2nd Cairns Cup - Round 9

by ChessBase
2/16/2020 – The 2nd Cairns Cup in Saint Louis is played from February 7-17. The field is led by World Champion Ju Wenjun, and features most of the world's best women chess players. The tournament winner will receive USD $45,000 from the total prize fund of $180,000. Rounds begin daily at 19:00 UTC (20:00 CET / 14:00 EST) and the games will be broadcast live with commentary by WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Yasser Seirawan and GM Alejandro Ramirez. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Round 9

For the second time, the Saint Louis Chess Club is holding an invitational tournament for top female grandmasters, dubbed the Cairns Cup, after Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield — whose maiden name is Cairns. The ten-player field consists of eight absolute world-class players and two strong USA players. The tournament mirrors the well-established Sinquefield Cup. 

A substantial prize fund of USD $180,000 awaits the players including prizes for the top three finishers of $45,000, $35,000 and $25,000 respectively.

Reports: Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 | Round 6 | Round 7 | Round 8

Live games and commentary


Commentary by WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Yasser Seirawan and GM Alejandro Ramirez

Current standings


Players starting rank

Rank Name Fed. M/F Rating
1 GM Ju, Wenjun CHN F 2583
2 GM Koneru, Humpy IND F 2580
3 GM Muzychuk, Mariya UKR F 2552
4 GM Lagno, Kateryna RUS F 2552
5 GM Harika, Dronavalli IND F 2518
6 GM Dzagnidze, Nana GEO F 2515
7 GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra RUS F 2504
8 GM Gunina, Valentina RUS F 2461
9 GM Krush, Irina USA F 2422
10 FM Yip, Carissa USA F 2412

The first round will be played on Friday, February 7th, with round starting every day at 19:00 UTC (20:00 CET / 14:00 EST).


Topics: Cairns Cup 2020

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Kenneth Thomas Kenneth Thomas 2/16/2020 10:09

While Yu had a fantastic run in last year's US Women's Championship, her FIDE rating is more than 100 points below Yip's (2295 vs. 2412) and she lost her last two tournament games to Yip (https://2700chess.com/players/yip). Nor has she earned her IM title yet; Yip's will be confirmed at the FIDE Congress at the end of this month.

That said, Yip, Yu, Annie Wang, and other strong teenage girls are leading to a critical mass of female players who will be pushing each other over the coming years. There's even a nine-year old master, Rachael Li. I wish them the best, except when they're playing me!
UncleBent UncleBent 2/16/2020 10:02
No disrespect to Jennifer Yu, but she, herself, would be the first to admit that she is no longer as strong a player as Carissa. In the past 10 months, Yip has moved up the FIDE rating list and is 120 points higher rated than Yu. In that time, Carissa has been a full-time chess player, while Jennifer remains a very talented amateur. Yu's very impressive victory in the US Women's Championship, 11 months ago, was accomplished over a field that had only 1 GM and no full-time players. When she competed in the US Junior (in July), she managed just 1/2 point in 9 rounds because her opponents were all rated 2400 -2580. Since that time, Carissa has defeated a slew of GMs, and also defeated Jennifer in their 2 meetings since last April. A strong professional is almost always better than a strong amateur.
chessdrummer chessdrummer 2/16/2020 08:01
Uncle Bent,

You're forgetting about U.S. Women's Champion, Jennifer Yu.
geeker geeker 2/16/2020 03:20
Carissa Yip is third highest FIDE-rated American woman, behind only Anna Zatonskih (by 15 points) and Krush (10 points). I don't know why Zatonskih isn't playing in the Cairns Cup, but ISTR she's become less active in recent years. Absent Zatonskih, and assuming 2 US women were wanted for the event, Yip's inclusion seems totally warranted. One might argue against inviting 2 US women, but I think that's reasonable for an event held in St. Louis.
UncleBent UncleBent 2/16/2020 01:34
@david gonzalez Carissa's participation has nothing to do with her getting a "wild card" invitation from the Sinquefields. She is arguably the #1 Women's player in the US. Yip is taking a year off from school, so, since last May she has been the only full-time professional women's player from America. Other top players, like Irina Krush and Tatev Abrahamyan are involved, full time, in chess education. Carissa was #1 in FIDE rating among US players, and just slipped a few points behind in the last 2 months. If any US women belonged in the Carins Cup, it was Carissa Yip.
sshivaji sshivaji 2/15/2020 11:45
I find it funny that Clarisa Yip "responds" to the comments that she does not belong in the event with a further win, this time over the world's woman champion, Ju Wenjun, and that too, with the black pieces!
david gonzalez david gonzalez 2/15/2020 11:20
The criteria that got Clarisa Yip into the tournament is that Rex and DR Jane Sinquefield are putting the money for the tournament and as such, they invite whoever they want to invite.
Chris Holmes Chris Holmes 2/12/2020 07:36
In the game between Dzagnidze-Koneru, why is there an exclamation mark twice given for the moves Qd8 although it changes White's position for the worse (moves 45 & 47) according to the software evaluation ?
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 2/12/2020 03:54
@Stupido - not to be petty but as of February ratings, Yip was not in the top 50 women. She was #51! :D
Stupido Stupido 2/12/2020 12:13
Ju and Kosteniuk seem to be in good form. Can't wait to see the champions' game.
UncleBent UncleBent 2/11/2020 10:00
@Magic_Knight Since the end of last summer, Yip has been rated either 1, 2 or 3 among US women and top 50 world wide. Last summer, she had a TPR of over 2540 in two RR (18 rounds) in the same month. The average rating of the Carins Cup participants is around 2515. So, it's not a stretch that she be invited.
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 2/11/2020 03:54
No disrespect to Yip, but what was the criteria that got her into this tournament?
Keshava Keshava 2/9/2020 06:55

Yes, Google House of Staunton.

Good coverage so far - Yasser and Alejandro's comments are commendable .
The games and competition aside - I like the chess men that the ladies are using.
I assume they are produced by the DGT company. Is it possible to buy the sets
only, without the electronic boards ?
I would appreciate any information or links about those chess pieces .
Thank you.
Babysplitz Babysplitz 2/9/2020 01:51
It's the Sinqfield design.
You can get non dgt copies from India. They are not available from the St.Louis club.
Ajeeb007 Ajeeb007 2/8/2020 10:14
You're watching an exciting game, Koneru just played 17...Qxh4 and now there's a possibility her Q could get trapped. If Muzychuk plays 18.Qg2 then what is going to happen? Yaz and Jen start speculating on the variations, showing some pretty razor sharp ideas for both sides. Hey, this is exciting stuff. Then on comes the engine guy, usually it's Ashley but today it's Ramirez. He spouts off the engine analysis and suddenly the truth of the position is sorted in seconds, the excitement is gone and I may as well shut this off. Spoiler. I wish they'd keep the engine analysis till after the games.
WillScarlett WillScarlett 2/8/2020 08:57
Good coverage so far - Yasser and Alejandro's comments are commendable .
The games and competition aside - I like the chess men that the ladies are using.
I assume they are produced by the DGT company. Is it possible to buy the sets
only, without the electronic boards ?
I would appreciate any information or links about those chess pieces .
Thank you.