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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badibadibadi badibadibadi 8/16/2017 02:49
Kasparov should come back to classical chess not rapid and blitz. Anand did great in classical and it is the other way around in rapid
koko48 koko48 8/16/2017 01:33
For us Kings Indian players - and those who appreciate the opening - that was an excellent and quite vigorous KID played by Nakamura vs Navara Round 6

The final move was of course 71...Ke3 (not ...Ke5)
J Nayer J Nayer 8/16/2017 01:18
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. Which reason? Rating inflation assumes that it is possible to reliably compare between current and historical ratings. How? Arpad Elo did not believe it was possible. Not even Sonas claims this.

That the number of players with very high ratings has increased over time is not proof. It is only stating what needs to be explained. The view that ratings of very high rated players are inflated because they only play one another is both empirically incorrect and tautological.

The much better argument is that ratings have improved because skill has increased. It would be extremely bizarre if increasing skill does not correlate with more opportunities, more players, more and better educational treatises, teachers, computers, databases and the like. All the rest is paranoid hogwash about an elite that divides precious rating points among itself.

A simple computer-based method, similar to Bratko’s, would disprove this stupid thesis once and for all. We use, say, the 3 strongest chess programs. We select a representative sample of elite historical and current chess games. We use the difference of position values resulting from played moves and moves chosen by each of the programs. We compare the average numbers of errors and attach a weight factor. We exclude opening moves. The test would show that contemporary super grandmasters are stronger than any of their illustrious predecessors. Such test would indeed not only measure for strength, but also for how computer-like moves are. The fact that current programs play at a level of 3.300 elo or so makes this argument more or less nonsensical. Surely, if Carlsen or Kramnik cannot pull it off, neither would Capablanca. Or are these computer ratings also “inflated”?

What anyone believes or disbelieves or thinks or feels is uninteresting. Provide a logical explanation and, if possible, proof. In the meantime, stop ranting.
Masquer Masquer 8/16/2017 01:17
@dumkof, why do you insist there is no ratings inflation, when it's obvious there is such. Just look at players who have "maintained" a high rating thru many decades: Korchnoi, Nunn and others like them, despite an obvious decline in playing ability.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/16/2017 01:06
@ fgkdjlkag : "The talk about Kasparov being better than anand after just 3 rounds is premature." Drawing final conclusions on this theme would be quite obviously completely premature, but not discussing it. It at least seems obvious, for the moment, that Anand isn't clearly better that Kasparov in rapid games ; we will see in the next days what will happen between these two players... As for me, I find this theme quite interesting, and I follow closely the comparative progression of these two players in this tournament.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 8/15/2017 05:03
The talk about Kasparov being better than anand after just 3 rounds is premature. More data points are needed (regardless of what the next rounds show).

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?

Also, what happens in a closed pool if chess computers are suddenly available for the first time? For a player to gain points, someone else must lose points, so it seems that the ratings of this group (compared to a mirror image group without computers), would not reflect their increased chess ability, which would be demonstrated if the 2 groups then mixed and played each other?
dumkof dumkof 8/15/2017 01:04
@ Leonin, thanks for your first reply.

@ Turok, don't insult anyone here! You still insist on the "overrated" thing. There is nothing like "rating inflation". if a 2600 player beats the 2800 player, this doesn't mean that the 2800 player is overrated. These 2800 players have all passed through the weaker amateur pools, 2400, 2600 pools etc, and their ratings are well deserved. Believe in numbers and the Elo system a bit! It's not a perfect system but there hasn't been a better one.
Your arguments (on "overrated players and inflation" and comparing players of different eras etc.) are all speculative things and far from objectivity.
leonin leonin 8/15/2017 11:01

Of course, Fischer with a computer might be stronger than, for example, Carlsen, but the fact is he didn't have one. And it seems quite obvious to me that someone like Carlsen benefits from computers and databases relatively more than an average club player - hence the "inflation".
thirteen thirteen 8/15/2017 09:41
@jonkm I DO think that having access to millions of games makes players, of all ratings, very much stronger - and in so many ways too. Opening knowledge, middle-games strategies and tactics, endgame abilities both general and specific, all benefit very greatly from a serious approach to the looking at and study of them. They are both entertaining and progressively improving by every nature of them. Talent is an entirely separate issue of emotions and form that varies with age and not least, dozens of other early-life associations and later daily input impacts. I might almost say that the 'necessity' of this sort of 'schooling' cannot be underestimated within every practical chess players life-time! Indeed I once heard it said that 'one life-time' isn't enough for the viewing of the games of this lovely board game of ours. Just my own opinion.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/15/2017 08:02
@ turok : "if he was that strong pre computers imagine with that nowadays". Yes, obviously, Fischer would be even stronger, practically speaking, with computers, nowadays.

As for the 2700+ players, I've already answered to you with much details elsewhere (for example, there :

For example, the last Gibraltar open show the exact opposite : the 2700+ GM obtain, collectively, quite the expected results against the MI, 2500+ GM, and 2600+ GM.

As for Hou Yifan, the answer seems to me to be simple : she is now very close from 2700, and she is very probably on her way to become very quickly herself a 2700+ GM. It's as simple as that ! And, if you take, for example, the Biel tournament that Hou Yifan won, her best opponents, Navara and Harikirishna, where only 71 points above her ; it isn't uncommon at all, for a "quickly ascending player", to win a tournament against players rated less thant 75 points above himself or herself. It isn't at all as if a 2600 GM won a tournament in front of a 2800 GM !
turok turok 8/15/2017 06:33
@ Petrarlsen per fischer-I am not saying about comparing rating systems what I am saying is it is common sense that if he was that strong pre computers imagine with that nowadays that is all. I do not think it takes a bunch of calulation of any sort to do it. As per kasparov. You are comparing him to an older player. My point is NOT that the younger players are not strong. of course they are but IMO the ratings being so high are inflated that is all. These so called super GMs just always play each other basically swapping pints back and forth. if they constantly played in bigger tourneys with 2400 thru 2600 type players they would lose more thus lose more points or at worst draw many more games to lower rated players which in hand would stabalize the inflated scores. But when the top players never face lowers that means they never lose big points. Look at what happens when former WGM plays vs them she gets wins and draws and she is under 2700. if that happened on a more consistent basis she would get more points from them thus their rating goes down.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/15/2017 02:25
@ jonkm : "I don't think that players having "access to millions of games" makes them stronger. Computers have helped to uncover some new opening and middlegame ideas." I think it all depends on what you call "becoming stronger". To memorize new opening and middlegame ideas, for practical purposes, means to be "stronger". Obviously, not : "more intelligent", but, in front of a chessboard, practically stronger.

"Their talent is the same" : Yes, but with the same talent, if you exploit new ideas, you will be practically stronger... Capablanca (with the opening knowledge that he had at the time) would have a very hard time in the opening against Kramnik, simply because Kramnik would use all the present-days computer lines that he memorized (and invented, with computer help), not because Kramnik's talent is greater than Capablanca's talent on the board.

For me, it is quite simple : with exactly the same talent, a younger player will always be stronger than an older player (perhaps a little, perhaps more than that, depending in particular on the distance in time between the two players), because he has access to a knowledge that didn't exist at the time of the older player.
mburch1974 mburch1974 8/15/2017 02:16
I want to see a Kasparov Carlsen match
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/15/2017 02:12
@ turok : What you say doesn't explain why Kasparov, who was a little better than Anand before he retired, still seems to be (...we will see in the rest of this tournament...) a little better than Anand now, Anand being still completely active, quite high in rating (in "classical" rating, he didn't lost much points since his peak), and significantly younger than Kasparov.

My theory is that, rather surprisingly, in fact, Kasparov didn't lost much in level from before to after his retirement period... this seems to me a much more coherent explanation than to say that "the young players are not good at all" ; Anand isn't at all a young player, and played many, many games against Kasparov, and Kasparov still seems to fare better than him...

As for the comparison with Fischer, I am no mathematician, but, from all that I read on the subject, ratings can only be used to compare players from the same period, so it isn't really possible to use them to compare Fischer to modern-day players...
jonkm jonkm 8/15/2017 01:48
I don't think that players having "access to millions of games" makes them stronger. Computers have helped to uncover some new opening and middlegame ideas. I actually don't think humans are any stronger now than 30 or 60 years ago. Their talent is the same, but, the fact that there are more players in the pool means their are more high-rated players.
turok turok 8/15/2017 01:44
@ Petrarlsen I do agree with you that he is a plyer of today which for what that means to me is the COMPUTER AGE where players have had the use of computers which has allowed them to have a huge advantage for preparation compared to the days of the past Pre-Computer. However he is still way older and if these young bucks with these oh so inflated ratings cannot take him out that just shows IMO that these guys are only as good as their computers. I have never seen kasparov as the best ever because he had the days of the computer. One thing I prove my declaration of overrated or inflated is take Fischer: His highest rating nearly got him to 2800 and that was without!!!!!!!!! a dang computer. So this tells me just common sense wise that if he had computers back then heck hed have hit 2900+ near 3000. he is ONLY 1 example. So the theory of players now being better than the past is insane.
turok turok 8/15/2017 01:30
dumkof your name says it all sorry
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/15/2017 01:29
@ turok : What I meant in the first paragraph of my last comment to you is that Kasparov isn't a player of the past playing today, but - as he certainly prepared quite specifically for this tournament - he is also completely a player of today. The only surprising thing is that age doesn't really seems to have significant effects on him (cf. his results compared to Anand's results...).
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/15/2017 01:24
@ turok : Knowing Kasparov's intense will to win, he has certainly prepared very seriously for this event, so he is quite simply, in fact, a top-player playing against other top-players... nothing extraordinary about it...

What is for the moment quite interesting to follow, in my opinion, is that he seems to fare better than Anand, who hasn't retired, and who is 6 years younger than Kasparov. If this trend continues, it would be quite significant (and, as for me, a little surprising, in a way), because, yes, Anand was certainly a little weaker than Kasparov, but not very much, and to see a retired and "old" Kasparov beat a still completely active and "less old" Anand is a little strange ; is it that the years haven't the same effect on Kasparov that on "normal people" ???
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 8/15/2017 01:13
@ ChessBase : I am quite surprised to see that, today, you use the "classical" (and meaningless, for such events) ratings ; for the last Rapid and Blitz tournaments, you used the appropriated Rapid and Blitz ratings, and this gave very interesting results... For example, I would be extremely interested to know Kasparov's performance in this tournament (...and, for the moment, I haven't time to calculate it myself...) ; Kasparov's performance calculated with the "classical" ratings hasn't any meaning whatsoever...
Thesandman Thesandman 8/15/2017 12:36
The top 50 players of today are much much stronger than 20, 30 or 40 years ago. There is much more competition now. All players have access to millions of games, kids have access to world class trainers, and databases. In addition, engines have made openings almost irrelevant at the highest levels
leonin leonin 8/15/2017 12:33

Also the discrepancy between the top ones and the average might be much bigger (because of extensive use of computer analysis and preparation).
drcloak drcloak 8/15/2017 12:03
@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.
dumkof dumkof 8/14/2017 11:27
Turok, there is no "overrated" player at this high level. Their ratings are well cooked, after hundreds/thousands of rated games.

There is no "rating inflation" either. The top 100 players of today are simply much stronger than those of 20-30 years ago.
turok turok 8/14/2017 09:09
so the player who played in the world championship takes a draw from kasparov and aging former world champion. yes I know I will hear how good he still is etc but the tournament right now will show what I have been saying about overrated players etc. Lets see how it all plays out. Should be fun.