Sinquefield Rd1: An excellent start

by Albert Silver
8/6/2016 – Fans got it all in what was a thrilling start to the Sinquefield Cup. Almost all boards saw vicious battles. MVL seemed like his star would fall as he was in big trouble against Giri, but saved it after Anish blundered. However, the biggest blunder was Svidler's terrible oversight, losing a piece to Topalov. Nakamura suffered an off-day and lost to So, while Anand and Caruana drew a very complicated battle. Here is the illustrated report with analysis by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

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2016 Sinquefield Cup

The 2016 Sinquefield Cup is an elite international event, featuring 10 of the strongest chess players in the world. Over the course of nine rounds, these competitors will battle for $300,000 in prize money (first: $75,000, second: $50,000, third: $40,000, last: $15,000) plus points toward the Grand Chess Tour and the coveted title of 2016 Sinquefield Cup Champion.

The venue is the Chess Club and Scholastic Center at 4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108. Tickets cost $10 per round or $80 for all ten rounds. Full information available at the official web site.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators worldwide are expected to enjoy the all-star commentary team of GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade as they provide keen insights and analysis, in depth player interviews and witty discussions. Commentary is also available on DailyMotion, the CCSCSL YouTube Channel, Livestream and Twitch.

Round one

Chess patron and benefactor Rex Sinquefield opens the tournament (photo by Austin Fuller)

Round One
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Ding Liren
2755
½-½
Levon Aronian
2784
Wesley So
2771
1-0
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Anish Giri
2769
½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Viswanathan Anand
2770
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
Veselin Topalov
2761
1-0
Peter Svidler
2751

Prior to the event was Signing Day where fans came to autograph anything and everything (photo by Austin Fuller)

Vishy cracks up at one of the autograph pages being passed around (photo by Spectrum Studios)

Mission accomplished! (photo by Lennart Ootes)

The Sinquefield Cup began amidst surprises and unexpected turns before it had even begun. It was well-known that Magnus Carlsen would be missing out on it to focus on preparation for his forthcoming title defense, yet in spite of this, the event lost little luster thanks to the amazing lineup. Pretty much everyone in the Top Ten was there, though Vladimir Kramnik withdrew not long before due to health reasons, and thus came surprise number one.

Alejandro Ramirez makes last-minute retouches before going live. "How's the hair?" (photo by Austin Fuller)

Getting ready for the weigh-in for the tournament (photo by Austin Fuller)

The next surprise was the top seed: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The Frenchman has long been recognized as a great talent, and despite being only 25, the same age as Magnus Carlsen, he had seemed to have peaked, having to claw his way into the Top Ten. However, the last twelve months have seen him just rocket up nearly 100 Elo as he finished a big win in Dortmund just now, followed by a crushing victory over Peter Svidler in their match at Biel. This took him to 2819 Elo, one of the all-time greatest, and less than 40 Elo behind Magnus, and the clear world number two.

Anish Giri came armed to the teeth and came very close to a decisive advantage against the new world number two, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. In the end a mistake let the potential win slip through his fingers. (photo by Spectrum Studios)

Anish Giri - MVL (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

Replacing Vladimir Kramnik was Peter Svidler, a player always considered dangerous, and owner of seven Russian titles, an absolute record. Who can forget when Carlsen found himself gunned down in the 2013 Candidates in the last round, by the talented Russian.

It was a solid game between Svidler and Topalov until disaster struck (photo by Lennart Ootes)

Topalov - Svidler

[Event "4th Sinquefield Cup 2016"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2016.08.05"] [Round "1"] [White "Topalov, Veselin"] [Black "Svidler, Peter"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C88"] [WhiteElo "2761"] [BlackElo "2751"] [Annotator "ChessBase"] [PlyCount "55"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:3600+30"] 1. e4 {(4s)} e5 {(9s)} 2. Nf3 {(4s)} Nc6 {(6s)} 3. Bb5 {(8s)} a6 {(4s)} 4. Ba4 {(4s)} Nf6 {(6s)} 5. O-O {(14s)} Be7 {(5s)} 6. Re1 {(6s)} b5 {(5s)} 7. Bb3 { (3s)} O-O {(7s)} 8. a4 {(7s)} b4 {(6s)} 9. d3 {(6s)} d6 {(45s)} 10. a5 {(18s)} Be6 {(442s)} 11. Bxe6 {(9s)} fxe6 {(4s)} 12. Nbd2 {(8s)} d5 {(946s)} 13. c3 { ( 106s)} Bd6 {(2085s)} 14. d4 {(275s)} bxc3 {(277s)} 15. bxc3 {(49s)} exd4 { (187s)} 16. cxd4 {(671s)} dxe4 {(95s)} 17. Nxe4 {(11s)} Bb4 {(5s)} 18. Bd2 { (715s)} Nxe4 {(24s)} 19. Rxe4 {(22s)} Qd5 {(7s)} 20. Bxb4 {(284s)} Qxe4 {(38s)} 21. Bxf8 {(10s)} Rxf8 {(4s)} 22. Rc1 {(232s)} h6 {(917s)} 23. Qd2 {(752s)} Rb8 {(612s)} 24. Qe3 {(202s)} Qd5 {(27s)} 25. h3 {[#] (502s)} Rb4 {(147s) A massive blindness that loses material and the game.} 26. Qc3 {(229s)} Nxd4 { (179s)} 27. Qxb4 {(12s)} Ne2+ {(188s)} 28. Kh1 {(28s)} ({Svidler resigned after } 28. Kh1 {understanding Topalov had seen the win too.} Nxc1 {and White wins the knight by force.} 29. Qb8+ Kh7 (29... Kf7 30. Qxc7+ {and the knight falls as well.}) 30. Qb1+ Nd3 31. Ne1 {and that is that.}) 1-0

Anand and Caruana watch the symbolic first move (photo by Lennart Ootes)

Anand - Caruana

[Event "4th Sinquefield Cup 2016"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2016.08.05"] [Round "1"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C15"] [WhiteElo "2770"] [BlackElo "2807"] [Annotator "ChessBase"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:3600+30"] 1. e4 {(3s)} e6 {(5s)} 2. d4 {(27s)} d5 {(5s)} 3. Nc3 {(5s)} Bb4 {(6s)} 4. exd5 {(176s)} exd5 {(11s)} 5. Bd3 {(7s)} Nf6 {(114s)} 6. Nge2 {(42s)} O-O {(37s)} 7. O-O {(66s)} c6 {(52s)} 8. Bg5 {(200s)} h6 {(189s)} 9. Bh4 {(50s)} Re8 {(54s)} 10. f3 {(232s)} Nbd7 {(198s)} 11. Qd2 {(362s)} Nf8 {(381s)} 12. Rae1 {(314s)} Bd7 {(398s)} 13. a3 {(149s)} Be7 {(1010s)} 14. Bf2 {(685s)} Ng6 {(183s)} 15. Bg3 {( 196s)} Nh5 {(538s)} 16. Bxg6 {(57s)} fxg6 {(5s)} 17. Be5 {(19s)} Bh4 { (207s)} 18. Rd1 {(229s)} Bg5 {(949s)} 19. f4 {(384s)} Be7 {(231s)} 20. h3 { (190s)} Be6 {(482s)} 21. Kh2 {(249s)} Nf6 {(210s)} 22. Nc1 {(231s)} h5 {(419s)} 23. Nd3 {(178s)} Bf5 {(6s)} 24. Ne2 {(321s)} Ne4 {(144s)} 25. Qe3 {(86s)} h4 { (9s)} 26. Rc1 {(343s)} Rc8 {(358s)} 27. c3 {(423s)} Qb6 {(174s)} 28. b4 {(248s) } Bf6 {(107s)} 29. Nc5 {(97s)} Nxc5 {(74s)} 30. bxc5 {(22s)} Qb2 {(69s)} 31. Ng1 {(63s)} b6 {(114s)} 32. Nf3 {( 259s)} bxc5 {(68s)} 33. dxc5 {(59s)} Be4 { (40s)} 34. Rce1 {(394s)} Re7 {(186s)} 35. Bxf6 {(103s)} gxf6 {(2s)} 36. Nxh4 { (39s)} Rce8 {(87s)} 37. Qg3 {(390s)} Rg7 {(2s)} 38. Ra1 {(33s)} g5 {(47s)} 39. fxg5 {(18s)} Rxg5 {(2s)} 40. Qf2 {(0s)} Qxc3 {(0s)} 41. Qxf6 {(268s)} Qg3+ { (425s)} 42. Kg1 {[#] (10s) Black chooses to force the draw in a cute but unavoidable windmill. Many hoped he would continue on with a less forcing move as it was felt there was no danger in playing on.} Qxg2+ {(278s)} 43. Nxg2 { (5s)} Rxg2+ {(3s)} 44. Kh1 {(7s)} Rf2+ {(3s)} 45. Kg1 {(7s)} 1/2-1/2

One of the round one shocks was Hikaru Nakamura's loss to Wesley So (photo by Austin Fuller)

Wesley So - Hikaru Nakamura (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

Wesley So had plenty to smile about in round one (photo by Lennart Ootes)

Replay games of round one

Select games from the games list below the board

About GM Elshan Moradiabadi

Elshan Moradiabadi is a GM born and raised in Tehran, Iran. He moved to the US in 2012. Ever since, he has been active in US college chess scenes and in US chess.

Elshan co-authored "Chess and the Art of War: Ancient Wisdom to Make You a Better Player" with Al Lawrence. He has also published written articles for ChessBase, and edited opening materials for fellow authors.

Elshan Moradiabadi is a veteran instructor and teaches chess to every level, with students ranging from beginners to IM. He can be contacted for projects or teaching at his email.

You can contact him at his email or follow him on Twitter.

The games are being broadcast live on Playchess, with expert analysis. In round one commentary was done by IM Oliver Reeh and Georgios Souleidis

Schedule

Day Date Time Event
Playchess commentary
German
Friday Aug. 5 1 p.m. Round 1
Oliver Reeh/Georgios Souleidis
Klaus Bischoff
Saturday Aug. 6 1 p.m. Round 2
Oliver Reeh/Georgios Souleidis
Klaus Bischoff
Sunday Aug. 7 1 p.m. Round 3
Chris Ward
Christian Bauer
Monday Aug. 8 1 p.m. Round 4
Simon Williams
Klaus Bischoff
Tuesday Aug. 9 1 p.m. Round 5
Simon Williams
Klaus Bischoff
Wednesday Aug. 10 Rest Day
Thursday Aug. 11 1 p.m. Round 6
Chris Ward
Thomas Luther
Friday Aug. 12 1 p.m. Round 7
Yannick Pelletier
Thomas Luther
Saturday Aug. 13 1 p.m. Round 8
Simon Williams
Yannick Pelletier
Sunday Aug. 14 1 p.m. Round 9
Yannick Pelletier
Klaus Bischoff
Monday Aug. 15 1 p.m. Playoffs
 
 

Pairings

Round One
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Ding Liren
2755
½-½
Levon Aronian
2784
Wesley So
2771
1-0
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Anish Giri
2769
½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Viswanathan Anand
2770
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
Veselin Topalov
2761
1-0
Peter Svidler
2751
Round Two
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
  Peter Svidler
2751
Fabiano Caruana
2807
  Veselin Topalov
2761
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
  Anish Giri
2769
Ding Liren
2755
  Wesley So
2771
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
  Viswanathan Anand
2770
Round Three
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Wesley So
2771
  Levon Aronian
2784
Anish Giri
2769
  Ding Liren
2755
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Veselin Topalov
2761
  M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Peter Svidler
2751
  Fabiano Caruana
2807
Round Four
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
  Fabiano Caruana
2807
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
  Peter Svidler
2751
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
  Veselin Topalov
2761
Ding Liren
2755
  Viswanathan Anand
2770
Wesley So
2771
  Anish Giri
2769
Round Five
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Anish Giri
2769
  Levon Aronian
2784
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Wesley So
2771
Veselin Topalov
2761
  Ding Liren
2755
Peter Svidler
2751
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Fabiano Caruana
2807
  M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Round Six
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2771
  M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Hikaru Nakamura
2731
  Fabiano Caruana
2807
Ding Liren
2793
  Peter Svidler
2751
Wesley So
2779
  Veselin Topalov
2761
Anish Giri
2765
  Viswanathan Anand
2770
Round Seven
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Levon Aronian
2784
Veselin Topalov
2761
  Anish Giri
2769
Peter Svidler
2751
  Wesley So
2771
Fabiano Caruana
2807
  Ding Liren
2755
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Round Eight
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Ding Liren
2755
  M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Wesley So
2771
  Fabiano Caruana
2807
Anish Giri
2769
  Peter Svidler
2751
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Veselin Topalov
2761
Round Nine
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Veselin Topalov
2761
  Levon Aronian
2784
Peter Svidler
2751
  Viswanathan Anand
2770
Fabiano Caruana
2807
  Anish Giri
2769
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
  Wesley So
2771
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
  Ding Liren
2755

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the 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 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.
 


Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


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sicilian_D sicilian_D 8/6/2016 05:28
so now Anish Giri has 15/15 draws in multiplayer championships where Anand has participated, since the candidates tournament this year!!
mvh999 mvh999 8/6/2016 05:19
Nice article and a departure from so much of the recent reporting with very little detail and even less game analysis. Thank you!!!
GregEs GregEs 8/6/2016 04:17
Great report by Albert Silver and nice analysis by GM Moradiabadi. Balanced and thorough.
vincero vincero 8/6/2016 04:15
ALL fighting players......no one can call this correctly since anyone can lose here.....styles make fights...expect LOTS of decisive games.
JULIO CABRA JULIO CABRA 8/6/2016 03:41
Congratulations to the Chess Club of Misouri put chess in the EDGE. JULIO CABRA, Bogotá, Colombia.
rolansky rolansky 8/6/2016 02:57
This article's introductory paragraph is biased, it says "Nakamura suffered an off-day and lost to So".

Wesley So has the capacity to win against anyone in the Top 10 even when that player is not in an off-day.
johnmk johnmk 8/6/2016 02:40
Catalan opening can be very boring! But good that So has a victory.
Karbuncle Karbuncle 8/6/2016 02:34
@vladivaclav, I wouldn't call it a "crushing". That's typically reserved for some super-complex tactical preparation that rips the opponent apart. This was more a middlegame nuance preparation that reached the superior endgame. Even the author felt Nakamura fought well, but just was unfamiliar with the novelty So used.
psamant psamant 8/6/2016 01:39
Nice games. These same players play each other very often and yet bring up such interesting games!
vladivaclav vladivaclav 8/6/2016 10:17
so crushing nakamura does not shock me. they are close in terms of rating now and so will be usa number #2 soon
jamex jamex 8/6/2016 09:11
Nice and detailed reporting
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