Reports Jan 9, 2018 | 4:33 PMby Colin McGourty

Harutyunian pips Abdusattorov to Al Ain gold

20-year-old IM Tigran Harutyunian from Armenia beat the world’s youngest GM, 13-year-old Nodirbek Abdusattorov, on the way to winning the 1st Al Ain Junior Open. The unusual open for players 20 and under took place in the Al Ain Chess and Culture Club in the United Arab Emirates and had a prize fund of $25,000. Harutyunian also tied for first in the separate one-day blitz tournament ($3,900 up for grabs), but was edged out by 16-year-old Aryan Gholami from Iran.

Tigran Harutyunian (from Armenia not Spain!) takes the trophy, flanked by Al Ain Chess & Culture Club Technical Director Mr. Tarek Al Taher and Chief Arbiter Mr. Casto Abundo | photo: Enkhtuul Altan-Ulzii

It’s quite common to have closed tournaments for young talents, but an open event exclusively for juniors is a rarity outside of official championships. This 9-round open ran from 30th December 2017 to 5th January 2018 in the oasis city of Al Ain and featured 143 players from 11 countries, with Armenia, India and Iran particularly well represented. The biggest star, however, was 13-year-old Nodirbek Abdusattorov from Uzbekistan, who recently met all the requirements to become the 2nd youngest grandmaster in history at 13 years, 1 month and 11 days. That was over 3 months quicker than Parimarjan Negi or Magnus Carlsen and slower only than Sergey Karjakin. His title is still pending approval, which is why he appears as an IM in our system.

The world's youngest GM and the 2nd youngest ever, Nodirbek Abdusattorov | photo: Enkhtuul Altan-Ulzii

You can play through the top games from the event using the selector below (click a result to open the game with computer analysis, or hover over a player’s name to see all his or her results):

Nodirbek started with five wins and looked to be doing well in the sixth round when he played 36.f6! against the top seed, 19-year-old GM Ghosh Diptayan from India:


After 36…gxf6, though, it seems that Nodirbek rushed with 37.Bxd3, when after 37…Qxd3 38.Qxc6 Re6! Black was no worse and the game soon ended in a draw. Leaving the pawn and upping the pressure with 37.Rf1 or 37.Rad1 looks more challenging.

Ghosh Diptayan started as top seed on board 1 against local player Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi | photo: Enkhtuul Altan-Ulzii

The key game of the tournament was an extremely complicated tactical skirmish in which Tigran Harutyunian inflicted the only defeat on Abdusattorov. 

Harutyunian beat Abdusattorov with the black pieces | photo: Enkhtuul Altan-Ulzii

Playing with Black, Tigran first fearlessly grabbed a pawn on d4 and then correctly gave up his queen:


23…Bxc3! 24.Rxd8 Rexd8


Here Abdusattorov had nothing better than giving himself some “luft” with 25.g3, when Black was able to consolidate and make the extra material count. The critical move is 25.Qxc3?, when Black picks up a piece and is covering the a1 and d1-squares to stop back-rank mate. The problem, though, is the only move 25…Nxe4!, when the bishop can't capture as it has to cover d1, while the g5-bishop is also doomed, since the white queen has to stay on the a1-h8 diagonal.

In the previous round Tigran Harutyunian had won a technical game with an extra pawn against Aryan Gholami, and his 7.5/9 proved enough to take first place ahead of Ghosh Diptayan on tiebreaks:


Aryan Gholami bounced back to beat his compatriot Masoud Mosadeghpour in a similarly technical fashion in the next round and took third place ahead of Abdusattorov. The final standings at the top were as follows:

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
15IMHarutyunian Tigran K.ARM24877,50,547,06,0
21GMGhosh DiptayanIND25567,50,546,56,0
34IMGholami AryanIRI24997,00,048,06,0
42IMAbdusattorov NodirbekUZB25167,00,047,56,0
53GMMosadeghpour MasoudIRI25037,00,046,06,0
69FMDavtyan ArturARM23057,00,046,06,0
78FMDanielyan VaheARM23377,00,045,56,0
87IMMohammad Nubairshah ShaikhIND23807,00,044,56,0
910Hakobyan Hovhannes H.ARM22707,00,044,07,0
1011FMGarayev KananAZE22607,00,041,06,0
116IMMousavi Seyed KhalilIRI24596,50,045,55,0
1216WFMAsadi MotahareIRI20136,50,043,56,0
1315Poormosavi Seyed KianIRI21126,50,043,06,0
1413IMSultan IbrahimUAE21176,50,042,06,0
1517FMAhmed FareedUAE19976,50,041,06,0
1612WIMAsatryan SonaARM21716,50,039,55,0

The blitz held on 4th January was open to everyone, including 23-year-old WGM Enkhtuul Altan-Ulzii from Mongolia, who took the photographs in this account but also finished the blitz in a bronze medal position with 7 wins and 2 losses. 

Blitz Champion and bronze medalist in the main event, 16-year-old Aryan Gholami from Iran | photo: Enkhtuul Altan-Ulzii

At the top again, though, was Harutyunian with 7 wins and 2 draws, though this time he missed out on first place on tiebreaks to Aryan Gholami, a 16-year-old former World Under 8 Champion:

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
18IMGholami AryanIRI23568,00,57,046,0
25IMHarutyunian Tigran K.ARM24258,00,57,043,5
314WGMEnkhtuul Altan-UlziiMGL21627,00,07,041,5
43IMMousavi Seyed KhalilIRI24537,00,06,044,5
520Poormosavi Seyed KianIRI20006,50,06,041,5
615FMGarayev KananAZE21586,50,06,040,0
731WFMAsadi MotahareIRI16766,50,06,039,5
82IMAbdusattorov NodirbekUZB24636,50,05,043,0
922FMDavtyan ArturARM19686,00,06,046,5
1010FMDanielyan VaheARM22816,00,06,043,0
1124Andal EdmondPHI19076,00,06,042,5
127IMAli SebbarMAR24016,00,06,041,5
1329CMAl-Zaabi SultanUAE17116,00,06,040,5
144IMSakelsek TadejSLO24456,00,06,039,5
1512Mortel MarlonPHI21946,00,06,038,5
169IMKarim IsmaelMAR23106,00,06,037,5
1717Dimarucut Francis ErwinPHI21016,00,06,036,5
186GMMosadeghpour MasoudIRI24196,00,05,046,0
191GMGhosh DiptayanIND25556,00,04,043,5

Harutyunian’s last comparable success was taking clear 1st place in the Armenian 1st League in August. That qualified him for the main section of the Armenian Men’s Championship, which starts this weekend and will determine one of the players in the Armenian team for the upcoming Olympiad. 

A good choice of chess site to watch the event! | photo: Enkhtuul Altan-Ulzii

You’ll be able to follow the Armenian Championship live on chess24, though Wijk aan Zee will probably get a bit more attention!  Masters | Challengers


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