Caruana beats Rapport, wins Sinquefield Cup for a third time

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/1/2023 – With a final-round win over Richard Rapport, Fabiano Caruana secured tournament victory at the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis. This was Caruana’s third victory in this event, as he had previously won it in 2014 (when he famously grabbed seven wins in a row) and in 2018. Sole second place went to Leinier Dominguez, who drew Levon Aronian with the black pieces on Thursday. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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“I was so nervous during this game”

Fabiano CaruanaDespite having collected success after success during an illustrious, lengthy chess career, Fabiano Caruana confessed that he was very nervous during his final-round Sinquefield Cup game against RIchard Rapport. The 30-year-old scored a convincing win to claim his third victory in this event. In the Sinquefield Cup, he had previously stunned the chess world by winning seven games in a row in 2014 and tied for first with Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian in 2018.

Caruana is having a great year, with classical wins at the Superbet tournament in Romania and at the U.S. Championship, not to mention his strong showing at the FIDE World Cup, where he secured third place to get a spot in the 2024 Candidates Tournament.

The string of good results allowed the Italo-American grandmaster to again cross the 2800 mark in the ratings list, as he now stands in the clear second spot ‘only’ 26 points behind the virtually unreachable Carlsen — notably, though, Hikaru Nakamura now stands 16 points behind Caruana, while world champion Ding Liren stands 8 points further back.

The tournament winner noted that this was his last classical tournament of the year. Caruana will not participate in the 2024 edition of the Tata Steel Masters, but will make his way to the Weissenhaus Resort in Germany to face Carlsen & co. at the recently announced Freestyle Challenge, a chess960 tournament set to take place in February.

Caruana’s strong showing in the 2023 Grand Chess Tour gained him US$ 310,000 in prize money, with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Wesley So — placed second and third respectively — obtaining less than half that amount for their (still strong) performances.

Check out Karsten Müller’s Endgame Magic show with Fabiano Caruana!

Grand Chess Tour 2023

In sole second place finished Leinier Dominguez, who was undefeated throughout the event and grabbed wins over Anish Giri and Richard Rapport. The Cuban-born grandmaster gained 11.2 rating points in Saint Louis, which allowed him to climb to seventh place in the live ratings list (overtaking an out-of-form Alireza Firouzja).

Dominguez thus found himself unexpectedly in the fight to reach the Candidates by rating. However, he is still 1 point behind So, and is forced to play one more tournament in December to become eligible in the rating race.

Moreover, the GM now representing the United States needs to play outside the U.S. after FIDE published a clarification regarding the World Championship cycle regulations. The last-minute announcement was harshly criticized by former Women’s World Champion Susan Polgar.

Nonetheless, a level-headed Dominguez told Anastasiya Karlovich after drawing Levon Aronian in the final round that he will look for ways to make the most of this unexpected opportunity as “it’s not every day that you get a chance to fight for a place in the Candidates”.

Leinier Dominguez

Leinier Dominguez | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Caruana 1 - 0 Rapport

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

Fabiano Caruana, Richard Rapport

Fabiano Caurana and Richard Rapport | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Final standings

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.