Sharjah Masters: Magsoodloo Parham of Iran at the top

Report by I.A Rathinam Anantharam

Maghsoodloo Parham, the young Iranian grandmaster emerged sole leader with an astonishing all wins record at the end of the sixth round of the 2nd Sharjah Masters International Chess Tournament, organised by the Sharjah Chess & Cultural Club, the biggest chess club in the world.

SP Sethuraman of India, Arkadij Naiditsch and Safarli Eltaj of Azerbaijan, Gawain Jones of England and  International master Oliver Dimakling of Philippines are one full point behind the leader. The tournament has attracted 32 grandmasters (23 of them above 2600 and 5 above 2700) and 16 international masters from 28 countries. India accounts for 45 of the 118 players and the tournament carries a prize money more than 57000 USD.

With a win over the top seed Wang Hoa of China in the fifth round, Maghsoodloo maintained his good nick to outwit SP Sethuraman. He fianchettoed both bishops in his Reti opening, and after a series of exchange of minor pieces and a rook, Maghsoodloo had a slight advantage, irrespective of the Black rook controlling the open file. He developed the advantage into a winning position and forced the queen exchange to pocket a point in 49 moves.

Arkadij Naiditsch of Azerbaijan overwhelmed Kovalev Vladislav of Belarus

In the Kings Indian defence game, Arkadij Naiditsch of Azerbaijan built up a better position slowly against Kovalev Vladislav of Belarus. Though he had many pawn islands compared to that of just two of the opponent, Arkadij’s pieces were well placed while Kovalev’s pieces were literally inactive. Kovalev had to give up his bishop for a pawn to consolidate his position but it was too late and of no use. Arkadij won the game convincingly in 59 moves on the second board.

Wang Hao of China comfortably won against SL Narayanan of India

Top-seeded Wang Hao of China handled the Semi Slav of Queens Gambit Declined game very well, exploiting the inaccurate opening of SL Narayanan of India. Narayanan lost two pawns on 11th and 18th moves to leave a big void on the queen side. After exchanging the queens on 20th move, Wang’s advantage grew in the resultant rooks and pawns ending. Narayanan gave up the fight when Wang’s c- pawn was racing towards the eighth rank. Wang was a relieved man after a loss and a draw in the previous two rounds.

A bird’s eye view of the top two boards

Another grandmaster Tabatabaei Amin from Iran ended on the losing side to grandmaster Gawain Jones. When the position looked drawish towards the end in a Ruy Lopez opening adopted by Amin, he made a wrong king move to h5, the game was tilted in favour of Gawain Jones. In a Najdorf variation of Sicilian defence, Indian international master NR Vignesh miscalculated to sacrifice his knight trying to repeat the checks to the open king of Safarli Eltaj of Azerbaijan. But Safarli cleverly defended the position to post a win on 49 moves. In the only upset on the top boards, Oliver Dimakling’s extra pawn on the queen side was vital to force a win over Nils Grandeluis of Sweden.


Round 7 on 2018/04/17

Bo. No. Name FED Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name FED Rtg No.
1 9 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2675 5 6 GM Maghsoodloo Parham IRI 2615 20
2 17 GM Sethuraman S.P. IND 2631 5 5 GM Naiditsch Arkadij AZE 2701 4
3 45 IM Dimakiling Oliver PHI 2412 5 5 GM Safarli Eltaj AZE 2653 12
4 1 GM Wang Hao CHN 2707 GM Petrosian Tigran L. ARM 2609 22
5 21 GM Jumabayev Rinat KAZ 2612 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2703 2
6 3 GM Artemiev Vladislav RUS 2701 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2624 19
7 6 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2700 IM Firouzja Alireza IRI 2572 24
8 7 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2680 GM Abdusattorov Nodirbek UZB 2540 27
9 11 GM Adhiban B. IND 2661 4 GM Amin Bassem EGY 2700 5
10 30 GM Haddouche Mohamed ALG 2506 4 4 GM Grandelius Nils SWE 2652 13