Summer Classic: Howell and Xiong on top

by André Schulz
6/21/2019 – The Summer Classic 2019 in Saint Louis consists of three tournaments with six players each held from June 18th to 28th. Sam Shankland is the top seed in the A group, but lost his first round game to the tournament leader David Howell. Another 'Sam' — Sam Sevian — heads the B group but Surya Ganguly is off to a strong start with 2½/3. | Pictured: Swiercz vs. Jones via commentary webcast with GM Jesse Kraai and Caleb Denby

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Le misses against Howell

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center Saint Louis is currently hosting three short round-robin tournaments with six players each as part of its Summer Chess Classic, with a total prize fund USD $75,000.

The A-tournament could almost be said to carry the theme of USA vs England, as five of the six participants come from one of the two countries. Jeffrey Xiong, Polish-born Dariusz Swiercz and Sam Shankland are in the field for the host country. Gawain Jones and David Howell represent the colours of the England. Le Quang Liem still starts under the Vietnamese flag, but is already more at home in the US, having studied and lived there for many years.

In Tuesday's opening round, Howell celebrated a victory with the black pieces over Shankland in a Berlin Defence. On Wednesday in the second round, Jeffrey Xiong scored a win of his own over Le. That has been the difference thus far as all three games were drawn in the third round. With a somewhat speculative piece sacrifice, Le got a pair of pawns in the game against Howell, put pressure on his opponent and finally reached the following position.


Le continued with 45.e6? d2 and Black somehow held on to earn a draw in 110 moves. The Vietnamese GM could have won here with 45.♖e4 winning a further pawn since 45...♝xe4 fails to 46.♕h5 picking off the e8 rook. After 45...♛f6 46.♖xg4 d2 47.♖d4 the d2 pawn poses no threat. 47...♛xe7 48.♕a5 collects d2. White then has three extra pawns and is clearly better.

Results A Tournament


All games A Tournament


Standings A


Ganguly on +2 in the B tournament

In the B tournament, Surya Ganguly made his first draw Thursday after back-to-back wins against Igor Kovalenko and Sam Sevian. The former German Champion Daniel Fridman lost to Grigoryi Oparin.

Black, from a variation of the Catalan opening, landed in an almost forced double-rook endgame.


Oparin demonstrated his endgame skills to net the full point. The Russian GM is now in second place with 2 points.

Results B Tournament


All games B Tournament


Standings B


Neiksans leads in the C tournament

The Latvian Artur Neiksans defeated the young American Brandon Jacobsen — the only IM in the field — and with it has a half point lead heading into the weekend.

Results C Tournament


Games C Tournament


Standings C


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Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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