Mahjoob breaks Guinness record with 500-board simul
GM 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).
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 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.
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).
The venue before the start of the simul...
...and here packed with 500 players
Of course there was an official opening with lots of officials
Many participants decided to notate their game
Yes, that's how many!
Chess - a game for the young and for the old
One of the 10 blind participants
'I'll go this, whatever he plays' - 'Are you sure?'
500 boards means waiting, and waiting...
...and it's sometimes hard to be patient
18 hours of play - can you imagine?
Mahjoob after the simul, receiving pats on the back and a massage...
...but he did it! 500 boards, and an entry in the Guinness Book of Records
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