Sinquefield Cup: Warming up

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/22/2023 – Balanced, well-played games were seen on all five boards in the first round of the Sinquefield Cup. Leinier Dominguez was the one closest to getting a win on Tuesday, as he put pressure on top seed Fabiano Caruana with the black pieces. In the fight for the Candidates spots still up for grabs, a crucial encounter will be seen in round 2, when Alireza Firouzja will have the white pieces against Anish Giri. | Photo: Crystal Fuller

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Five draws

The last elite (individual) tournament in the chess circuit before the Sinquefield Cup was the FIDE Grand Swiss, a massive event which saw players fighting to get two spots in the 2024 Candidates. Since it was not a closed tournament, the grandmasters had to adapt their strategies according to their situation in the standings and, of course, who was their opponent.

In Saint Louis, we have now returned to a round-robin format, in which players get to show deep preparation, specifically fine-tuned for each of their opponents. Naturally, more tense — albeit balanced — games are produced under these circumstances.

Round 1 of the Sinquefield Cup was a perfect example of this phenomenon, with players showing deep theoretical knowledge, which led to a few quiet draws and a couple of tense struggles with one side trying to make the most of a small positional edge.

In the end, all five games ended drawn. The one player who got to put pressure on his opponent for an extended amount of time was Leinier Dominguez, who had the black pieces against rating favourite Fabiano Caruana.In the fight for the Candidates spots still up for grabs, a crucial encounter will be seen in the second round, when Alireza Firouzja will play white against Anish Giri.Leinier Dominguez, Fabiano Caruana

Leinier Dominguez facing Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Giri ½ - ½ Duda

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

Anish Giri

Anish Giri | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Game analysis by Robert Ris

All games


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.