World Juniors 2018 Round 3+4: Fight until the very end

by Sagar Shah
9/8/2018 – It was a day of double rounds at the World Junior Championships 2018. In the open section we have four leaders with a score of 4.0/4 - Maghsoodloo, Firouzja, Sindarov and Bharathakoti. Each one had their own unique way to reach the 100% score. We look at their games in this report. Special focus also on one of the longest games of the fourth round between Maghsoodloo and Hakobyan. In the girls section Alicja Sliwicka and Nino Khomeriki are in the lead with 4.0/4. Report from Gebze by IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal.

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Double rounds are always tiring and from a tournament point of view they speed up things in a big way. Suddenly after four rounds, we are nearing the halfway mark in the tournament. After four rounds we have only four players in the Open section who are on 4.0/4.

In the Girls section, we have two leaders. One of them is Georgian WIM Nino Khomeriki, who is on 4.0/4. The other is Alicja Sliwicka who beat Akshita Gorti in the fourth round on the top board.

Leading the pack after a hard day at work is GM Parham Maghsoodloo | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Parham is joined at the top by his friend and country-mate Alireza Firouzja who is on 4.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Indian IM Harsha Bharathakoti is also on 4.0/4. He beat GM Alan Pichot and GM S.L. Narayanan on the same day. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Don't get misled by his cute face! Uzbek IM Javokhir Sindarov is just 12 years old and beat GM Amin Tabatabaei and Aravindh Chithambaram on the same day! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

WIM Nino Khomeriki, who has 4.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Alicja Sliwicka | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Parham Maghsoodloo's fighting attitude

It didn't look like Maghsoodloo would win his game against Lukasz Jarmula. But he kept his calm, and he kept his eyes open for the threats. At the end of it, when things started to spin out of control, the Iranian GM was in his element and converted the position.

Lukasz Jarmula had caught Parham in the net, but the Iranian escaped | Photo: Amruta Mokal


If there was someone better in this position, it has to be White.


White had to ask: what is the weakness that I can attack? He would have realized that it is the f5 square and would have surely found the move Qa5! After...Nd5 White has the powerful Nf8+ and after Qxf8 Qxd5 White is completely dominating.

Lukasz missed this opportunity and went on to make several mistakes which were enough for Parham to win the game.


The battle between Maghsoodloo and Hakobyan in the fourth round was extremely exciting | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aram Hakobyan has shown an impressive improvement in his play recently. In the last few months, he achieved his two GM norms and also pumped up his rating by nearly 100 Elo points. From December to mid-2018 he had a streak of nearly 50 unbeaten games which included strong events like the Aeroflot Open, European Individual and a few others. In the fourth round, Aram had the black pieces against Parham Maghsoodloo. It was a game to look forward to. 

There were many interesting moments in the game. It lasted for nearly five and a half hours. Let's see the position in the final few minutes of the game:


Maghsoodloo went for the move e7 here, which was a mistake. Hakobyan could have just taken the pawn on e7 and after Qg4+ played Kh8 as Qh3+ would be met with Qh7! However, in the above position, Maghsoodloo didn't have to rush with e7. He could have just played Qf7+ Kh6 e7! and now after h1=Q he can go Qe6+ Kg7 Qe5+ followed by making a queen and it's winning for White.


This entire final part was captured by us on the camera and put together in a six-minute youtube video:

Chess can be quite unforgiving at times!

The awesome Alireza Firouzja

Alireza Firouzja is just 15 years old and already has a rating of 2582. The boy is a huge talent and you can see it from his games. They are not the ones where he is playing technically correct chess. He takes risks, he sacrifices his pawns and then out-calculates his opponents. This happened in both the games in rounds three and four.


In the fourth round, Firouzja played the risky Dutch Defense and was worse out of the opening. But he posed enough threats for his opponent to go wrong and then converted the position with some strong calculations.


In the fifth round, Firouzja will be pitted against the 12-year-old Uzbek Javokhir Sindarov | Photo: Amruta Mokal

12-year-old Sindarov

Javokhir Sindarov was in a tough situation in his third round game against Amin Tabatabaei. He sacrificed his exchange and made sure that there was no easy way for the Iranian to breakthrough. Amin, who is a highly ambitious player, got restless and blundered. The young boy took this opportunity and converted the extra pawns into a win. After the round ended we met Javokhir and asked him to show his game. The boy instantly agreed and showed us the entire game in the video below. Great confidence. 

Check out young Sindarov in this video as he shows the moves and at the same time makes sure that he doesn't miss the variations!

After beating Amin Tabataei in the morning, Javokhir was hungry for more. He beat the strong Indian GM Aravindh Chithambaram in the fourth round | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Almost a GM Harsha Bharathakoti

Harsha Bhatathakoti is an International Master from India. He already has his three GM norms and a live rating of 2490. A few more good games and he would well become India's 56th GM. In the third round Harsha was able to outplay his strong Argentian opponent GM Alan Pichot and in the fourth round, he put it across his compatriot GM S.L. Narayanan. Here is Harsha's fine win over Alan Pichot where he was able to outplay in his opponent in time pressure.


Harsha speaks about his win over GM Alan Pichot | Video: ChessBase India

Harsha is the reigning national under-19 champion of India and in the fifth round will face a big test against the top seed Parham Maghsoodloo

Alicja Sliwicka and Nino Khomeriki on 4.0/4

Alicja Sliwicka from Poland showed some excellent home preparation and also over the board technique to beat Akshita Gorti in the fourth round. 


For Nino Khomeriki, it was quite an easy win as she played some excellent positional chess in the centre of the board, while her opponent made many positional errors. She won the game with quite some ease.


After a loss in round one, WGM Aydan Hojjatova has made a strong comeback with three wins and is now on 3.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Akshita Gorti from the USA lost her fourth round and is now on 3.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Top Russian girl in the fray Dinara Dordzhieva is on 3.0/4  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Siranush Ghukasyan lost her fourth-round game to top seed Stavroula Tsolakidou and is on 2½/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

German Grandmaster Dmitrij Kollars, who is on 3.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The players are treated well with a huge spread of snacks to choose from | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The view from the Ramada Plaza, the official hotel of the tournament | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Having a nice time with each other before the start of the game! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Distant relatives?! Solakoglu, the tournament director and Tsolakidou, the top seed in the Girls section! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The last men standing! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

How about some Turkish desserts! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Standings after Round 4 (Open - top 20)


All games from Round 3


All games from Round 4


Standings after Round 4 (Girls - top 20)


All games from Round 3


All games from Round 4



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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jsaldea12 jsaldea12 9/8/2018 03:26
Nothing like this before, too many aspirants. Hope with c ash incentives for kids.
BZH92 BZH92 9/8/2018 01:30
Nice report!