Sinquefield 02: Exciting games all around

by Alejandro Ramirez
8/29/2014 – It's a good day in chess when the least shocking game of the day was the duel between Carlsen and Nakamura, a game that was hard-fought and ended in a perpetual check! Caruana wins his second game in a row with great preparation against an unlucky MVL, while Aronian's exchange 'sacrifice' was too much for Topalov to handle; without the initiative the Bulgarian simply collapsed.

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2014 Sinquefield Cup

This super-GM double round robin tournament is being played from August 27th to September 7th. It is billed as the strongest tournament in the history of chess.

The players – Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Fabiano Caruana (Italy), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) – are the world's number 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and 9, the average rating is 2801, making this the first ever Category XXIII tournament!

The prize fund is US $315,000 in total, with the winner getting $100,000, the runner up $75,00, and the rest $50,000 – $20,000. The venue is the Chess Club and Scholastic Center at 4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108. Tickets cost $15 per round, $65 for five rounds and $100 for all ten rounds.

Round Two

Round 02 - August 28, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
½-½
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
Caruana, Fabiano 2801
1-0
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Aronian, Levon 2805
1-0
Topalov, Veselin 2772

Saint Louis is back to being hot, hot hot! It isn't just the weather - which improved immensely from yesterday - but the games are as good as one can ask for from any tournament!

Surprisingly, this was not the game of the day

Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ Carlsen, Magnus
A tense struggle! If anyone had shown the position on the board to a grandmaster after only 15 moves, the logical thing to say would be that it was a King's Indian and the colors had been reversed accidentally! Nakamura opened the position before his kingside was in danger, but Black retained an annoying initiative. Carlsen sacrificed a pawn, which was declined, but his structure suffered because of it. Before he got in any trouble Carlsen sacrificed a piece for a perpetual check and the draw was sealed.

Nakamura focusing before his usual grudge-match. Carlsen said some not-so-nice things about his opponent before the tournament on Norwegian television.

Carlsen's choice of opening was unsual, but it worked out

Both sides followed an old game for a while
between two famous players, Sax and Smyslov

Caruana, Fabiano 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
What a preparation! Caruana's fabulous theoretical idea, that he had prepared against Mamedyarov and caught MVL with by accident, proved to be too complicated for the Frenchman to figure out over the board. Down on time and without any clear path one bad move was all it took for Black to go down in flames. A must see game!

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was not pleased to fall into prep

Aronian, Levon 1-0 Topalov, Veselin
An exciting game. Topalov seized the initiative from the get-go but Aronian's (unplanned?) exchange sacrifice proved to be difficult to refute in a practical game. The Bulgarian lost his footing surprisingly quickly, and with strange time management and some weird defensive moves he found himself in a difficult situation. That being said, his decision to castle long into the line of fire was difficult to understand, and it basically lost him the game only a few moves later.

The start of a strange but exciting game

Aronian played great... after losing an exchange!

Topalov is on 0.0/2, but his spirits are high

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Standings

Photos by Lennart Ootes

Pairings

Round 01 - August 27, 2014
Aronian, Levon 2805
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
Topalov, Veselin 2772
0-1
Caruana, Fabiano 2801
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
½-½
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
Round 02 - August 28, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
½-½
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
Caruana, Fabiano 2801
1-0
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Aronian, Levon 2805
1-0
Topalov, Veselin 2772
Round 03 - August 29, 2014
Topalov, Veselin 2772   Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768   Aronian, Levon 2805
Carlsen, Magnus 2877   Caruana, Fabiano 2801
Round 04 - August 30, 2014
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768   Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
Carlsen, Magnus 2877   Topalov, Veselin 2772
Caruana, Fabiano 2801   Aronian, Levon 2805
Round 05 - August 31, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787   Caruana, Fabiano 2801
Aronian, Levon 2805   Carlsen, Magnus 2877
Topalov, Veselin 2772   Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Round 06 - September 02, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787   Aronian, Levon 2805
Caruana, Fabiano 2801   Topalov, Veselin 2772
Carlsen, Magnus 2877   Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Round 07 - September 03, 2014
Carlsen, Magnus 2877   Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768   Caruana, Fabiano 2801
Topalov, Veselin 2772   Aronian, Levon 2805
Round 08 - September 04, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787   Topalov, Veselin 2772
Aronian, Levon 2805   Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Caruana, Fabiano 2801   Carlsen, Magnus 2877
Round 09 - September 05, 2014
Caruana, Fabiano 2801   Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
Carlsen, Magnus 2877   Aronian, Levon 2805
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768   Topalov, Veselin 2772
Round 10 - September 06, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787   Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Topalov, Veselin 2772   Carlsen, Magnus 2877
Aronian, Levon 2805   Caruana, Fabiano 2801

Games start at 2 p.m. local time (21:00h CEST, 23:00h Moscow, Thursday 0:30 New Delhi, 04:00h Tokyo, 05:00 Canberra – check your location here).

Playoffs, if necessary, will be on the 7th at noon.

The games will be broadcast live on Playchess, with expert analysis (see schedule below).

Broadcast Schedule

Day Date Time Event
Playchess commentary
Wednesday Aug. 27 2 PM Round 1
Simon Williams
Thursday Aug. 28 2 PM Round 2
Simon Williams
Friday Aug. 29 2 PM Round 3
Simon Williams
Saturday Aug. 30 2 PM Round 4
Simon Williams
Sunday Aug. 31 2 PM Round 5
Simon Williams
Monday Sept. 1 Rest Day
Tuesday Sept. 2 2 PM Round 6
Daniel King
Wednesday Sept. 3 2 PM Round 7
Simon Williams
Thursday Sept. 4 2 PM Round 8
Daniel King
Friday Sept. 5 2 PM Round 9
Simon Williams
Saturday Sept. 6 2 PM Round 10
Chris Ward
Sunday Sept. 7 12 PM Playoffs
 

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Topics: Sinquefield Cup

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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Wallace Howard Wallace Howard 8/29/2014 07:58
very enjoyable games and commentary.
Keep it up Alejandro!
Joseph Goldstein Joseph Goldstein 8/29/2014 11:27
Aroian according to Giri comes prepped with semi correct ideas. I think this game was a good example.
Pentium Infinite Pentium Infinite 8/29/2014 10:28
ok
Pentium Infinite Pentium Infinite 8/29/2014 10:26
ok
vandal vandal 8/29/2014 03:44
Aronian was lucky that game i think big castle was losing he simply wanted to save one tempo for bringing the rook on d8 the key here was to block the pawn structure probably for this he played 20...Qe6 instead Qb4+ to block on f5 Aronian moves were obvious i bet he didn't saw the exchange sacrifice go Vesko you can do it:)
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