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Round 8: Maghsoodloo Widens the Gap, Nothing Too New On Girls Front
IMG 7193
Can anyone stop Parham Maghsoodloo? The way he plays, he’s simply irresistible. His performance is reminiscent of Mamedyarov’s -as the most recent example which comes to mind- totally dominating performances at youth and junior events. Only time will if he match or even surpass his achievements but we can safely predict that we’ll soon see the young Iranian enter the elite 2700+ club.

In girls section not much has changed with the games of leaders, top two boards, being drawn and Khomeriki, Dordzhieva and Maltsevskaya continue to share the lead entering the last three rounds. Who will emerge victorious from this trio or their close followers is probably a question we’ll only be able to answer after the last round.


Maghsoodloo’s win and his amazing 7,5/8 score is definitely the most important news of the day. The Iranian chose the Classical Sicilian against IM Venkataraman of India and in Richter-Rauzer Maghsoodloo played 9…Bd7, a pet line of the famous Croatian grandmaster Zdenko Kozul. The Indian master -probably wisely after his choice of a3- decided to lead the game to a complex Sicilian ending. In the beginning it looked like white might get a slight advantage but Maghsoodloo played it better than his opponent and when his opponent went completely wrong trading e-pawn with black b-pawn and thus opening up the position to blacks advantage the Iranian grandmaster played almost flawlessly till the end. Just three more rounds to go and we might see Iran getting the gold!

On second board things didn’t go as smoothly as on first board however for Iran. Alireza Firouzja misplayed the Delayed Exchange Ruy Lopez against the American Awonder Liang and found himself already seriously worse around 15th move. There didn’t seem to be much counterplay and the way Firouzja tried to create it only led to more weaknesses and material deficit which Liang exploited very efficiently. Great game for the American grandmaster and a surprisingly easy win.

In 9th round we’ll see the sole leader Maghsoodloo (7,5 pts) playing white against Liang (6,5 pts), and a win for the Iranian will mean that he will practically clinch the title. If Liang wins though everything will be up for grabs and even some of the ten players with 6 points might begin dreaming of becoming champion! The most important matchup of the open section for sure!


In girls section Khomeriki – Maltsevskaya and Potapova – Dordzhieva on top two boards ended in draws and since the only other player except Potapova with 5,5 points, Gorti lost an equal ending in zeitnot to Tokhirjonova no one could reach them which means Khomeriki and the two Russians, Maltsevskaya and Dordzhieva are still in the lead before the last three rounds.

Potapova – Dordzhieva game always revolved around equality but on first board Khomeriki seemed to get a significant lasting advantage. However against Maltsevskaya’s positionally dubious but active play the Georgian star couldn’t play precisely and the game ended in a repetition.

The rook endgame with pawn races in Zhu – Paramzina game -which should probably have never occurred had Paramzina played more positionally sound- made our commentators sweat in the live commentary room and it can definitely serve the purpose of a training material for calculation. Although there was one very important mistake on 40th move Paramzina generally played the ending superbly and got a necessary win crucial for her chances in the championship.

The highly dramatic Assaubayeva – Sliwicka game was definitely a miracle for the Russian player. Since some very important Russian writers came up with it, there has been always a talk of a characteristic Russian soul. One of its features is a belief in miracles and it seems sometimes this approach too works. The clearest win for Sliwicka was 54…Nc6, a terribly easy move to make but sometimes Caissa can cloud your mind totally and the Polish player completely lost the thread of the game afterwards, managing first to turn a totally winning position to a draw and then finally to a loss! A really lucky moment for Bibisara Assaubayeva, whose play in this championship failed to impress but she’s still in contention for the first place.

In 9th round there are very important matchups: Maltsevskaya – Dordzhieva, Assaubayeva – Khomeriki, Paramzina – Tokhirjonova and Hojjatova – Potapova. The winners -if any- will be in a very good position to fight for the title in the last two rounds!

9th round will start on September 13, 15.00 local time. As we are getting closer to the end the games too are getting more and more exciting! Don’t forget to watch the live broadcast & commentary by IM Arduman & FM Selbes with surprise guests.

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