The Sinquefield Cup - Final results / standings

by ChessBase
8/27/2018 – Live games and commentary from Saint Louis! Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian tied for first place, while Caruana also tied for fourth place in the Grand Chess Tour standings with Wesley So, forcing a playoff match to be held on Tuesday. | Graphic: Saint Louis Chess Club

The Vienna Variation - a reliable and ambitious weapon against 1.d4 The Vienna Variation - a reliable and ambitious weapon against 1.d4

The Vienna Variation is a particular and independent system of the Queen's Gambit. It arises after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4, when Black's capture on move 4 is strongly reminiscent of the Queen's Gambit Accepted.


The Sinquefield Cup has three winners

Press release

The tradition of no repeat winners in the Sinquefield Cup ended in the most unexpected fashion. At the end of the day, there were three winners! Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian tied for first place, while Caruana also tied for fourth place in the Grand Chess Tour standings with Wesley So. According to the rules, one of the players would have to be eliminated by a drawing of lots in a three-way tie, meaning that Caruana could potentially play two tiebreaks: One for the Sinquefield Cup and another for the Grand Chess Tour. The three players decided that they would rather share the title than have one of the players eliminated from participating in playoffs due to random chance.

Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave qualified for the Grand Chess Tour Finals, while Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So will battle it out, Tuesday, for their ticket to the finale in London.

Grand Chess Tour final standings

Grand Chess Tour final standings

Round 9 round-up

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Full report on round nine...

World Champion Magnus Carlsen, as wildcard, joins nine of the world's best players for the annual Sinquefield Cup at the Saint Louis Chess Club from August 18th to 27th. This year the Grand Chess Tour is slated to hold a final for the top four players, who will face off in a mini-knockout tournament in London in December, and the Sinquefield is the last chance for players to qualify (Carlsen is ineligible). In addition to tour points the prize fund is $300,000, with $75,000 for 1st place.

Players receive 100 minutes for 40 moves then 60 minutes for the rest of the game plus a 30-second delay from move 1. In the event of a tie for first place there will be a two-game rapid mini-match (10 min + 5 sec delay) between the top two finishers (on tiebreak points), and if necessary an Armageddon game (5 vs. 4) on August 28th.

Final Sinquefield Cup standings


Round 9 games and commentary


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

Round 8 round-up

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Round 1 Round-up

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GM Simon Williams presents the highlights of the day

The Opening Ceremony

In advance of the first round on Saturday, the players are once again welcomed at an opening ceremony at the World Chess Hall of Fame beginning at 6 pm local time (CDT) or 1:00 AM Saturday morning CEST (23:00 UT).

Live from the World Chess Hall of Fame

Ultimate Moves

The now-traditional exhibition match pits Saint Louis Chess Club founder Rex Sinquefield against his son Randy, with each player will alternating moves with a team of Grandmasters. Rex and Randy begin the game with the first five moves before being replaced by a GM from their "bench". The players continue to rotate every five moves. There will be six games in total, where each side has 5 minutes plus 5 seconds per move.

All games and commentary


After Leuven and Paris in June 2018, the Grand Chess Tour resumes in the USA with two tournaments: The Rapid & Blitz event was inaugurated in a brief ceremony at the World Chess Hall of Fame at Saint Louis last Friday. This will be followed by the Sinquefield Cup. The combined standings of all four events determine the four qualifiers who will compete at a final event to be held in London this December.

GCT standings after Rapid and Blitz

standings after STL Rapid and Blitz

Final standings - Blitz


All games and commentary - Day 5

The final two days are a blitz double round-robin, with 18 rounds of 5 minutes per game with a 3-second delay per move.


Commentary by Yasser Seirawan, Maurice Ashley and Jennifer Shahade

Rapid final standings


All games and commentary

The Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz is the third stage of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour. The 10-player tournament takes place in the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis from August 11th to 15th with Aronian, Caruana, Nakamura, Anand, Karjakin, MVL, So, Mamedyarov, Grischuk and wildcard Dominguez participating and a prize fund up for grabs of $150,000, including $37,500 for first place. The rapid tournament is a single round-robin with three rounds played each day for three days at a time control of 25 minutes for all moves and a 10-second delay from the first move. Rapid games count double, with 2 points for a win and 1 for a draw.


Commentary by Yasser Seirawan, Maurice Ashley and Jennifer Shahade
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Meet me in St. Louis

by V. Saravanan

Standings table

Combined standings of the Grand Chess Tour after Paris and Leuven

The Rapid event will be 25 minutes plus 10 seconds delay per move for each game, with a win being awarded 2 points and 1 for a draw. The Blitz event will be a 5 minutes for each game with an additional 3 second delay per move, with 1 point for a win and ½ point for a draw. The combined standing will be decided by the cumulative points scored from both the events. (Remember that the GCT uses a the time ‘delay’ instead of the time ‘addition’ — the format common all over the world — the timing mode prevalent in the USA.

All the nine players from the tour events are joined by a wildcard, the Cuban Leinier Dominguez, in the Rapid & Blitz event. The drawing of lots for the event was held in the presence of all the players except for Alexander Grischuk, who could not arrive in time due to a delayed flight.


Lenier Domingues draws his pairing number on Friday | Photo: V.Saravanan

So, Anand, Aronian

After the Paris leg of the Grand Chess Tour, Wesley So leads the table with 21 points, closely followed by Nakamura at 20 and Karjakin at 19. But with many more points up for grabs at the Sinquefield Cup which follows the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, the next 18 days will decide the top four of the Tour and who will proceed to London for the finals in December.

The inauguration was held in the relaxed and casual atmosphere of World Chess Hall of Fame, with Maurice Ashley’s typical banter describing the participants of the event. As he teased Levon Aronian being among the 'Gentleman Jokers in chess', Levon had his comeback with, "I hope I will be the Villain in the tournament!"

Opening ceremony

Replay the entire 50 minutes of the opening ceremony and drawing of lots

Goings on about town

Rex Sinquefield

Without a doubt, the central figure of the evening was Rex Sinquefield, who has singlehandedly turned Saint Louis into one of the best cities for chess all over the world. For the USA, he is undoubtedly the godfather for the game, his Saint Louis Chess Club playing host for about ten major events every year.

It was revealed by the Saint Louis County Executive County Executive, Steve Stenger, in his remarks that the US Championships held in March 2018 alone generated more than 1 million US$ for the local economy!

With characteristic enthusiasm and sense of history, Sinquefield had unveiled a banner at the ‘Butler Brothers’ building the previous day, commemorating the 1886 World Chess Championship that had a stop in Saint Louis.

[Rex Sinquefield | Photo: Saint Louis Chess Club /  Austin Fuller]

There are several attractions at Saint Louis apart from the event itself, the Chess Hall of Fame currently hosting the exhibitions ‘Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London’ and ‘Grand Chess Tour: Art of Chess 2018’. (As the event moves on, I will hopefully be able to bring more visuals from these beautiful exhibitions).

Hungarian Chess Men

Hungarian Chess Men — an intricate metal and enamel work, from the early 20th century | Photos: V.Saravanan)

The usual high-quality team of Yasser Seirawan, Maurice Ashley and Jennifer Shahade will host the English live commentary, along with Alejandro Ramirez and Cristian Chirila at the venue, and the formidable duo of Evgeny Miroshnichenko and Peter Svidler handling newly added Russian commentary. Ashley quipped that Svidler was capable of moving over and joining the players' side of the table!

The drawing of lots determined the pairings for the first round (lot numbers in parentheses)

  1. Karjakin (1) – Aronian (10)
  2. Dominquez (2) – Vachier-Lagrave (9)
  3. Anand (3) – Nakamura (8)
  4. So (4) – Mamadyarov (7)
  5. Grischuk (5) – Caruana (6)


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