 - 0 1 Unuk Laura
Antova Gabriela 1 1 - 0 1 Sankova Stella
Serikbay Assel 1 ½ - ½ 1 Chitlange Sakshi
Sliwicka Alicja 1 1 - 0 1 Bai Xue
Diakonova Ekaterina 1 1 - 0 1 Li Yunshan
Dwilewicz Katarzyna 1 1 - 0 1 Haussernot Cecile
Maltsevskaya Aleksandra 1 ½ - ½ 1 Salah Nadezhda
Nurgali Nazerke 1 1 - 0 1 Paramzina Anastasya

Standings after Round 2 (top 20)


All games from Round 2



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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