Sinquefield 03: Couldn't be better!

by Alejandro Ramirez
8/30/2014 – The Sinquefield Cup simply could not be better... at least this is true for both the spectators and for Fabiano Caruana! With three decisive and exciting games today the action over the board was thrilling in every board. MVL cleanly beat Aronian, Topalov's game against Nakamura could have swung either way at any point while Carlsen's piece sacrifice against Caruana backfired!

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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 Three

Round 03 - August 29, 2014
Topalov, Veselin 2772
1-0
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
1-0
Aronian, Levon 2805
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
0-1
Caruana, Fabiano 2801

When people expected that the tournament could not get any better, we get three decisive games! The round started dull in the first hour, but a prophetic Ben Finegold, who is doing live commentary with me here at Lester's Sports Bar next to the Saint Louis Chess Club, predicted that the players would make the games interesting in the middlegame, one way or another.

And right he was! After another hour of play the games had changed dramatically, although to be fair only in one game it was unclear which player would emerge victorious.

The spectators get a daily "mate in two" puzzle,
if they solve it they can enter a raffle for some prizes

Topalov, Veselin 1-0 Nakamura, Hikaru
A very strange game. Nakamura seemed to be very prepared in this variation of the Archangel Spanish; he followed a game of Caruana's. As soon as Topalov deviated, Nakamura's pieces gained incredible activity. After miscalculating Topalov allowed a beautiful piece sacrifice... but Nakamura missed it! In a very unusual decision Nakamura did not go for the winning complications, and it is unclear what he missed.

After the missed chance chances were even again. In a very complex position and in a key moment Nakakmura miscalculated yet again and he landed in a basically lost position. Topalov, despite being in time pressure, did not forgive and took the full point.

Topalov-Nakamura proved Tartakower's maxim: "The winner of the game
is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake"

Nakamura sported a shirt with an MLS logo, the number 32 and his last name on the back

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 1-0 Aronian, Levon
Aronian chose a new way of playing against the fianchetto Grunfeld that had been tested once before by Hrant Melkumyan. He soon after that made a completely inexplicable decision. He started taking pawn after pawn... but his position was crumbling in front of his eyes! The Armenian emerged up a pawn from the exchanges, but MVL's pair of bishops, open files, clear line of targets plus Aronian's complete lack of development meant that all the Frenchman had to do was play decently good moves to emerge in a winning position that he converted without problems.

MVL checking out the games in one of the many screens showing the games.
This one is in the back of the playing room.

The Frenchman joins Aronian on 2-3rd with 50%

Carlsen, Magnus 0-1 Caruana, Fabiano
A fascinating game! Carlsen's Bishop's Opening did not unsettle Caruana in the least, and he obtained a very comfortable equality before move ten. The game took a drastic turn after that! Carlsen's willing to fight was signalled with his move h3. However this was not very accurate, and Caruana seized the opportunity to gain a small positional advantage... only for Carlsen to sacrifice a piece!

The World Champion already in a difficult position

The sacrifice was not entirely sound, and Caruana responded excellently. His counter-initiative after sacrificing a rook left Carlsen struggling. The World Champion's position fell apart slowly, and although he maintained material parity, it was clear that his king was too weak. A blunder in an already close-to-lost position allowed Caruana to finish off the game.

Despite his loss, Carlsen took his time to give an interview to Norwegian TV

""I couldn't hope for better, especially since I was starting with two Blacks" - Caruana

Caruana on the other hand is the star of the tournament. He now holds the second place in the live rating list quite solidly, he is 1.5 points ahead in the tournament and has been playing unbelievably good chess!

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Commentary provided by Grandmaster Varuzhan Akobian, who is doing live commentary for the Saint Louis Chess Club at the Chess World Hall of Fame accross the street of the tournament site. Commentary thanks to the Saint Louis Chess Club.

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
1-0
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
1-0
Aronian, Levon 2805
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
0-1
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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libyantiger libyantiger 8/31/2014 07:46
and kasparov saying caruana is not improving?
jidzior jidzior 8/31/2014 04:46
In your article you said:

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!

It was not the first Category XXIII tournament. The first one was Zürich 29 01 - 04 02 2014 with - Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Fabiano Caruana (Italy), Boris Gelfand (Israel) and Viswanathan Anand (India) - the world's number 1, 2, 3, 6, 8 and 9 then.

Love your webpage.

Greeting from Canada -

Janusz M. Idzior
sharpnova sharpnova 8/31/2014 10:26
Caruana has a solidity to his play and is improving rapidly.

He's 100 times better at chess than anyone at Chessbase is at reporting it.

For instance he's respectful and Chessbase are a bunch of assholes. Pricks. Arrogant, disrespectful, and childish. (and fairly unintelligent as well)
semprun semprun 8/30/2014 10:44
From the photos can we assume there are few spectators? It is always useful to hold a parallel open with slightly different playing hours....
Pionki Pionki 8/30/2014 09:08
Caruana is poised to be a World Champion. Carlsen will not stay one for too long. It's just a matter of time.
vandal vandal 8/30/2014 08:38
these are great guys and this is my favorite tournament
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