Starting Friday: Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz

by ChessBase
8/25/2022 – The fourth leg of this year’s Grand Chess Tour, the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, will be played on August 26-30. The last rapid and blitz event of the series will host ten top players from around the world, including wunderkind Alireza Firouzja, World Championship challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi and defending champion Hikaru Nakamura. Jeffery Xiong (pictured) will replace Richard Rapport, who could not make it to Saint Louis due to travel restrictions related to Covid-19. | Photo: Austin Fuller (2021)

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Nakamura to defend his title

Since 2017, the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz has been an integral component of the Grand Chess Tour. This year’s tournament is poised to once again deliver the same standards of competition at the tournament location full of grandeur that chess fans have come to know and love: the iconic Saint Louis Chess Club, which has become the capital of US chess.

This will be the last rapid and blitz tournament of the tour and the fast-paced rapid and blitz structure is sure to provide a dynamic display of talent and skill, as all participants will be vying for a piece of the $175,000 prize fund. 

Live spectators will not be allowed in the tournament hall to watch the rounds, but fans can watch all the action online or watch the broadcast streaming live at the Saint Louis Chess Club. 

Seven “full tour” players will be joined by three wildcards for the 5-day event, with 3 days of rapid chess (3 rounds per day) followed by 2 days of blitz (9 rounds per day). Richard Rapport, a regular tour player, was supposed to take part, but due to travel restrictions related to the Covid-19, he will not be able to make it to Saint Louis, which means he will miss both the rapid and blitz tournament and the Sinquefield Cup.

The star-studded field will include rapid-play specialist Alireza Firouzja, World Championship challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi and defending champion Hikaru Nakamura, who will return to over-the-board action after skipping the Chennai Olympiad.

Tour leader Wesley So will not be playing, as he has already participated in three tournaments of the series this year. Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who stand close behind the Filipino-born star in the overall ranking, will try to use this chance to take the lead and go into the Sinquefield Cup as the favourites to win this edition of the elite series.

The confirmed field for the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz:

Name Player Type URS Rating Residence
Hikaru Nakamura Wildcard 2815 USA
Ian Nepomniachtchi Full Tour Player  2794 FIDE
Fabiano Caruana Full Tour Player  2787 USA
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Full Tour Player 2784 France
Levon Aronian Full Tour Player 2779 USA
Alireza Firouzja Full Tour Player 2774 France
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Full Tour Player 2752 Azerbaijan
Leinier Dominguez Full Tour Player 2745 USA
Sam Shankland Wildcard 2712 USA
Jeffery Xiong Wildcard 2697 USA

Grand Chess Tour 2022





August 24


Player Arrival

August 25

6:00 PM

Private Opening Ceremony


August 26

1:00 PM

Rapid Round 1

2:30 PM

Rapid Round 2

4:00 PM

Rapid Round 3


August 27

1:00 PM

Rapid Round 4

2:30 PM

Rapid Round 5

4:00 PM

Rapid Round 6


August 28

1:00 PM

Rapid Round 7

2:30 PM

Rapid Round 8

4:00 PM

Rapid Round 9


August 29

1:00 PM

Blitz Day 1
(Every 30 minutes)


August 30

1:00 PM

Blitz Day 2
(Every 30 minutes)

5:30 PM

Playoffs (If necessary)

6:30 PM

Private Closing Ceremony


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