Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz LIVE

by Venkatachalam Saravanan
8/14/2018 – Live games and commentary from Saint Louis plus scenes from Friday's opening event, which included the unveiling of a huge banner to commemorate the 1886 World Championship match (pictured) which was played in part in the city. Top class rapid action with Aronian, Caruana, Nakamura, Anand, Karjakin, MVL, So, Mamedyarov, Grischuk and wildcard Dominguez from August 11th to 15th. | Photos: Saint Louis Chess Club / Austin Fuller

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After Leuven and Paris in June 2018, the Grand Chess Tour resumes at the United States of America as the final qualifier Rapid & Blitz event was inaugurated in a brief ceremony at the World Chess Hall of Fame at Saint Louis, the chess capital of the country. This will be followed by the Sinquefield Cup, with the combined standings of all four events deciding on the four qualifiers who will compete at the final event to be held in London during December 2018.

Current standings


Live games and commentary - Day 4

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

All blitz games


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
(Select a video from the playlist menue using the icon in the upper left)

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 Christian Carrillo 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)


Saravanan is an IM from Chennai, the southern-most state of Tamil Nadu, India. He has been an active chess player in the Indian circuit, turning complete chess professional in 2012, actively playing and being a second to strong Indian players. He has been consistently writing on chess since late 1980s and is a correspondent to national newspapers and news channels.
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WildKid WildKid 2 hours ago
The 'current standings' at the top don't seem to include the Rapid scores. Is this intentional? It makes it very difficult to figure out who is winning the tournament as whole.
Bostonian Bostonian 10 hours ago
When is Anand retiring ? When he reaches 2400 ?
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 8/14/2018 10:57
Reminder: in this tournament, rapid time control for the Rapid was 25 minutes plus 10 seconds "delay" per move. For the Blitz 5 minutes for each game with an additional 3 second "delay" per move.

For those wondering about that notion of "delay":

"Increment (also known as Fischer and bonus)—a specified amount of time is added for each move. For example, if the increment is thirty seconds, each player gets an additional thirty seconds for each move. Under FIDE and US Chess rules you get the increment for move one as well. For example, for G/3;inc2 (three minutes of base time with a two-second increment each move), you start with three minutes and two seconds on the first move. Not all digital chess clocks automatically give the increment for move one and thus for those that don't, the increment time has to be added manually to be base time so each player gets the increment for move one.

Bronstein delay—this timing method adds time but unlike increment not always the maximum amount of time is added. If a player expends more than the specified delay, then the entire delay is added to the player's clock but if a player moves faster than the delay, only the exact amount of time expended by the player is added. For example, if the delay is ten seconds and a player uses ten or more seconds for a move, ten seconds is added after they complete their move. If the player uses five seconds for a move, five seconds is added after they complete their move. This ensures that the base time left on the clock can never increase even if a player makes fast moves. As with increment, you get the delay time for move one under FIDE and US Chess rules.

Simple delay (also known as countdown delay and US delay)—with this timing method, the clock waits for the delay period each move before starting to subtract the player's base time. For example, if the delay is ten seconds, the clock waits for ten seconds each move before the base time starts going down. This timing method is mathematically equivalent to Bronstein delay. Simple delay is the form of delay most often used in the US while Bronstein delay is the form of delay most often used in most other countries." (From:
strobane strobane 8/14/2018 08:14
Where's the World Champion? Saving his rating points?
alexchilton alexchilton 8/14/2018 09:41
Looks like shak anand is a draw on yours but everywhere else shak win...
macauley macauley 8/12/2018 09:33
The current standings are now at the top of the article, with links to all results. A full report will follow.
Aighearach Aighearach 8/12/2018 04:16
OK, the tournament began, and in round 3 Caruana got a win. What happened in rounds 1 and 2?