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Round 5: Maghsoodloo and Khomeriki Leading With Perfect Scores!
IMG 6758

As we leave the fifth round behind, we have in both categories a sole leader with full points. In the open section Parham Maghsoodlo from Iran had been overpowering his opponents so far with his brilliant calculation ability and today was no exception either so he keeps his perfect score as of now. In the women section it was Nino Khomeriki from Georgia who emerged as the winner in the game between two leaders so she’s leading with 5 points. A great achievement for both but there’s no time to relax as there are six more difficult games to play!


All eyes were set on the first two boards in the open section as the players with perfect scores were paired against each other. GM Maghsoodloo was black against IM Bharathakoti and his compatriot GM Firouzja had white pieces against Uzbek IM Sindarov. At one point it seemed like Firouzja will win and Maghsoodloo is going to make a draw but when the round has ended it was the opposite! Still a great day for Iran with the other Iranian grandmaster Tabatabaei also winning!

Harsha Bharathakoti actually put up a good fight against Maghsoodloo and it seemed like he gained the upper hand in a 5. Bd2!? Nimzo-Indian, a popular sideline recently used by many players to avoid the theory. As Maghsoodloo himself admitted in the postmortem analysis black hasn’t played in the best fashion but still managed to get a good position. Things really began to look scary when the Iranian superstar lost two tempi playing the f6-knight to e4 via e8-d6 route instead of immediately playing 16…Ne4. According to GM Maghsoodloo 22. f5! push would have been much more dangerous than 22.d5 -a very accurate assessment according to our silicon friend-. The move in the game also seemed very scary but Maghsoodloo managed to find all the best moves to neutralize white’s attack. To give Bharathakoti his due, the Indian IM attacked vigorously, with a rook sacrifice and so on, and a lesser player could easily lose with black. The resilient defense of Maghsoodloo paid off in the end and in a position, which could have been drawn, Indian IM missed 37…Bh3! which basically forces mate. Another very entertaining game by the young Iranian!

Firouzja too didn’t disappoint in terms of entertainment. Sindarov who has played Zaitsev, an opening line which was featured in Kasparov-Karpov matches very frequently as Igor Zaitsev himself was seconding Karpov, wasn’t probably familiar with the Ree3-b3 idea of white, attacking the black pawns and at the same time trying to put the dark squared bishop in the long diagonal with deadly threats. The exchange of dark squared bishops was positionally very undesirable for black and it also cost him a pawn. Firouzja seemed to be winning easily but the young Uzbek didn’t lose any heart in defense and complicated the matters as much as he could. To pull the hippopotamus out of the marsh of complications wasn’t an easy task for anyone and Firouzja trying to play safely missed the win. All he could get was a rook+knight vs rook endgame in the end and players agreed to a draw. A near miss for the Iranian star but Sindarov also fought in a very exemplary fashion once he found himself in a lost position.

IM Christiansen from Norway played a very good game in Fianchetto Grünfeld and didn’t give his opponent any chance at all. A tour de force from the first move! The same can also be said of Esipenko-Tang game. Russian young talent GM Andrey Esipenko played a great positional game in the style of Karpov, very pleasing to the eyes of fans of positional play for sure.
After the free day on Monday we’ll see an Iranian derby between Maghsoodloo and Firouzja on first board. On second board Sindarov will play against Christiansen with white pieces. With other matchups such as Donchenko-Kollars and Santos Ruiz-Esipenko the sixth round is going to be very interesting for sure.


In girls section today was another bloodfest with top six games being decisive. On the first board Nino Khomeriki answered the Italian Game with Two Knights Defense with Be7; usually a line which resembles Ruy Lopez. However Khomeriki had a different take on it and she opted for an aggressive plan with Nh7-f5-f4. It proved to be a very wise decision as Sliwicka found the aggressive threats of black on the kingside very difficult to deal with. A great result for the young Georgian who is now with 5/5 the sole leader.

On second board we had Maltsevskaya-Tsolakidiou matchup and it provided some very instructive lessons on play with/against isolani. If you wonder what kind of lessons these are please watch comments of GM Ioannis Papaioannou in the live commentary room about positions with isolated pawns and this game in particular. Although initially it seemed like Tsolakidou equalized easily when she embarked on a faulty knight maneuver with 19…Ne7?! White gained the upper hand. There followed a very purposeful play by Maltsevskaya and she simply outplayed her opponent. A nice win for the Russian player who finds herself just half a point behind Khomeriki together with the Bulgarian FM Antova who won against Chinese WIM Chu in an epic game which lasted 97 moves!

Assaubayeva won today and reached 4 points, something which the sixth seed Azeri Hojjatova couldn’t do as she lost in a not so good fashion against Peruvian WFM Hilario. Other players with 4 points are Haussernot from France and Dordzhieva and Paramzina from Russian Federation.

There are also tough games awaiting us in the next round such as Khomeriki-Antova, Assaubayeva-Maltsevskaya, Dordzhieva- Haussernot and Paramzina – Sliwicka. Don’t miss the always entertaining and hard-fought games of the girls section. When it comes to willpower and energy girls can teach a thing or two to boys!

Tomorrow is free day in the championship. The sixth round will start on September 10, Monday 15:00 local time. See you in the live broadcast & commentary on Monday but let’s all have a one day rest first!


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