Showdown in St. Louis

10/15/2015 – American chess is getting stronger and is on the rise. This fall, Grandmasters Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana, the top two players in the United States, will visit the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) and compete in a series of games over four days: Thursday, November 12 through Sunday, November 15. Press release.

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America’s Best Set to Compete in Exhibition Games in Saint Louis

Hikaru Nakamura in Zürich 2015 (Photo: Eteri Kublashvili)

Fabiano Caruana at the Sinquefield Cup 2014 (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

“The Saint Louis Chess Club always seeks to find innovative and exciting events to host. With players like Nakamura and Caruana, spectators should expect fireworks over the board,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the CCSCSL. 

Featured exhibition matches will include:

●        4 games Fischer Random (Chess 960) at G/20 + 10 seconds/p>

●        4 games Rapid Chess at G/15 + 10 seconds

●        8 games Blitz Chess at G/3 + 2 seconds

●        And more to come!

All All games count towards the final score with a win counting as 1 point, a draw as a ½ point and a loss as 0 points. Players will be competing for $100,000 in prizes.

Former Women’s World Champion, GM Hou Yifan and GM Parimarjan Negi will also square off, following the same format. Hailing from China, 21-year-old Hou Yifan is the strongest active female player in the world; she is the only female currently ranked in the top 100. Indian GM Negi, at 22 years old, is a former Asian continental champion and currently attends Stanford University.

Hou Yifan (Photo: Anastasiya Kharlovich)

ChessBase author Parimarjan Negi

Each game of the exhibition matches will feature live commentary from GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Jennifer Shahade and GM Maurice Ashley. The event will be streamed live via Join us Thursday, November 12 through Sunday, November 15  to watch these champions battle it out.

For more information, visit or please contact:

Nicole Halpin

About The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures./p>

RRecognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit

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dysanfel dysanfel 10/18/2015 12:16
What an AMAZING idea!!! Thank you Rex!!!
genem genem 10/17/2015 09:23
@drgibbon 2015/Oct/17 wrote:
{the whole point is to nullify book learning, and just see who can come up with the best ideas (and execution) over the board.}
You and I agree that it was Bobby Fischer's point to eliminate all at-home preparation of variations for the Opening phase.
But the other 6 billion people on Earth can each decide for themselves what the best way is to grow chess beyond just the one deeply analyzed traditional start setup.
I take the perspective of the fable - Goldilocks and the Three Bears:
(A) Super Deep Vertical Learning - is too deep: Today's massive tomes of opening books and databases where all ongoing improvements are really in the middlegame phase rather than in the opening phase.
(B) No Vertical Learning - is too shallow: Fischer Random Chess (FRC-chess960) with full Random as practiced in Mainz in the 2000's, and as envisioned by Fischer.
(C) Moderate Vertical Learning - is just right: Simply pick on non-traditional setup from FRC and stick with it for a decade or however long.
* Imagine the theoretical debates about early branches in variations.
* Imagine watching those debates tested and answered by rated grandmaster games you can watch live on the web.
* Imagine if 150 years ago you could have somehow watched say the Sicilian Defense idea be proposed, tried, retested, and refined - all over a period of merely 12-18 months.
Until the chess world repeatedly reuses one specific non-traditional start setup, basic things about chess like Reuben Fine's 1-9 opening principles remain untested.
Indeed I strongly suspect that at least a couple of Fine's opening principles will be found to not be principles of the opening phase at all. Instead they will be exposed to be merely esoteric tactical considerations highly dependent on the traditional setup.
fons fons 10/17/2015 05:13
Also strange that they invite Negi who's (temporarily?) quit his chess career to study at Stanford. There are no other players to invite who are at least still trying to make a living from chess?
drgibbon drgibbon 10/17/2015 02:54
@genem That was Kasparov's idea back when chess960 was new (i.e. pick a position and play it for a year or two). But the whole point is to nullify book learning, and just see who can come up with the best ideas (and execution) over the board. If you want to take that out of it, we can just go with regular chess which is vast enough already. The idea of chess960 is not to generate "vertical growth" and try to solve anything, it's to have a pure over the board fight.
DJones DJones 10/16/2015 08:26
Of course they are focusing on classical for the bulk of the time though now that I hear blindfold will be part of this too, I am becoming intrigued.
tigerprowl2 tigerprowl2 10/16/2015 07:40
They should be focusing on classical chess if they want to become world champs.
fons fons 10/16/2015 04:11
From a sporting perspective I think it would be more interesting to have the blitz games only count for half of the other time controls, and not just because Nakamura is assumed to be the better blitz player.

Also what happened to 25 or 30 minute rapid? These 15 minute games are more like glorified blitz games.
Rinzou Wilkerson Rinzou Wilkerson 10/16/2015 07:25
ex0: Mariya Muzychuk is the current Women's World Champion.

DJones is right. Caruana has no chance against Nakamura. Only in classical chess.
Vam Vam 10/16/2015 02:40
Im a little disappointed.

I was hoping this was going to be like Nakamura Aronian last year, with 2 long games and a bunch of blitz games, but it looks like that wont be it.
glider1 glider1 10/16/2015 01:01
Wonderful to see Naka playing Chess960 again! I pity Caruana who I don't think has any experience at it? Really impressed that he is going to give it a go against the 960 world champ. Shows he is not afraid to try new things.
ex0 ex0 10/15/2015 11:11
"Former Womens WC Hou Yifan"? I forgot that she 'lost' it.

Who's the current WC again? Ushenina? haha i don't even keep track because it's clear that Hou Yifan is clearly the strongest womens player, not just in rating, but also in match play.
anonimous anonimous 10/15/2015 11:07
I agree with Djones, it won't be as good a match as the classical ratings suggests. Caruana is known to be weaker than his 2800-fellows in blitz games, while Nakamura is renowned to be extremely strong - and the 8 blitz games are *half* the match.
I'm not as sure as you are about chess960 - yes, Nakamura won the Mainz tournament a few years ago, but we I can't recall Caruana ever playing such a tourney... he may be extremely strong there as well.
Naida Fabi Naida Fabi 10/15/2015 11:01
OMG!!! Yifan!!! We are so there!!!
DJones DJones 10/15/2015 09:18
Fabiano doesn't stand a chance. Come on. I like the concept of a duel between thiese two in classical chess where they are evenly matched but Fabiano is a good bit younger and has higher upside. Nakamura is just in a different universe in irregular positions (960) and in blitz. He could wash Fabiano in blitz completely. Like 7-1.
genem genem 10/15/2015 07:32
The Fischer Random Chess will be especially interesting. Naka was the reigning FRC (a.k.a. chess960) champion in Mainz when the Great Recession hit and sponsorship money dried up for what had been annual tournaments. (I think Alexandra Kosteniuk was the reigning Women's FRC champ.)
The FRC games would be more interesting if Rex would select and pre-announce exactly one non-standard start setup to be used in all the FRC games: in effect, better to...
** "Discard the 'Random' from Fischer Random Chess!" **
Discarding the 'Random' will enable a vertical growth of more meaningful knowledge.
Keeping the 'Random', as Hans-Walter Schmitt did all those years in Mainz ( proved that the 'Random' leads only to an ever growing sprawl of shallow of miscellaneous info bits, each bit about a different setup: No vertical learning occurs.
What would be the best non-traditional start setup from FRC to reuse a lot? The best might be a setup that leads to a higher rate of opposite-wing castlings by the two colors. With the traditional setup, the rate is a low 10%.
ff2017 ff2017 10/15/2015 03:51
Wow, I'm even more impressed that Hou Yifan is participating than with the Nakamura vs. Caruana showdown.

I wonder if she will take the time to check out US Campuses for potential master degree programs.