Garry Kasparov returns to competition!

7/5/2017 – This is neither prank nor clever wording: Garry Kasparov will be playing in the official St. Louis leg of the Grand Chess Tour from August 14-19, 2017. Please note that this is the Rapid and Blitz competition, just as the ones held in Paris and Levuen these last weeks, and not the classical events. However, this is not an exhibition event, and will determine the official Grand Chess Tour rankings as well as FIDE ratings of the players. Here is the press release.

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Historic Sinquefield Cup Brings Top World Chess Talent to Saint Louis; Legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov Comes out of Retirement for Inaugural Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz Event

World's Best Face-off at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis Aug. 2-19, 2017

SAINT LOUIS, July 5, 2017  -- History is being made this August in Saint Louis. The world's most elite chess players of both past and present will be facing off in the U.S. Chess Capital during the Sinquefield Cup, the most prestigious chess tournament hosted on U.S. soil. Following the Sinquefield Cup, legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov will be coming out of retirement to compete against world's top chess talent of modern time in the inaugural Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament as a wildcard. The Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament is the newest stop on the 2017 Grand Chess Tour.

Sinquefield Cup Boasts One of Strongest Fields in Tournament's History

The Sinquefield Cup, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) Aug. 2-12, 2017, will feature ten of the top chess players from around the globe competing for a total prize fund of $300,000. The tournament is the third of five stops on the 2017 Grand Chess Tour (GCT) - a circuit of international chess events featuring the world's elite chess talent, created in partnership between the CCSCSL, Chess Promotions, Ltd. (London Chess Classic) and the Kasparov Chess Foundation. The tournament is named after Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, founders of the CCSCSL.

The Sinquefield Cup headliners include World Champion and No. 1 ranked player, Magnus Carlsen, who will be returning to Saint Louis to take on the reigning Sinquefield Cup champion, World No. 3 ranked player, American Grandmaster Wesley So. Not far behind is World No. 5 ranked player and fan favorite, American GM Fabiano Caruana, who will be in the hunt for the trophy as well. The third and final American player participating in the 2017 Sinquefield Cup is GM Hikaru Nakamura, ranked No. 7. Once again, the U.S. is the only country with three players ranked in the top ten globally.

History to Be Made: Garry Kasparov Will Return to Competition Play

Legendary World Champion and 13TH World Champion in chess history, Garry Kasparov, will be competing in the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz competition Aug. 14-19, 2017, which features six of the Grand Chess Tour players and four wildcard picks playing for a total prize fund of $150,000. The Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz competition is the fourth stop on the Grand Chess Tour.

Kasparov came to international fame as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985 at the age of 22. He retired from professional chess in 2005 after a record 20 years as the world's top-ranked player, and now – 12 years post-career – he's coming back to the board in Saint Louis.

Garry Kasparov during the Ultimate Moves exhibition event in St Louis (photo by Lennart Ootes)

"It's a thrill to officially be returning to the game, and certainly not something I would have anticipated more than a decade after my retirement," said World Champion Kasparov. "Coming back to the board in Saint Louis is truly an honor – I wouldn't want to commemorate this moment anywhere else."

"It's a pleasure to host the Sinquefield Cup again this year as one of the United States stops on the Grand Chess Tour," said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the CCSCSL. "Not only is the caliber of talent historic in this year's tournament – but the fact that legendary World Champion Kasparov has chosen to come out of retirement for this inaugural Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz event is truly unprecedented."

Play Continues with Ultimate Moves

Finally, at the conclusion of the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz, the CCSCSL will host the Ultimate Moves blitz games Aug. 19. Ultimate Moves is an event featuring a lively series of rapid and blitz games among Grand Chess Tour players and special guests.

The 2017 Sinquefield Cup and Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz rounds, as well as the Ultimate Moves games will be streamed live daily on, featuring play-by-play and analysis from the world-renowned commentary team of GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Jennifer Shahade, and GM Maurice Ashley, as well as Spanish commentary by GM Alejandro Ramirez. Live spectators may view the action in the tournament hall and enjoy additional GM-led commentary on-site.

In addition to the Sinquefield Cup, the U.S. Championship and U.S. Women's Championship, and the U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls' Junior Championship, make up the most prestigious chess tournaments held in the United States each year – all held at the CCSCSL.

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2017 Sinquefield Cup Field
Title Name URS Ranking *FIDE Rating Age Federation
GM Magnus Carlsen 1 2832 26 Norway
GM Hikaru Nakamura 2 2785 29 U.S.
GM Wesley So 3 2812 23 U.S.
GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 6 2796 26 France
GM Fabiano Caruana 7 2808 24 U.S.
GM Levon Aronian 8 2793 36 Armenia
GM Sergey Karjakin 10 2781 26 Russia
GM Viswanathan Anand 12 2786 47 India
GM Ian Nepomniachtchi 13 2732 26 Russia
GM Peter Svidler Wildcard 2756 40 Russia
*FIDE Classical Rating, June 2017 


2017 Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz Field
Title Name URS Ranking *FIDE Rating Age Federation
GM Hikaru Nakamura 2 2796 29 U.S.
GM Fabiano Caruana 7 2752 24 U.S.
GM Levon Aronian 8 2797 36 Armenia
GM Sergey Karjakin 10 2773 26 Russia
GM Viswanathan Anand 12 2789 47 India
GM Ian Nepomniachtchi 13 2819 26 Russia
GM David Navara Wildcard 2737 32 Czech Republic 
GM Le Quang Liem Wildcard 2747 26 Vietnam 
GM Lenier Dominguez Wildcard 2796 33 Cuba 
GM Garry Kasparov Wildcard  N/A 54 Russia 
*FIDE Rapid Rating, June 2017

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Fario Fario 7/6/2017 11:08
***** Garry has decided to do what he is best suited to do: Chess. >>> Every single time you hear his name, you don't associate him with the world of politics, you first relate him to Chess. Garry was way more successful in Chess than in the world of politics. I guess he is seeing that if masters like Anand or Kramnik are still playing and in the top 10, he still has a chance to do so and work towards being the king, again. Good luck Garry.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/6/2017 10:46
Brilliant! Sucks that it's precisely the leg with no Carlsen or Wesley So, but it's still a great treat! Kasparov vs. Karjakin should be especially interesting, given the very pronounced contrast in styles...
abstergo abstergo 7/6/2017 10:17
Garry, my favourite player!
drcloak drcloak 7/6/2017 08:23
Haha, Garry is going to get smashed. You heard it here first.
besler besler 7/6/2017 08:16
I am a HUGE Kasparov fan!
I predict him doing quite well in this tournament, for no other reason than this: Kasparov's HUGE ego would not allow him to enter the tournament unless he strongly felt that he was in top form and capable of not only competing, but winning.
calvinamari calvinamari 7/6/2017 08:13
A great development. I would take all bets that Garry will finish at least in the top half of the field.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 7/6/2017 08:04
@ SunriseK : "Is almost like Bobby Fischer returning to play!" I suppose that by "almost" you mean that Fischer is an even greater player than Kasparov. Endless discussions are possible (...and, indeed, occur...) on this subject ; as for me, I consider the two of them as legendary players, and I think it is impossible to really fully compare two players of different generations who, furthermore, haven't played one against the other.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 7/6/2017 07:54
@ plotinoab : "Could be embarrassing to lose in ~20 moves."

I don't know what will be Kasparov's exact playing level in Rapid in this tournament, but, taking into account Kasparov's extraordinary dedication, it seems obvious to me that he will have trained extensively, for this competition, in Rapid and Blitz (in particular, nowadays, it is very easy to train on the Internet, in Blitz and in Rapid).

So : 1) He, himself, will at least not have any big surprises, regarding his results (and I very much doubt that Kasparov would have embarked in this adventure if his Internet results where completely unsatisfactory - it would be a very strange idea, and I think Kasparov is much too objective and logical to follow such a strange idea). and 2) As his rivals must certainly devote most of their time to their preparation for Classical games - as most of the tournaments in which they participate are Classical tournaments - it seems to me rather probable that he will have trained for Rapid and Blitz games more - and perhaps even MUCH more - than the other competitors, the result being that, yes, his rivals' opening preparation will certainly be clearly better than his, but, nonetheless, it doesn't seems certain to me that he can't compensate by the amount of specific training he will have invested in his preparation for this tournament (...and it is well-known that Kasparov can work like nearly no-one when he wants to...).
pipopalazzo pipopalazzo 7/6/2017 07:11
Summer School, boys! Gary is teaching again on August! 😁
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 7/6/2017 05:33
Are the Chinese players underrepresented as wildcards in the GCT?
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 7/6/2017 05:30
This may be the thing to get me to St Louis in the dog days of August.
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 7/6/2017 05:30
This may be the thing to get me to St Louis in the dog days of August.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 7/6/2017 05:29
Interestingly, Garry will be considered as a member of the Russian Chess Federation for that event,

And as unrated for Blitz and Rapid.

At least according to the crosstable of this article.
Kim Bhari Kim Bhari 7/6/2017 02:35
I guess Kasparov got fed up and bored throwing pebbles at President Putin!

Very happy to see him back at the chess board. My only hope is that he continues to be active.
SunriseK SunriseK 7/6/2017 02:17
WoW! Is almost like Bobby Fischer returning to play! I will follow the games with vivid interest!
KevinC KevinC 7/6/2017 12:30
@sidbis, while he is certainly going to get paid, knowing Kasparov's record of helping and being VERY loyal to friends (He has played on PlayChess, owned by close friend Friedel, but since then, he gave up ICC, for example), it is probably more due to his friendship with Rex Sinquefield.
KevinC KevinC 7/6/2017 12:24
They are letting "some" unrated guy play???

plotinoab plotinoab 7/6/2017 11:38
Likely I will be there for a couple days during the tournament, that is a supernice surprise! I think in blitz he can perform well, but in rapid he's too behind in theory, he will always be worse out of the opening with players like Caruana, Aronian, Nakamura. Could be embarrassing to lose in ~20 moves. Also the format in blitz is exhausting even for young players. Final consideration: last year it was an exhibition, players had some respect. Now money is involved, it will be no mercy for Garry.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 7/6/2017 10:45
A little complementary explanation... : when I said in my last post, about Kasparov : "he quite possibly even trained more than the younger players against whom he will compete in this tournament", I obviously meant that he possibly trained more in Rapid and Blitz games than the other players, who, as they essentially play in Classical chess tournaments, haven't much time to train specifically for Rapid and Blitz competitions.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 7/6/2017 10:39
@ turok : Nonsense ; he was (or, rather, is) himself a 2800+ GM (I wouldn't say a Super-GM, because a 2700 GM is simply 100 points above a 2600 GM, nothing more, nothing less), so his possible good performances can't mean that 2700+ or 2800+ GMs are completely overrated players. There is no way to know how much he lost in playing level (no-one can even prove that he lost anything in level, in Rapid and Blitz games), and if he returns to professional play, he certainly trained himself extensively, in particular on the Internet (he quite possibly even trained more than the younger players against whom he will compete in this tournament). And, furthermore, he isn't so old as that : he is born in 1963 ; Anand in 1969, and Kramnik in 1975 - the gap is the same between Kasparov and Anand that between Anand and Kramnik : it isn't at all as if they were players of completely different generations ; Kasparov played for years against Anand, Kramnik, and Topalov, so I don't see at all how to see him play against them again could permit to affirm that they aren't "real" top-players (...and I hope by the way that you didn't forget that Kramnik beat him for the World Title in 2000...).

If Kasparov performs well (and, personally, I think he will), it will only prove that, after Anand who proves that it is possible to continue to play top-level chess at 47 in classical games, it is also possible to play top-level chess in rapid and blitz games at 54. This is all that we can conclude. And this has nothing to do with the "real value of present-days 2700+ players" subject.

And I note that you never answered to my arguments on this same subject on these pages : and, so I rather think you must yourself be quite a little short on arguments on your "favorite" topic, the "There Are No Super-GMs" subject that you serve us each time you have the slightest opportunity to do so...
turok turok 7/6/2017 09:50
you will now see that inflation of ratings will be proven. He may not win it but if he is even in middle of the pack he will prove based on a champions being inactive all these years can go toe to toe with the supposedly cough cough Super GMs.
malfa malfa 7/6/2017 09:28
@ RuyLopez
"the difference between classical chess and blitz or rapid chess, at the top level, is not as great as you may think. There are fewer errors in classical chess, and less risk taken, but the quality of chess is very high regardless of the time control at the top level. Kind of like when your chess engine is given five seconds to think on a position vs five minutes: the longer time doesn't always result in a different move."

Definitely this is not true: not only you never see an engine blundering a whole rook in one move when playing with limited time, like the current world champion did against Giri in Leuven, but you neither see the world champion himself doing such a thing, when he plays with classical time controls.
Grad Grad 7/6/2017 08:00
Paul Morphy second return.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 7/6/2017 06:19
One fun fact : as Kasparov never had Rapid or Blitz ratings (they didn't exist when he retired), he will play this tournament using his last Classical rating as Rapid rating and as Blitz rating... and the consequence will be that he will be the only player, with Nakamura, to have a 2800+ rating in both Rapid and Blitz ( his last Classical rating was 2812...). I wonder if he will be able to keep his rating, or even to increase it ? This wouldn't surprise me, in fact...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 7/6/2017 06:14
@ Brian Smith : "Lets not get so is just rapid/blitz you know." Yes, this is obvious, Rapid and Blitz chess is SOOOOO simple ; any idiot could do a 14.5 / 20 in a top-level tournament, as Carlsen did in Leuwen (...I just wonder why the other top-level players don't do it, but this is certainly a completely inadequate question...).

The truth is that, nearly always, the best players in Blitz and in Rapid are also exceptional players in Classical. Even Nakamura who, at a time, had a reputation of being a "blitz specialist" has a completely comparable level of results in Classical chess, compared to Rapid and Blitz chess (in the July 2017 rating lists, he is even nearer ot the World n° 1 and the World n° 2 in Classical - 30 points from the World n° 1, Carlsen, and 20 points from the World n° 2, Kramnik - that in Rapid - 97 points from the World n° 1, Carlsen, and 29 points from the World n° 2, Grischuk - or in Blitz - 31 points from the World n° 1, Carlsen, and 22 points from the World n° 2, Vachier-Lagrave). For certain persons, this is a pure coincidence, but I really don't believe much in such recurrent coincidences...

For me, Blitz, Rapid, and Classical chess are indeed quite different things, but excellent results in Blitz or Rapid are very meaningful too. They don't mean exactly the same thing that excellent results in Classical chess, but this doesnt make them meaningless at all, in my opinion.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 7/6/2017 04:35
Young Magnus was exhausted at the end of the Leuven event. Garry is courageous.
Rod Plant Rod Plant 7/6/2017 04:16
Are unrated players eligible for prize money? Some of them are quite good you know 😁
RayLopez RayLopez 7/6/2017 03:59
This is great news. We get to see if there's such a thing as ratings inflation after all. And the quality of chess should be pretty good: the difference between classical chess and blitz or rapid chess, at the top level, is not as great as you may think. There are fewer errors in classical chess, and less risk taken, but the quality of chess is very high regardless of the time control at the top level. Kind of like when your chess engine is given five seconds to think on a position vs five minutes: the longer time doesn't always result in a different move. I think Kasparov, who probably has been practicing secretly if his informal match vs Short a while ago is any indication, will be tough competition, at least I hope so.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 7/6/2017 03:43
First I checked the date to see if it was April 1.

Will be interesting to see Kasparov-Anand. Why isn't Carlsen in the blitz/rapid portion?
Brian Smith Brian Smith 7/6/2017 03:15
Lets not get so is just rapid/blitz you know.
Arnieus Arnieus 7/6/2017 02:44
This just in Michael Jordon is coming out of retirement to help the Hornets.
benedictralph benedictralph 7/6/2017 02:25
At least he will remain the youngest world champion ever (at least probably until his death). Not the highest rated player ever, but still.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 7/6/2017 02:23
One interesting fact : on the July 2017 lists, only 3 players are in the 2800+ category both in Rapid AND in Blitz : Carlsen, Nakamura, and Grischuk. And Nakamura will be the only one of these three to participate in the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 7/6/2017 02:12
Fantastic !

The confrontation with Nakamura could be very interesting, if Kasparov is sufficently in form to be at this level (which seems to me possible).

Interesting also to see Kasparov vs. Anand : for once, between these two, Anand will be "the young guy" !
parselmouth parselmouth 7/6/2017 02:10
Should be interesting seeing Garry and Karjakin play.
sidbis sidbis 7/6/2017 01:36
Money! Money speaks louder!
RogarThalion RogarThalion 7/6/2017 12:47
Like... seriously ?! Wow...

I was 14 when Kasparov retired and I wasn't into chess back then, I never thought I would see him play live someday (official games I mean). That's awesome !
Steven E DuCharm Steven E DuCharm 7/6/2017 12:29
Go Garry Go!