Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz: Closing Ceremony and Ultimate Moves

by ChessBase
8/19/2017 – The live action continued Saturday featuring the now-traditional trash-talk filled blitz bonanza known as Ultimate Moves. "Team Rex" squeaked out the victory after a 3/3 tie sparked an wild impromptu tiebreak game (not planned in advance), which was unceremoniously concluded by an illegal move made by Randy Sinquefield!

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Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz

Closing Ceremony

Streamed live from the World Chess Hall of Fame

Ultimate Moves blitz

Games and Commentary


Live spectacle from 22:00 CEST


  • Best of 6 games
  • The match will be declared a tie if it ends 3/3
  • There is only one game per round
  • Game 1 will start with 5 moves being played by Rex and Randy Sinquefield and then each player in the team roster plays 5 consecutive moves before giving way to one of their teammates
  • Once the two amateurs at the bottom of the roster (Rachael Li and John Urshel) have played their 5 moves the rotation is reset and starts from the top again
  • The rate of play for all 6 games will be Game in 5 minutes plus 5 seconds increment per move from move 1
  • The match starts at 15.00 local time in St Louis and the games will start at 20 minute intervals 


The teams were chosen yesterday and will consist of the following players (order of play not determined):

Team Randy  Team Rex
Randy Sinquefield Rex Sinquefield
Fabiano Caruana Levon Aronian
Garry Kasparov Hikaru Nakamura
Vishy Anand Sergey Karjakin
David Navara Ian Nepomniachtchi
Liem Le Lenier Dominguez
Rachael Li (7 year old sister of GM Ruifeng Li) John Urschel (former NFL football player)

Games and commentary


Commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Maurice Ashley, and WGM Jennifer Shahade

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Final blitz standings (not including rapid)


Combined standings (including rapid)

DATES August 13-19, 2017
LOCATION Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis
FORMAT 10-Player Round Robin
PRIZE FUND $150,000


Monday, August 14 1:00 PM Rapid | Rounds 1 - 3
Tuesday, August 15 1:00 PM Rapid | Rounds 4 - 6
Wednesday, August 16 1:00 PM Rapid | Rounds 7 - 9
Thursday, August 17 1:00 PM Blitz | Rounds 1 - 9
Friday, August 18 1:00 PM Blitz | Rounds 10 - 18
Saturday, August 19 11: 00 AM Playoff (if necessary)
  3:00 PM Ultimate Moves


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Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/23/2017 11:32
@ Jacob woge : (VERY late comment ; sorry...) About GMs and Super-GMs : I quite agree, obviously, that, for example, between a 2400+ GM and a 2800+ GM, there is a very great difference.

But, for me, this goes much further than that : for example, if Inarkiev was to say to Kramnik : "We are colleagues", as he is above 2700 points (and thus a "Super-GM", following the proponents of this "title"), I think that Kramnik could quite well answer too : "We are not colleagues ; You are colleague with Malakhov."
Kgls Kgls 8/22/2017 11:24
@fgkdjlkag: well... i have to agree with you. Long live the Caesar!
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 8/21/2017 07:04
@Kgls, you realize this is how it has been since the Middle Ages? Wealthy patrons had interactions with the artists that they wanted to.
Kgls Kgls 8/20/2017 11:06
I watch Ultimate Moves live and it was painfull to see.
Why should people who dont know how to play chess play against GMs only because they have the money?...

Great model of playing, but as Aronian said, some people should be playing dominos.
VVI VVI 8/19/2017 07:20
Garry put up a great performance. Awesome energy, great fighting spirit! Everyone put up a great performance except Vishy Anand. Anand was a disaster again in the rapid and blitz. Perhaps, with his low scoring , he may not get a chance in the next year`s GCT.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 8/19/2017 03:11
"You can really only look at how far someone was ahead of their peers..."

Which means, as Larsen argued, that the all-time great is probably Morphy .
JactaEst JactaEst 8/19/2017 11:24
'The test would show that contemporary super grandmasters are stronger than any of their illustrious predecessors'

I'm not so sure about this - I thought this had been done and whilst Carlsen and Kramnik were at or near the top - so were Fischer, Kasparov and even in some studies Capablanca.

Also in a world where engines have added so much to opening and endgame knowledge, and databases like Chessbase exist, I'm not sure whether saying that [modern GM] is 'better' than say Botvinik makes much sense. Who knows how all these players would fair on a level playing field?

You can really only look at how far someone was ahead of their peers...
Jacob woge Jacob woge 8/19/2017 10:33
About GMs and super-GMs. There was this Korchnoi story.

A master achieved his final norm and got to be GM. Approached Korchnoi with, "now, finally, we are colleagues" . To which Korchnoi replied, "We are not colleagues. You are colleague with Damljanovic."

Anyone recalls?
Leavenfish Leavenfish 8/19/2017 03:06
Gary has never been suited for fast chess. He calculates too much. You saw it here...he 'bore down' every game, intense...

Quick chess has to be played 'by hand' DON'T HAVE TIME to calculate but a bit. It is mostly trusting your intuition.
riley12345 riley12345 8/18/2017 11:01
[yet again] vs ye [ draw] Kasparovs clock was not adding the regulation 3 secs at the end of he game and by only moving instantaneously, did Kasp not lose on time!!!
J Nayer J Nayer 8/18/2017 01:20
Okay, I will stop “ranting.” You are all right and I’m wrong: there is rating inflation. These top GMs now are not one bit stronger than Fischer. Chess skill did not improve. They only have a rating in excess of 2780 because they only play among themselves.

Do you have any idea how stupid this sounds? It is just well nigh impossible. Take the average rating of the best players in the world in 1970, say the 15 best. Calculate the average. Take the average rating of the best players in the world today, the 15 best – those with the “inflated rating”. Calculate the trend. It’s very simple. What is so weird about rating in excess of 3000, say, 25 years from now? Nothing. It’s not something I feel, it’s not my opinion and it’s not ranting. Go calculate the trend. Then tell me I’m wrong.
volodos volodos 8/18/2017 07:24
@ J Nayer

With all due respect, but got the concept of the elo ratings wrong. Elo rating is a measure of the difference of strength of the CURRENT field of players. You cannot compare it with another time. Look for it in the internet. It is easy to google nowadays.
drcloak drcloak 8/18/2017 02:27

Yes, Kramink's rating was 2758 in January of 2000, and since that time has inflated by 45 pts to a staggering 2803. It sure is a good thing that as one gets older, one's chess strength does not suffer!
Masquer Masquer 8/18/2017 12:53
What makes you think you know what will be in 25 years? Ratings over 3000 as "natural evolution"? Without any proof, just because it feels right to you? Ranting, as usual. Why don't you just stop?
dumkof dumkof 8/17/2017 10:48
if the Elo difference of the players is more than 400, it is counted as 400.
so the elo changes in a 2830 vs 2430 game and 2830 vs 1200 game are the same.
dumkof dumkof 8/17/2017 10:34
turok, here is a nice Elo calculater of FIDE:

If a 2830 player (Carlsen) wins/ draws/ loses to a 2600 player, his Elo change would be +2.1/ -2.9/ -7.9 respectively.

Mathematically, the Elo value has no limit. It diverges to infinite, as long as you win. But the higher your Elo gets (and your Elo difference with your opponents increases), the more wins are required per Elo change. To reach an infinite Elo, you would also need an endless number of players, since you can not absorb infinite Elo points from a pool with limited number of players.
turok turok 8/17/2017 09:08
I had a question for anybody here: FIDE wins loses and draws: What is the highest and lowest a GM can lose or gain: meaning: Take Carlsen: What is the MOST amount of points he could lose by playing a lower rated player at any one point if he faced-what is the lowest and is there an amount for the highest he can win? I know in USCG if a 2400 loses to a 1200 player they can only lose so many points-a thresh-hold of protection per say? draws: if carlsen draws wins draws or loses to a 2600 player what would be the points won-lost drawn-if anybody knows
J Nayer J Nayer 8/17/2017 01:31
Fischer’s rating of July 1972 was 2785, his highest ever. If we compare this figure with the FIDE August rating list, Fischer would be more or less as strong as Vachier-Lagrave and Grischuk, but not as strong as the first seven. If anything, I am surprised that the difference is so small. The picture is much different for the number two on the FIDE July 1972 list. It would be a completely normal evolution if, in 25 years, we have players with a rating over 3.000. That is the pace in which chess skill advances. There is nothing strange about it.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 8/17/2017 12:56
Round 7: Rapid - Kasparov/Navara - precision: White 53% - Black: 25%. Score: 0 - 1. Sometimes, chess is a cruel game.
riley12345 riley12345 8/17/2017 10:35
anyone notice that (vs Caruana) Kasparov's clock was NOT adding the 10 seconds at the end ??
Ziegler Ziegler 8/17/2017 08:26
No matter how things go Kasparov will have strengthened his chess heritage after this, not weakenend it. That's because in this modern day of fast changes on the chessboard and everywhere else he comes back after 12 years to fight at the highest level. In his mid fifties! I don't see anybody else capable of that. Or doing it. And he's had the better positions most of the time.. Give him credit instead of trashtalking..
planner99 planner99 8/17/2017 08:21
"dumkof Ratings are super inflated. In 25 years when you have players that are over 3000 rating, you can keep telling yourself there is no inflation."

Can you show me the inflation in Kramnik's rating the last 18 years?
daftarche daftarche 8/17/2017 07:45

why is it exactly that you think aronian took pity on gary? in professional chess, no one takes pity on anybody.
EMeyer EMeyer 8/17/2017 05:43
Ok...take the FIDE rating list...

Select ANY player with an elo about 2670... and be sure, this person would be world champion 30 years ago.

Oh boy...right.

By the way, I love the bunch of experts eager to find blunders in ancient games...with an engine... Pfff
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/17/2017 02:16
@ Aighearach : A concrete example about my last post : If the participants of a tournament were Carlsen, So, Caruana, Kramnik, Howell, and Inarkiev, would you really consider that all these players could be simply considered as "Super-GMs" without any further distinctions ?? As for me, I clearly consider that the 4 first and the 2 last players "are not in the same category", be they "Super-GMs" or not... So the so-called "Super-GM" "title" gives artificially a false impression of an homogeneous category ; this is indeed not at all the case : there is indeed quite important a difference in level between a "standard" 2700+ GM and the very best players in the world...
Leavenfish Leavenfish 8/17/2017 02:10
I actually think Kaspy will do better in the blitz part. Why? Because blitz is about intuition. Give someone more time who hasn't played high level chess in ages...and he will 'think'....and get into time trouble...and have bad results.

His result so far would be worse if Aronian had not taken pity on him in their first game.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/17/2017 01:54
@ Aighearach : "(...) don't talk about the best word for somebody else to use (...)" (about the use of the term "Super-GM")

This isn't at all a logical argument ! In fact, I find this argument very surprising : it seems completely obvious that some terms are very good, some less good, some bad, and some very bad.

In fact, for example, if I was using the term "Infra-GMs" to qualify the 2700+ GMs, would you really still find that this would be a very bad idea to criticize any term chosen by anyone ??? Obviously, "Super-GM" isn't as bad a term as that, but it tends to create a "halo" of absolute superiority for 2700+ GMs that has absolutely no founding in facts : the difference between a 2700+ GM and a 2600+ GM is exactly the same as the difference between a 2600+ GM and a 2500+ GM, or also the difference between a 2800+ GM and a 2700+ GM.

So, in fact, it is completely arbitrary to call 2700+ GMs "Super-GMs". The term "Super-GM" could be quite equally used for 2600+ GMs of for 2800+ GM. This is the problem : why would it be a good thing to highlight so much 2700+ GMs ?? In fact, if you take as some sort of a reference the 100 points difference between the GM level (2500 points) and the IM level (2400 points), there are nowadays 3 successive steps above the "standard" GM level : 2600+ GMs, 2700+ GMs, and 2800+ GMs. And the use of the "Super-GM" term warps the reality of the "GM world", because it gives the impression that the "Super-GMs" are very different from the other GMs : this is not the case ; they are better, but they are certainly not "from another world" just by passing the 2700 points limit...

In fact, yes, everyone has the "right" to defend the use of the "Super-GM" term, but, also, everyone has the "right" to consider that to use this term isn't optimal, and to criticize with logical arguments the use of this term. Is it really such an offense to express an opinion ?? And, furthermore, an opinion justified by logical arguments ?? To defend this represents indeed really quite a surprising stance...
SambalOelek SambalOelek 8/16/2017 09:59
Yes fast cars , last generations

have you seen the world champion challenger Karjakin standing? not far of Kasparov right? this simple four days says nothing...
Kasparov is busy with many more things then these guys...
AgainAgain AgainAgain 8/16/2017 09:39
Kasparov is last now... Where are those singing his praise at the beginning of the tournament? Players of each era are better than the ones in the previous one. Same as it works with cars, computers, athletes...
Aighearach Aighearach 8/16/2017 08:23
People complaining about the word "super" should just find their own adjective and quit telling other people which words to use. Super isn't even an offensive word. Get over yourself. Any argument you make against my prerogatives is guaranteed to be incorrect and immoral. Talk about the best word for you to use, don't talk about the best word for somebody else to use; you already know they prefer "super-GM" so just accept the prerogatives of other beings.
thedarkdanster thedarkdanster 8/16/2017 07:08
@fgkdjlkag Thanks, I had a blind spot on the Queen on the G file.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/16/2017 06:40
@ fgkdjlkag : "If there is a closed pool of players and suddenly educational treatises, computers, and databases are introduced to all players, what will happen?" Very interesting question indeed...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/16/2017 06:35
@ turok : Expressed like you did in your last post, I must say I in fact rather agree with you (if I really understood well your meaning, but I rather think so).

I already said it elsewhere, but I don't like either the term "Super-GM". Personally, I only use : "2500+ GMs", "2600+ GMs", "2700+ GMs", and "2800+ GMs", to distinguish GMs between themselves.

The point with which I don't really agree is that I think that a 2700+ GM is slightly better than a 2600+ GM, and that a 2800+ GM is slightly better than a 2700+ GM (in the same way as a 2600+ GM is slightly better than a 2500+ GM, or, for example, a 2500+ IM is slightly better than a 2400+ IM). And I think that practical results do show that there is really some differences between the different levels.

And, personally, I like to follow games from players of different level, all the way from 2300+ IMs to 2800+ GMs (I consider that, from the 2300+ IM level, a game's content is "good chess", and these different levels represents also, so to say, different "flavours" : for example, a game between two 2400+ GMs is quite different from a game between two 2800+ GMs, in my opinion, so, even if I follow slightly more top-level games, I also follow games from very different levels of play).
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 8/16/2017 06:27
@darkdancer, black queen can take on g6 and black wins the endgame.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 8/16/2017 06:24
@ RayLopez, that does not explain anything. I am assuming by your comment that chess ratings follow a normal distribution. Take IQ testing. If you have more persons in a pool, there will be more outliers, including more high IQs. Is anyone going to say, well those high IQs are not really accurate? The greater number of people in the pool has caused IQ inflation? In chess it is different - players are playing against each other and this causes differences in rating. In most other phenomena, subjects are independent of each other. The question still remains - what does the higher number of high ratings mean?

"@fgkdjlkag 8/15/2017 05:03: "about the rating inflation question - it is known that ratings increase when more players are in the pool, independent of computers. What does that mean - is it because more "exchange of knowledge" based on more players causes their chess understanding and play to improve? Or is it "inflation" in that the ability is not more, but the ratings increase? Does anyone know the answer to this question? " Answer: it's the law of large numbers, just by chance it happens. You observe the same thing in a pile of sand (more sand, more outliers or sand a bigger distance from the center). It's simple statistics. "

@J Nayer - you seem to be contradicting yourself. You say: "The riddle concerning rating inflation is simple: no evidence and no rational explanation exists. Rating inflation means that, for some reason, a current rating means less than a historical one. "
Yet you have given a rational explanation: "The much better argument is that ratings have improved because skill has increased." If that is the case, then a current rating does not mean less than a historical one.

You mention"more and better educational treatises, teachers, computers, databases and the like." I re-pose the question I gave earlier: If there is a closed pool of players and suddenly educational treatises, computers, and databases are introduced to all players, what will happen? Will it be as @Kenneth Thomas described with scrabble, that there would be no change to the ratings?
thedarkdanster thedarkdanster 8/16/2017 05:54
In the Kasparov Nepo game Rd 5, is not

38 Rxh7 Kxh7
39 Qxg6+ Kh8
40 Qg8 ++ ???

What am I missing?

turok turok 8/16/2017 04:30
@Petrarlsen I can agree to disagree with you no issue there-here is why I say what I say: SUPER GM: This is a crock!!!!!! This is all my point leads to that back in the day when Fischer was highly rated with others we never called them Super GMs. These players 2700 and up are NOT Super GMs period. That is my entire point. This makes them sound like they are so far above any other GMs of time which is hiogwash. This is why I bring up kasparov who can still play with these so-called super GMs. A super GM to me players who are so good that nothing could stand in their way. That is NOT the case and 2600 GMs can not only draw with them but beat them. That is a fact. The ONLY issue is rarely do these highly rated players play vs lower 2600 or lower players in open turnaments like in the past this is why I talk about inflated ratings. So for me I loathe the Super GM term. There is no such thing as a super GM. A GM is a GM and the criteria for one is what it is and for authors to say this is just bull. I believe the issue is we hand out far to many GM titles. IMO. But it is what it is but just because we water down a GM title doesnt mean to solve it we call the higher rateds SUPER GM because they are NOT!!!!! In the end you are either a GM or you are not. Period.
RayLopez RayLopez 8/16/2017 07:45
@fgkdjlkag 8/15/2017 05:03: "about the rating inflation question - it is known that ratings increase when more players are in the pool, independent of computers. What does that mean - is it because more "exchange of knowledge" based on more players causes their chess understanding and play to improve? Or is it "inflation" in that the ability is not more, but the ratings increase? Does anyone know the answer to this question? " Answer: it's the law of large numbers, just by chance it happens. You observe the same thing in a pile of sand (more sand, more outliers or sand a bigger distance from the center). It's simple statistics.

As for Karpov_1994 > Karpov_1984, could it well be Karpov played better in 1994?! You would have to run his games through Fritz with a strong computer, as CSci researchers have done in the past with masters, to see if the older Karpov played better than the younger Karpov. Peruvian GM Julio Granda Zuniga recently, at nearly 50 yrs old, achieved his all-time high of 2699. It's a fact that today's players are simply better than yesterday's. For example, see all the blunders made by highly regarded masters at the Carlsbad 1911 chess tournament.
cythlord cythlord 8/16/2017 05:19
What about adjournments? 24 hours (or more) of heavy analysis sessions with teams of GMs during a position of a game certainly makes a player much stronger. It's as if a player could suddenly consult a computer in the middle of a game. I don't see why having access to computers, databases etc is advantageous to the adjournment advantage in terms of accurate play. I don't think defense has particularly improved since 30 years, it's simply the fact that the adjournment was banished.
Kenneth Thomas Kenneth Thomas 8/16/2017 03:51
Fischer is not so long ago. With a year to master computers, new opening ideas, and the other developments in chess theory, I think he would still be #1. Do not forget that he outrated #2 Spassky by 125 points when they played for the championship (2785 to 2660). No one since Fischer has led the pack by that much. It is hard to gain rating points when no one is rated anywhere near you. Today there are more than 40 2700 players, so far more points for a dominant player to take from not-quite-as-elite players.

A good contrast can be seen by looking at the National Scrabble Association/North American Scrabble Players Association rating list. In 1990, the top rating was Robert Felt's 2151 after he won the national championship ( Today, the top rating in the NASPA rating list (taken over from NSA) is David Gibson's 2157 ( As you can see from the list, there aren't even 40 players today rated over 2000. After 27 years, there was essentially no change at the top rating point. That is because, unlike chess, it has not had a flood of new players who have made higher ratings mathematically possible.

Consider: According to, it took Karpov 22 years to surpass Fischer's peak rating -- in 1994, 9 years after he had lost the World Championship. I think it is clear that even in that period points were not so easy to come by. And I think he was a better player in 1985 than 1994.

So put me in the camp believes that ratings inflation is real, based on the facts that there are many more good players than in Fischer's time and that they are much closer in rating to the #1 player than in Fischer's era.