August 17, 2009 17:13

Mahjoob breaks Guinness record with 500-board simul

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World RecordGM Morteza Mahjoob broke the Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record. He played against 500 chess players in the biggest simul ever, held in Tehran, which started at 10.00 AM on Thursday, August 13 and finished at 04.00 AM of the next day. Mahjoob scored 397 wins, 90 draws and 13 losses.

By Mehdi Mahjoob 29-year-old GM Morteza Mahjoob Zardast (2503) has been a member of the Iranian National Chess Team for twelve years. He is Iran's third grandmaster, behind GM Ehsan Ghaen Maghami (2589) and GM Elshan Moradiabadi (2542).

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

GM Marteza Mahjoob

Mahjoob won the last Iranian Championships and this was his second national title. He started his professional life as a chess player already at the age of 13 and became Iran youth champion in 1994. A year later he won the Iran students championships. In 2000, just 20 years old, he stopped GM Anatoly Karpov in a simultaneous chess game between Karpov and the national team of Iran. Morteza won many championship cups in Asia and Iran such as the Iranian and Asian Club Championships in different years. At this year's Asian Championships in Lebanon he won three different gold medals: singular, team and best player. The simul took place on Thursday, August 13, 2009 with a near 700 participants (500 players and 200 reserve players) and about 1000 spectators present in the playing venue "Yadegar-e-Emam" multi-purpose sport saloon in the "Engelab sport complex" in Tehran, Iran. It was organized by the Iran Chess Federation and sponsored by Candy, an Italian producer of home appliances.

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

Mahjoob started his physical trainings about two months in advance, because he knew he had to walk about 40 kilometers and stay awake for 24 hours to play against 500 players.

Among the 500 participants were 200 professional chess players, 280 chess enthusiasts and 20 cinema actors and sportsmen, like Hadi Saei, three times Olympic medal winner and recent Olympic champion in Taekwondo. There were also 10 blind participants, 3 of whom competed till the last hours. The oldest participant was 81 years old; the youngest 4! From 07.00 AM people were walking around the Enghelab Sport complex to enter the game venue. The opening cermony started at 09.50 and the simul started formally at 10.00 AM. At 12:30 AM there were already 130 players; many of them had no chance to win, but they insisted on playing. There were some kids and teenagers, semi-professional players, who resisted for more than 15 hours. Their parents helped them by massaging them and after 15 hours of the game, there were lots of players who needed medical help. Morteza himself had just two half an hours resting time for lunch and dinner. The grandmaster walked about 43 kilometers during the simul.

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

The first moves, all captured by a camera of Iranian TV

One of Mahjoob's own students, just 6 years old, won his game - this kid was among the last 10 players, and with this wonderful result he gave his coach the best compliment possible. At 23:30 Morteza succeeded to achieve 88.42% over 364 boards. The remaining games continued and finally at 04:12 on August 14, 2009 he finished last game. The final result over 500 boards was: 397 wins, 90 draws, 13 loses with total score of 442 and score percentage of 88.4%. The grandmaster was still quite active and cheerful after the simul - he even drove to the hotel himself at 06.00 AM! With this simul over 500 boards Mahjoob broke the previous Guinness record of GM Kiril Georgiev, who played a simultaneous exhibition against 360 opponents in February. After 14 hours of play he scored 88% with 284 wins, 70 draws and 6 losses. Before that, the record had been in the hands of Susan Polgar (she played against 350 boards in 2005), IM Andrew Martin (321 opponents in 2004) and Ulf Andersson (310 boards in 1996).

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

The venue before the start of the simul...

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

...and here packed with 500 players

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

Of course there was an official opening with lots of officials

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

Many participants decided to notate their game

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

Yes, that's how many!

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

Chess - a game for the young and for the old

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

One of the 10 blind participants

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

'I'll go this, whatever he plays' - 'Are you sure?'

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

500 boards means waiting, and waiting...


Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

...and it's sometimes hard to be patient

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

18 hours of play - can you imagine?

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

Mahjoob after the simul, receiving pats on the back and a massage...

Mahjoob breaks Guinness Simultaneous Chess World Record

...but he did it! 500 boards, and an entry in the Guinness Book of Records


Photos © IRNA / ISNA (Hamid Forootan) / Mehdi Mahjoob, cousin of Morteza



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Editors's picture
Author: Editors


mahdi's picture

i really admire what mahjoob did but i wish he was successful in professional tournaments too if he was his rating was more than 2503 these simultaneos games wouldnt prove your strength as u see players like anand or kramnik never spend(if not waste) their time for a simultaneos game they devote themseleves to professional tournaments i hope mahjub focus his power on this and become a world champion or atleast a top grandmaster i know there were some rated guys but a lot of them were less 10 years old and winning against them is a piece of cake and mahjub had white pieces in all 500 boards which is a major help to him but i dont want to belittle his victory i m iranian and i m proud of it but it s better we dont exagerate this victory and dont let our patriotic feelings cloud our judgements

sasha's picture

Dear Mahdi,

Please Look at the last record photos(georgiev), there were lots of children too. Chess is a mintal game, not just a physical game, can you win u10 asian champion like a piece of cake because he is a child?!
about the professional games, Mahjoob is Gold Medalist of Asia now, in the last asian games in lebanon. his rating in 2503, but great Grand Masters like karpov, always do simultaneous games too. I saw karpovs simul against 100 in Iran. It is not wasting the time, its a part of chess life.

pouya's picture

GM morteza mahjub is a great player! when his time be u10sec. he plays with strength fire and highspeed . he is very danger when his time = under10sec. really!!!!

Petr's picture

Great record and also great result! Congratulations to GM Majhoob! I can´t imagine I would play so much games during simul (I don´t speak about my result, which would be terrible :)).

runner's picture

Nice pics!

Titus's picture

Is there a required minimum of points scored and average strength of opponents to get in the Guinness book of records? If not, I am planning my attack to this record against at least 1000 player. My strategy: resign all games in the very first move ;-)

natasha's picture

dear Titus

These are some of the rules:
You have to gain more than 80% of the points.
You can not use any vehicle like skates or wheelchair.
and: FIDE must approve your record, in Morteza's simul, Mr. Nezar Elhaj, vice president of FIDE from Libya was the supervisor of the games.

me's picture

Titus, for the record you have to score at least 75% (or something like that).

CAL|Daniel's picture

shocking he is able to put up such a high % when with so many participants all the participants would have sufficient time to think.

?????'s picture

all the game was a play . no body would believe that . there wasnt any professional player in the game . no registarion in the Guinness records web site . shame on u

Alireza's picture

GM Mahjoob wone about 430 peaople.
and about 50-60 games got equal.
and I know only he had 13 loss

sami's picture

FOR ???? ! :
Look at Georgiev's record registration in Guinness, it needs the report of FIDE and Media reports to approve. Georgiev waited many months for registering in Guinness
. The Guinness will approve Morteza Mahjoob's record too. They never approve immediately:

reza shirmohammad's picture

There was no professional player?!!! Asian champion, shahin zanganeh, was just one of the participants. Do you need 500 kasparovs to accept the simul?!!! 150 of them were students of different chess schools of Tehran.

zoha's picture

Dear Mr. Question mark!!!

The 7th picture from top, show Mr. Nizar Elhaj, The vice president of FIDE who approved the simul and the record. It is more important than Guinness.

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