World Juniors 2018 Round 6: 12-year-old Javokhir Sindarov sizzles!

by Sagar Shah
9/11/2018 – He 12 years and 9 months old. He hails from Uzbekistan and already has a live rating of 2500+ Elo points and one GM norm. Meet Javokhir Sindarov, the big sensation at the World Juniors 2018. The boy has beaten two GMs already and today he crushed a Norwegian IM in brutal style. In the Girls section, WIM Nino Khomeriki from Georgia is dominating the field with 6.0/6 score. She has a full one point lead. Here's the round six report by Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal from Gebze in Turkey.

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The new Uzbek star on the horizon: Javokhir Sindarov

He was born on December 8th, 2005 and is not even 13 yet, but Javokhir Sindarov is already rated 2500+ and has one GM norm. He is almost certain to make his second GM norm at the World Juniors 2018. People have heard about Abdusattarov Nodirbek, the Uzbek prodigy who became the third youngest GM in the history of the game at the age of 13 years and 1 month. Well, now he has company from his country in the form of Sindarov.

ChessBase was the first one to report on Sindarov's talent. The boy was not even ten years old back then. I played blitz with him at the Abu Dhabi Masters 2015 and he simply crushed me. I realized that if guided in the right way, Javokhir will surely become a huge force to reckon with in future. Currently he is being trained by experienced Uzbek GM Marat Dzhumaev. Javokhir is playing some sublime chess at the World Junior Championships 2018. He is currently on 5½/6, and who knows, if he wins the tournament he could well become the second youngest GM in the history of the game, even surpassing Praggnanandhaa's recent feat of 12 years, 10 months and 13 days.

The last 15 minutes of Sindarov's attack | Video: ChessBase India Youtube

Javokhir already has a rating of 2484 and he is gaining 22 Elo points. That takes his live rating to 2506. You can obviously gauge his strength from the figure, but I always had the feeling that he was playing too tactically. Positionally it seemed as if there was something lacking in his games. But this seems to have been fixed to a certain extent at this event. In the third round, Sindarov was able to outwit the strong Iranian GM Amin Tabatabaei (2576) and then on the same day he convincingly beat GM Aravindh Chithambaram (2578). In the fifth round he was completely lost, but once again thanks to his tactical acumen, survived against Alireza Firouzja. IM Johan-Sebastien Christiansen (he is still an IM but has already achieved all his requirements for GM title) was next in the sixth round and Sindarov simply crushed him with a typical exchange sacrifice on f6. 


A proud father Sanjar Sindarov (right) with the coach of Russian team Farrukh Amonatov | Photo: Amruta Mokal

After the game, Javokhir was leaving and going to his room. We approached him to show us his game on the chess board. The boy doesn't speak fluent English, but he is more than fluent at showing variations and ideas on the chess board. He readily agreed and in this video, you can see how he is thinking tactically and in terms of moves (I go here, he goes there) in all the lines. 

Javokhir Sindarov analyzes his game and shows us some interesting variations

Sindarov's big test comes in round seven when he would face GM Parham Maghsoodloo with the black pieces. Until now no one really has taken him into a positional setup with a game that is developing slowly. I am sure Parham would do that. But Javokhir has shown again and again that he is able to stir up complications and calculations in any position. The game would be one to look forward to!

Nino Khomeriki's 6.0/6

"I am just trying to put my pieces on the right squares and find the plans!", says Nino Khomeriki, who is on 6.0/6 and has a full one point lead over the field. In unknown opening positions, she is taking her time, not shying away from complex decisions, and making the most ambitious moves.

Nino Khomeriki with the white pieces beat Gabriela Antova | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Take for example her position in the sixth round against Bulgarian opponent Gabriela Antova. Nino was out of her opening preparation when Gabriela played the Semi-Slav. But it didn't really matter for Georgian girl who took her time in the opening and then found a very interesting idea: 


In a position where over 1000 games have been played with various moves, Nino went for the idea of relocating the knight from c3 to g3 which was very rare.

Slowly and steadily she started to pile up the pressure and before you knew it, the game was already over. After the game ended, I asked Nino for an interview. As we were walking towards the interview area, her father Giorgi Khomeriki, who is a strong player came up to her and hugged his daughter tightly.

"You played a beautiful game today", he said. It was not just the result that he was happy with. The focus was on the quality of moves that his daughter has made. This puts an excellence based approach in the mind of the player whenever they sit on the chess board.


Nino Khomeriki talks about her brilliant win

Same country, but no peace!

A lot of players from the same country faced each other in the sixth round. On the top board we had Parham Maghsoodloo facing Alireza Firouzja. I was expecting a short draw from their end, and my doubts were strengthened when Parham went for the Exchange French from the white side. But it was not a decision to make early peace. It was a strategic one to draw Alireza into positions where he wasn't comfortable. Maghsoodloo was right, and he got a nagging edge, but he couldn't build on it and the game petered out into a draw.

The Iranians are fighters! No short draws! | Photo: Amruta Mokal


The battle between two Indians Aravindh Chithambaram and Karthik Venkatraman also ended in a tense struggle where Aravindh miscalculated and lost the game | Photo: Amruta Mokal


The complex Najdorf

When choosing an opening repertoire, there are days when you want to play for a win with Black, when you want to bear down on your opponent’s position with a potentially crushing attack. The Najdorf is perfect for just such occasions. Strategy, combinations, attack and defence, sacrifices and marvellous manoeuvres — exciting chess is all about the Najdorf!

Intuitive queen sacrifice

In the seventh round, we see three Iranians on top three boards. If someone can stop them all it is Jorden van Foreest. This top class player from the Netherlands is slowly coming back into form. And in the sixth round, he played a very nice queen sacrifice to win the game.


It's good to see Jorden van Foreest getting into his groove after three draws in the first four rounds

Pawn up in the bishop endgame, yet not winning?

A very curious position arose in the game between Alexander Donchenko and Dmitrij Kollars. After a pretty unsuccessful opening with the black pieces, Kollars lost a pawn and it seemed as if he would lose the game as well. But then he devised an extremely interesting plan - to exchange off all the pieces and go into a same coloured bishop endgame with a missing pawn.


Dmitrij Kollars made the exceptionally good decision to take on e3 and liquidate the position into a bishop endgame of the same colour with a pawn deficit. It seemed as if Kollars knew exactly that this six versus five endgame was a fortress.


Let's talk about this position. There are a few things going really well in Black's favour.

  1. Black king is very active and right in the centre of the board
  2. Kingside pawns cramp White's pawns and hence to create a passer you will have to exchange two pawns
  3. All of Black's pawns are on dark squares, opposite colour of the bishop which is very useful, while for White most of his pawns are on light squares

All of this leads us to the conclusion that Black can draw this endgame.


The game between Donchenko and Kollars was amazing! It ended in a draw, but there were so many lessons in it about bishop endgame. More analysis later in the article. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Dmitry Kollars showed some virtuoso defence, one that surprised even the Deputy Chief Arbiter Arild Rimestad | Photo: Amruta Mokal

One of Spain's best juniors Miguel Santos Ruiz is on 4½/6 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A beautiful future! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Dinara Dordzhieva beat Cecile Haussernot and now faces the leader of the tournament Nino Khomeriki in the seventh round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aleksandra Maltsevskaya drew her game against Bibisara Assaubayeva. The Russian has been doing well in this tournament and is unbeaten | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A bird's eye view of the playing hall with the top tables and beyond | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Turkish chess is doing live commentary on a daily basis and they can be followed on the Turkish Chess Channel on Youtube. Also do not miss the commentary of GM Ioannis Papagiannis, who is often called a walking encyclopaedia.

Standings after Round 6 (Open - top 20)


All Open games from Round 6


Standings after Round 6 (Girls - top 20)


All Girls games from Round 6



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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