Sinquefield 10: Draws end magnificent event

by Alejandro Ramirez
9/7/2014 – Despite the three relatively short and event-less draws that we saw today in the Sinquefield Cup, the fans have nothing to complain about. The event provided amazing chess and one of the most impressive – if not the most impressive – streak seen in all of chess history. The fight for second was won by Carlsen, who drew Topalov, who clinched third. Final report.

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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 2802, 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 Ten

Round 10 - September 06, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Topalov, Veselin 2772
½-½
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
Aronian, Levon 2805
½-½
Caruana, Fabiano 2801

Martin Habbestad and Kaja Marie Snare from Norwegian TV2. Not only were they some of the hardest working people in the tournament, they were also some of the nicest!

A star-struck fan right before the games start

Harry Benson (left), a Scottish photographer whose pictures have appeared in publications including Life, Vanity Fair, People and The New Yorker. Benson was assigned to travel with The Beatles on their inaugural American tour in 1964. His work following Fischer in his preparation for and during the match with Spassky is currently in exhibition at the World Chess Hall of Fame. Here he is posing with Jeanne Sinquefield.

Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
MVL's Najdorf seemed to completely neutralize Nakamura's attempt to play for a win. The locked position of the board was not favorable for the bishops, but in every variation it seemed that if White abandoned his central blockade the bishops would become too powerful!

MVL's performance was acceptable and the experience he gained invaluable

Eventually, after many trades, the game simply ended in a draw in a queen endgame.

Nakamura reminisces about a tournament that he will learn from and forget about as soon as possible

Topalov, Veselin ½-½ Carlsen, Magnus
Topalov's preparation went awry somewhere, and both Carlsen and Topalov thought that if White pushed further in the final position instead of taking the repetition. A good opening choice by Carlsen, even if the early draw was disappointing for the spectators.

The prize difference between the draw that occured and a win for Topalov was $25,000

Aronian, Levon ½-½ Caruana, Fabiano
White's interesting set-up in the opening was not terribly successful. Aronian blamed his problems on the pawn push h4 and h5, but his position was never truly dangerous. Caruana was happy with tradin off some pieces and going for a drawn double-rook endgame.

Aronian had many difficulties this tournament, and he dropped solidly down to third place

An excited crowd awaited the players hoping to get an autograph...

or a selfie!

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Commentary provided by GM Ben Finegold 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
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
½-½
Topalov, Veselin 2772
Caruana, Fabiano 2801
1-0
Aronian, Levon 2805
Round 05 - August 31, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
0-1
Caruana, Fabiano 2801
Aronian, Levon 2805
0-1
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
Topalov, Veselin 2772
1-0
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Round 06 - September 02, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
½-½
Aronian, Levon 2805
Caruana, Fabiano 2801
1-0
Topalov, Veselin 2772
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Round 07 - September 03, 2014
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
1-0
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
0-1
Caruana, Fabiano 2801
Topalov, Veselin 2772
½-½
Aronian, Levon 2805
Round 08 - September 04, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
0-1
Topalov, Veselin 2772
Aronian, Levon 2805
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Caruana, Fabiano 2801
½-½
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
Round 09 - September 05, 2014
Caruana, Fabiano 2801
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
½-½
Aronian, Levon 2805
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
½-½
Topalov, Veselin 2772
Round 10 - September 06, 2014
Nakamura, Hikaru 2787
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2768
Topalov, Veselin 2772
½-½
Carlsen, Magnus 2877
Aronian, Levon 2805
½-½
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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ElAurens ElAurens 9/14/2014 05:41
The link to "All games in PGN" only has the first 15 games, not all 30 games.
thlai80 thlai80 9/9/2014 04:41
Not even close when you factor out ELO inflation. To simply quote wiki: "The 1994 tournament had an average Elo rating of 2685, the highest ever at that time, making it the first Category XVIII tournament ever held." The participants were world #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #7, #8 and #9! No one rated beyond 2800 at that time. Kasparov hit 2851 only in July 1999. Linares 1994 just like Sinquefield 2014 was the strongest ever tournament of its time. Get your facts right before you subscribe to conspiracy theories, else you are just trolling.
PerfectConscience PerfectConscience 9/8/2014 06:15
What matters in this scenario is the strength of the opposition and the way he crushed it, not to mention the intentional draws in the final rounds. The opposition in the case of Fischer and Karpov were not even close to this one. Caruana needn't necessarily have used an engine himself. He must have had an accomplice among the spectators for instance giving him cues in critical positions.
thlai80 thlai80 9/8/2014 08:45
@PerfectConscience, you can bet Topalov would be the 1st to complain if he ever smell anything computer like. Remember his association with the toilet gate paranoia. If the world best players aren't complaining, why would it takes an average Joe like you to trumpet this? Simply no one buy your idea because FB is certainly capable of such performance. What do you say of Karpov in Linares 94? Computer? What about Carlsen meteoric rise to world #1 back in 1/1/2010 rating list huh? What about his perfect endgames grinding down drawn games to beat the world top #10 players? All computer related? Heck, even for Borislav Ivanov, it is not totally proven and to me is still innocent, although that is an altogether different argument.

If matching computer opening and moves is your criteria of judging computer assistance, Alekhine games probably had beyond 98% match as well during his prime. What made him? Alien? Especially when computer opening books originated from compilation of human games after all! Not to mention Fischer run in candidates 1971 and his perfect run in 1963/64 US championships. So you think Fischer back then probably had a house full of vacuum tube transistors crunching secret moves to him heh?
joachimus joachimus 9/8/2014 12:28
Caruana performance stunning that's true. Against such opponents it's really something extraordinary. I believe it's mix of his form, opponents not at their strongest and sheer will. I'm crossing fingers for Fabiano in near future, though I'm vigorous Magnus fan-let's see what future brings.
darkzam darkzam 9/7/2014 09:13
@PerfectConscience: hey, get a life
KWRegan KWRegan 9/7/2014 08:48
PerfectConscience: these kind of comments are disturbed and disturbing. I hope you appreciate the significance of my saying so. There is absolutely no truth to your examples.

So many games were incredibly absorbing to follow online---this was a great event even apart from the sensational outcome.

I think GM Ramirez meant to say that "...both Nakamura and Aronian were lost /yesterday/"---i.e., in round 9 the day before.
Michael Ogunnira Michael Ogunnira 9/7/2014 08:33
1) Karpov lost the record for the most dominant tournament performance in history (Linares 1994)
2) October 2015 rating
(a) 4th person ever to be rated 2830+
(b) No 3 on Elo rating record - 2836
(c) No 1 & 2 names start with CAR... (Carlsen, Caruana) just like Ka...ov of Kasparov and Karpov in the 80s
(d) No 1 2863 & No 2 2836
(e) First time anyone has surged rapidly like that in the 2800+ club
Congrats Fabiano
pibit3 pibit3 9/7/2014 08:14
Agree pgn games incomplete
fcolonna fcolonna 9/7/2014 07:03
Something wrong with the "All Game PGN" it only contains rounds 1 to 5. Does anyone else have this issue?
Captain Picard Captain Picard 9/7/2014 05:55
Ivanov was rated 2200 when he suddenly started winning every game against GMs rated 500 elo points above him. Caruana was rated 2800 and ranked 3rd in the world before this began and he was playing GM's who were within 50 elo points of his rating. I hope this helps your understand of the situation!
PerfectConscience PerfectConscience 9/7/2014 04:33
Cheating in chess is almost as old as the game itself. Commonly cited instances of cheating include: collusion with spectators or other players, linking to remote computers, rating manipulation, misuse of the touch-move rule, and the pre-arranged draw. (excerpt from wiki)
The first method is a strong candidate in Caruana's case. Many inhuman moves, Na2 against carls, g4 against mvl etc, and as algorithmy2 pointed out, many engine-like moves in the opening itself. Lets not forget the story of Borislav Ivanov. No one can crush a strong field with an avg of 2800 like Caruana did. Mind you. The cat will be out one day.
vincero vincero 9/7/2014 03:21
in life some people are worthless and don't deserve the air they breath.

the person deadbeat-conscience is one of them.
colton colton 9/7/2014 12:18
Caruana won the tournament with a like computer rating. But this is not enough to affirm he is a cheater.
Schaefer12 Schaefer12 9/7/2014 10:45
Yes, wonderful tournement. Thanks to the organizers and the players. Looking forward Caruana playing for the world title.
vandal vandal 9/7/2014 10:06
it was real pleasure thanks
Rinzou Wilkerson Rinzou Wilkerson 9/7/2014 09:32
Caruana should have finished 9.5/10
thlai80 thlai80 9/7/2014 06:43
@PerfectConscience, someone who before this tournament was already world #3 is perfectly possible to win this tournament with such style. If anything, it's a shame that you are unaware of your perfectly flawed conscience.
nginX nginX 9/7/2014 06:41
for your info :

@PerfectConscience, you have to prove you accusations, you're like a tin-can bashing around, or it's envy, whiners is for looses...(like you PerfectConscience)


Caruana is in 2800 League, btw he enter in this tournament with 2801 ELO RATING

http://2700chess.com

CHEER A!@@L, DON'T TELL ME (PerfectConscience) THAT BULLSH1T!!

PerfectConscience PerfectConscience 9/7/2014 05:28
its a shame that the tournament was won by a cheater
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 9/7/2014 05:08
great tournament!
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