Junior Speed Chess: Maghsoodloo Blows Out Moroni

Junior Speed Chess: Maghsoodloo Blows Out Moroni

11 | Chess.com News

In what was the most lopsided match in the round of 16, GM Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran was way too strong for GM Luca Moroni of Italy. The Iranian star won 20-7 in yesterday's Junior Speed Chess Championship match.

It's part of the concept of knockout events, where usually organizers avoid  favorites being paired against each other in the early rounds. That also means that sometimes we'll see matchups where one player will be seriously struggling against another.

Moroni ended up losing both the five- and three-minute segments vs. Parham (as the Iranian prefers to be called) by big margins, and so the match saw little intrigue. It was in the bullet portion where the Italian GM performed the best.

Parham Maghsoodloo Luca Moroni predictions SmarterChess
The Parham vs. Moroni predictions by SmarterChess were pretty accurate.

Parham started with two wins before Moroni got on the scoreboard. In game two, the Italian GM was actually doing fine, especially when Black had cornered his queen, but then he just dropped an important pawn for nothing with little time on the clock.

Game four was a tough blow for Moroni—one that might have had its effect on the match. Defending a completely drawn two-vs.-three rook endgame easily, and shortly before the game was indeed going to end in a draw, he stepped into a mate-in-one:

In the next game Parham showed his skills in the King's Indian or Catalan type of positions that he plays as White. 

"I think I had more knowledge in this Nf3/g3 or Nf3/c4/g3," said Parham. "I played this my whole life. So in most of the games I had a good position and I could fight for a win".

Moroni definitely had his chances, but Parham sometimes was winning games "he had no business winning," as commentator Danny Rensch said. He almost did that in game eight as well, one that he had no business drawing either:

5|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Score
1 Parham Maghsoodloo Parhamov 3086 3027 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 ½ 6.5/8
2 Luca Moroni moro182 2772 2831 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 ½ 1.5/8

That could hardly go worse for Moroni. But it did.

Losing the three-minute segment 8-1 had such an effect that after the match he felt he had lost all games in this phase, forgetting about game 11. Moroni could play Black's standard plan against the French Exchange as Parham apparently wasn't aware of the move 6.c4 (which also doesn't give White much, but at least he avoids Black checkmating him with automatic moves).

The last game in the three-minute portion finished with a nice checkmate:

3|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Score
1 Parham Maghsoodloo Parhamov 3079 3140 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 8.0/9
2 Luca Moroni moro182 2779 2718 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.0/9

The bullet was Moroni's best portion. He got in four wins, and only lost with a margin of half a point. In one of these games, Parham was being just a little bit too brilliant:

The match was about to break the record for least number of draws ever in a Speed Chess battle, but then a draw happened in the final game. The evaluation went back and forth, but apparently it was always meant to end peacefully.

1|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score
1 Parham Maghsoodloo Parhamov 2938 2691 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 ½ 5.5/10
2 Luca Moroni moro182 2656 2903 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 ½ 4.5/10

"I knew it could have finished like this; I was ready," smiled Moroni. "I know that when time is low and I have a few seconds on the clock I can’t play, I just can’t play good moves. Many times I blundered some pieces. I think that was my difficulty. When I’m down to 10 seconds, it’s like, resign."

Parham: "It was a nice experience for me. It was the first time I played 5|1 and 3|1. I think Luca was not in his best shape. I was thinking this match would be more difficult for me."

Asked whether he could still find motivation in the bullet to win a bit more money (as half of the prize money is based on win percentage), Moroni said: "I was not playing for money; I was playing for fun and to get some experience against Parham, who I think is one of the best blitz players in the world."

Junior Speed Chess Championship bracket

Moroni earned $104 based on win percentage; Maghsoodloo won $400 for the victory plus $296 on percentage, totaling $696. He moves on to the next round, where he will play Alexey Sarana.

The next match in the championship is Benjamin Gledura vs. Awonder Liang on June 18.

The Junior Speed Chess Championship is sponsored by ChessKid, the world's number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. Sixteen GMs age 21 or younger play in a knockout format with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz and 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet chess.

You can replay the live broadcast here.

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