Tari leads World Juniors, Abdumalik caught

by André Schulz
11/22/2017 – Aryan Tari from Norway and Zhansaya Abdumalik from Kazakhstan lead at the World Junior Championships. In the Open Tari drew in round 7 against Awonder Liang from the US and won in round 8 against Grigoriy Oparin. With 7.0/8 he is now half a point ahead of two players with 6½/8 each. One of them is the Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa, who won against Liang in round 8 and scored his first GM-norm. In the Girls section Abdumalik won in round 7 but lost in round 8. With 6½/8 she now shares the lead with Anastasia Paramzina. | Photo: Bernd Vökler

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Aryan Tari defends lead

After six rounds Aryan Tari from Norway had scored 5½ points from six rounds and was sole leader at the World Junior Championships. In round 7 Tari played against 14-year old Awonder Liang from the US and drew. In Round 8 he won again, this time against the very strong Russian GM Grigoriy Oparin.

Kirill Alekseenko from Russia and the Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa hope to catch Tari to become World Junior Champion. If Praggnanandhaa wins the title he would automatically become a grandmaster — the youngest ever in the history of chess. Both players also won in round 8 to keep the pace.

Alekseenko is already a grandmaster. He was born in Vyborg, near the Finnish border. In 2006 Alekseenko's family moved to St. Petersburg and his chess career started in earnest: in 2007 he became European Junior Champion U-10, in 2011 he became World Junior Champion U-14, and in 2013 he again became European Junior Champion, this time in the U-16 and in 2015 he won silver at the U-18 World Junior Championship.

The results of the Indian talent Praggnanandhaa are also impressive, to say the least: he is currently 12 years old and in 2013 he won became World Champion U-8 and two years later, in 2015, he also became U-10 World Champion. But he is already strong enough to play in the U-20 World Junior Championship in 2017. In fact, he is one of the favourites to win the event. Praggnanandhaa R is from Chennai, hometown of Vishy Anand.

The  game between Alekseenko and Praggnanandhaa in round 7 ended in a draw but it seems as if Praggnannandhaa missed a good chance:


White has a couple of problems: the king is under lock and key, e4 is weak and Black's passed pawn is dangerous. Black played 46...Ra8 and a couple of moves later he agreed to a repetion of moves. It might have been better to try 46...Rb7 to force an exchange of rooks. Penetrating with the second black rook should then decide the game.

The game between Xu Xiangyu from China and Valentin Dragnev from Austria was also drawn. The draws of the leading players allowed the pursuers to catch up. Tari leads with 6.0/7 but no less than nine players follow half a point behind, and behind them is a large group of players with 5.0/7.

Round 8

In round 8 Tari defended his lead but the biggest news of the round was Pragganandhaa's win against Awonder Liang. With this victory the 12-year old Indian scored his first GM-norm. Currently, he has a rating-performance of 2749 and this is enough to secure the norm after nine rounds. (The tournament, however, lasts for 11 rounds.)

Pragganandhaa 1-0 Awonder Liang (annotated by IM Sagar Shah)

Courtesy ChessBase India on YouTube

His coach was also naturally delighted:

Results of round 8 (top 10)

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Oparin Grigoriy 0 - 1 6 Tari Aryan
Dragnev Valentin 0 - 1 Alekseenko Kirill
Praggnanandhaa R 1 - 0 Liang Awonder
Sorokin Aleksey ½ - ½ Xu Xiangyu
Tran Tuan Minh ½ - ½ Lomasov Semen
Karthikeyan Murali 5 1 - 0 5 Gagare Shardul
Triapishko Alexandr 5 ½ - ½ 5 Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.
Petrosyan Manuel 5 1 - 0 5 Gholami Aryan
Zanan Evgeny 5 0 - 1 5 Bai Jinshi
Shevchenko Kirill 5 ½ - ½ 5 Salomon Johan

All games (Rounds 1 to 7)


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Standings after Round 8 (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Tari Aryan 7,0 0,0
2 Alekseenko Kirill 6,5 0,5
3 Praggnanandhaa R 6,5 0,5
4 Lomasov Semen 6,0 0,0
5 Xu Xiangyu 6,0 0,0
6 Karthikeyan Murali 6,0 0,0
7 Liu Yan 6,0 0,0
8 Sorokin Aleksey 6,0 0,0
9 Petrosyan Manuel 6,0 0,0
  Bai Jinshi 6,0 0,0
11 Tran Tuan Minh 6,0 0,0
12 Oparin Grigoriy 5,5 0,0
13 Kobo Ori 5,5 0,0
14 Liang Awonder 5,5 0,0
15 Dragnev Valentin 5,5 0,0
16 Van Foreest Jorden 5,5 0,0
17 Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. 5,5 0,0
18 Martirosyan Haik M. 5,5 0,0
19 Shevchenko Kirill 5,5 0,0
20 Vaibhav Suri 5,5 0,0


In the girls section Zhansaya Abdumalik suffered a setback in round 8. After defeating Nino Komeriki, one of her closest rivals in round 7, and extendeding her lead to a full point, she then suffered a major upset at the hands of Anastasya Paramzina, who is now surprisingly tied for the lead despite being rated just 2123.


The position is ripe for a breakthrough and Paramzina found it. 20.Bxh6! Taking the bishop allows an exchange on e8 followed by Nxf6,  so 20...Rxe1 21.Rxe1 Bxf3 22.gxf3 and now facing no good options Black played 22...Rg8, which was swiftly punished 23.Qh5 and White has unstoppable threats.

Results of round 8 (top 10)

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Paramzina Anastasya 1 - 0 Abdumalik Zhansaya
Osmak Iulija ½ - ½ Tsolakidou Stavroula
Vaishali R 5 ½ - ½ Yu Jennifer
Assaubayeva Bibisara 5 0 - 1 5 Obolentseva Alexandra
Zhu Jiner 5 ½ - ½ 5 Aakanksha Hagawane
Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim 5 1 - 0 5 Khomeriki Nino
Shuvalova Polina 1 - 0 5 Dordzhieva Dinara
Badelka Olga 1 - 0 Chernyak Viktoria
Nomin-Erdene Davaademberel 1 - 0 Heinemann Josefine
Injac Teodora 1 - 0 Styazhkina Anna

Standings after round 8 (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Paramzina Anastasya 6,5 1,0
2 Abdumalik Zhansaya 6,5 0,0
3 Osmak Iulija 6,0 0,0
4 Yu Jennifer 6,0 0,0
5 Obolentseva Alexandra 6,0 0,0
6 Tsolakidou Stavroula 6,0 0,0
7 Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim 6,0 0,0
8 Aakanksha Hagawane 5,5 0,0
9 Nomin-Erdene Davaademberel 5,5 0,0
10 Vaishali R 5,5 0,0
11 Zhu Jiner 5,5 0,0
12 Shuvalova Polina 5,5 0,0
13 Badelka Olga 5,5 0,0
14 Injac Teodora 5,5 0,0
15 Assaubayeva Bibisara 5,0 0,0
16 Khomeriki Nino 5,0 0,0
17 Dordzhieva Dinara 5,0 0,0
18 Uuriintuya Uurtsaikh 5,0 0,0
19 Antova Gabriela 5,0 0,0
20 Nie Xin 5,0 0,0

All games (Rounds 1-7)



André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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