Sinquefield Cup 2015
Posted: 05 August 2015 04:45 AM  
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The first round of the Grand chess tour was won convincingly by GM Veselin Topalov.
The second round is gong to take place in St. Louis, Missouri, at the magnificent Chess Club and Scholastic Center.
The tournament, named after the chess patron Rex Sinquefield, sees at the start line the 9 players who have agreed to partitcipate in all the three events (last one will be the London Chess Classic in December), plus - this time - the super-strong-newly-American GM Wesley So.
Here is the impressive lineup:
Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2853 - #1); Viswanathan Anand (IND, 2816 - #2); Veselin Topalov (BUL, 2816 - #3); Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2814 - #4); Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2808 - #5); Anish Giri (NED, 2793 - #6); Wesley So (USA, 2779 - #7); Alexander Grischuk (RUS, 2771 - #9); Levon Aronian (ARM, 2765 - #11);  Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA, 2731 - #24).

Play starts August 23rd at 2PM EDT; 20:00 Rome and Berlin; 19:00 London; 23:30 New Delhi; 21:00 Moscow

It’s probably one of the first times we see three top GMs from the USA playing such an important event. since when Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So switched federation, the USA became arguably the first chess power. On the other hand, only Alexander Grischuk is there at the top to defend the colors of Russia. Waiting for the Chinese to come up and conquer the top spots - Ding Liren just made it to the top ten - it’s impossible to ignore how things have changed in a few years: the predominance of Russia is over, and chess has become a much more international sport. Only 10 years ago, nobody would have imagined that a top event like the Sinquefield Cup could line-up players from eight different federations.

ICC will cover the event with LIVE commentary, Game Of the Day video for each round and the TRIVIA contests.

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Posted: 23 August 2015 09:56 PM   [ # 1 ]  
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Round 1

What a first round! Five decisive games characterized the opening round of the Sinquefield Cup. ICC’s commentator and writer Mig Greengard posted a tweet that - in a funny way - highlights today’s round: “The last time a day of chess was so decisive was when Gaddafi had all the first round Tripoli FIDE KO losers beheaded.” Topalov’s 7…g5! discombobulated the World Champion, giving the 40-year-old Bulgarian top GM the opportunity to win this important game. Magnus Carlsen said, during the press conference: “I was trying to play a solid line today, but then he played g5.” Aronian, with the glorious move 25. Ne4!! put Caruana in serious trouble, and went on to win the game. Nakamura, who now is #3 in the Live rating list, beat Anand and thus commented after the game: “Vishy is not so young; I noticed that he lost long games where he was slightly worse…”. Giri won his game with Grischuk, who as usual managed to get in horrible time trouble, and MVL beat an unrecognizable Wesley So. Lots of emotions and great entertainment. ICC members enjoyed the excellent commentary by GMs John Fedorowicz and Alex Yermolinsky.

GM Yermolinsky’s VIDEO RECAP

metroid won the Guess the Results contest!

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Posted: 24 August 2015 09:53 PM   [ # 2 ]  
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Round 2

Another amazing round in St. Louis. Caruana’s impersonation of Grischuk did not work very well, and the former Italian talent blundered badly on move 40, trying to make it to time control with a few seconds on the clock, allowing Magnus Carlsen to finally bounce back, interrupting the worse streak of bad results he’s had in .. forever. Grischuk played a smooth and apparently easy game against Anand, using the London system. Topalov said, in a recent interview published on New in Chess, that he’s taking life and chess in a Buddhist way. Easy, without all the stress that has been his companion during his long career. Well, it’s paying off! Today he beat convincingly the super-strong American Hikaru Nakamura, and now is in the sole lead with 2 out of 2. Giri and So drew, as well as Aronian and Vachier Lagrave. With 8 decisive games out of 10 played so far, the Sinquefield Cup keeps up the “tradition”, proving to be a hard fought tournament. ICC members enjoyed the excellent commentary with IM John Watson and GM Gata Kamsky.

IM John Watson’s VIDEO RECAP

We have TWO winners of the Guess The Results contest: beenywins and PhaseRift. They get 1.5 free months of membership each.

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Posted: 25 August 2015 09:17 PM   [ # 3 ]  
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Round 3

Two in a row. The World Champion is back, winning as he usually does. Magnus beat the strong French GM Vachier-Lagrave, in an English Opening game. A typical win for Carlsen: he got a slight advantage in the middle game and then slowly but steadily improved his position, strangling his opponent and forcing him to make mistakes. Now Carlsen shares 2nd with Giri and Aronian, half a point behind Topalov, who drew against his old-time foe Vishy Anand. Aronian and Giri drew, while So managed to win against Grischuk - who, guess what? Yes, you’re right: he blundered in time-trouble. Now Wesley shares - at 50% - 3rd with Nakamura and MVL. Caruana finally got his first half a point, drawing Nakamura in a long struggle. Fabiano shares last place with Anand. Gm Max Dlugy and GM Var Akobian commentated live on the round for ICC’s members.

GM Max Dlugy’s VIDEO RECAP

The winner of the Guess the Results contest is ECP, with 5 out of 5! HE wins 3 free months of membership.

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Posted: 26 August 2015 08:50 PM   [ # 4 ]  
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Round 4

After three rounds with 10 decisive games out of 15, today we got only one win, but it was quite spectacular. Levon Aronian played amazingly well against the young American Wesley So, in what Larry defined a crushing attacking game. Levon was asked “When can you play scintillating games with the black pieces?” He replied, with his usual wit: “Only when your opponents forget to develop their pieces!”. But it was not only that. Aronian today looked much like the player who had been chasing Magnus Carlsen at the top of the rating list for months, when all of us used to call him Mr. number-two. The World Champion said “So far it’s a different Levon than what we’ve been seeing recently.” Nakamura and MVL fought in a difficult and interesting game, reaching a draw position after 51 moves and a long struggle. The other three games were normal - if you can call normal games at this level - draws. After 4 rounds, Aronian joins Topalov on top with 3 points, followed by Carlsen and Giri with 2.5, then Nakamura and MVL with 2, So and Grischuk with 1.5 and at the bottom of the list Anand and Caruana, with 1 point.

GM Larry Christiansen’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have TWO winners of the Guess the Results contest: spand42 and Radja! They win 1.5 months of membership each!

 

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Posted: 27 August 2015 10:29 PM   [ # 5 ]  
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Round 5

Caruana bounces back after a terrible start, and who does he beat? Yes indeed, the co-leader Veselin Topalov! Fabiano played well, winning in a convincing way. Now he’s not in the last place anymore, though 2 points out of 5 rounds are not what can be called a good result. Magnus Carlsen played a fantastic game against the combative and indomitable Welsey So. Apparently Magnus missed an early win, but then he played all the best moves - as it is in his style - in a perfect endgame, taking advantage of So’s weakness on the King’s side, and putting to work a monster passed “h” pawn. The two young foes battled for nearly six hours, and Magnus decided to go for the win when Wesley had mate in one on the board. It was arguably the most exciting game of the tournament so far. Now the standings see Carlsen leading together with Aronian, with 3.5/5, followed by Topalov and Giri with 3. Nakamura and MVL with 2.4, Caruana and Grischuk with 2 and Anand still shares last place, now with So, at 1.5. Tomorrow is the only rest day of the tournament, and we will most likely be forced to watch and comment on soccer games. It’s the sad life of chess fans, these days! The tournament resumes on Saturday, with the two co-leaders clashing - Aronian will play white - in a quite decisive game.

GM Lars Bo Hansen’s VIDEO RECAP

Today THREE ICC members guessed 4 results out of 5: TheGMhunter, oldtimer and Deadcatbouncer. They win one month of membership each!

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Posted: 29 August 2015 08:35 PM   [ # 6 ]  
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Round 6

It’s not something you see so often in super-GMs games, but we had the luck to witness a checkmate on the board today, in the 6th round of the Sinquefield Cup. There were two very interesting games to follow today; all the games are important and entertaining at this level, but So-Nakamura and Aronian-Carlsen were the top two games, for various reasons. Carlsen and Aronian, the two co-leaders, could have given the tournament a serious yank, had one of them won the game. They drew, and quite uneventfully. Nakamura and So are both Americans now and, at least over the board, today’s game was to be considered a derby. So is not having his best tournament, but today Nakamura played a great game, taking advantage of any and all the chances his younger rival gave him. And So was a true sport, allowing Nakamura to play his unstoppable attack till the very end, with checkmate on the board at move 39, after an amazing King’s hunt. Now Nakamura follows the two leaders by a half point, together with Giri and MVL. Vachier-Lagrave today beat Topalov in 37 moves, confirming his great state of form. Veselin, after an impressive start, has lost two games in a row, and now is a full point from the top. Grischuk beat Caruana, whose performance is probably one of the lowest in recent years. Giri and Anand drew.

GM Ronen Har-Zvi’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have again THREE winners in the Guess the Results contest: TheGMhunter, bennywins and Radja. They win one month of membership each!

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Posted: 30 August 2015 09:17 PM   [ # 7 ]  
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Round 7

When number one and number two of the world lose playing white, you can say it is a memorable round. Levon Aronian, arguably the player in best form at this point of the tournament, crushed Hikaru Nakamura, and that’s not something everyone can do. Alexander Grischuk, the only Russian in the Sinquefield Cup - which already is a quite amazing fact - beat Magnus Carlsen, in a 6.5 hour struggle. Carlsen wasn’t happy, obviously; his first comment was: ” The way I lost it is really shameful… To lose so many games with the white pieces is ridiculous”. Grischuk, with his usual witty way to comment his games, said: “What’s important for me is that I managed to play three chess games in a row”. Now Aronian leads solo by a full point, and Grischuk rises to second place, jointly with Carlsen, Giri and MVL. The other three games were drawn. With two rounds to go, Aronian is the favorite to win the second leg of the Grand Chess Tour. Tomorrow Carlsen will play Nakamura, and this is something that intrigues every the chess fan: will Nakamura finally win a classic game against the World Champion? We’ll see. Round 8 starts at 2Pm EDT - 20:00 Central Europe.

GM Jon Speelman’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have FOUR winners in the Guess the Results contest: ECP, trevone, ShadowStorm and Radja. They get three weeks of membership each!

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Posted: 31 August 2015 09:32 PM   [ # 8 ]  
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Round 8

Aronian and Anand decided to leave their game to the analysts today. The theory of the English opening they played is interesting, as the two great K’s battled over it. The two great A’s though, after a rather quick liquidation, went for a repetition of moves. Probably Levon, although Carlsen seemed to be in good shape at that point, decided he wanted to get into last round with at least a half point advantage. Caruana and Giri landed onto an interesting theoretical ending position, which is not trivial at all, but Fabiano didn’t seem to be so familiar with it, and though he had winning chances, the players agree to a draw after a few more moves. And now, let’s see… yes, it was Carlsen vs. Nakamura the game which all the fans were waiting for today. Carlsen got a nice advantage right after the QGD opening, only to throw it away, allowing Nakamura-The-Great-Defender to equalize an apparently lost position. Nakamura was brilliant in finding all the right moves after Carlsen’s slip. Then Carlsen played on for 88 moves, mostly out of rage for “being sick of playing so badly” as he declared in the interviews. The game ended with the Kings and a white bishop on the board, as a proof of the stubbornness of a quite unhappy World Champion. Entering last round, Aronian leads by a full point. The howling pack with Carlsen, Grischuk, MVL and Giri look at the leader from a long distance, and probably nobody will be able to bite him tomorrow. But we know, chess is always surprising, and following the last round will be a thrill.

GM Joel Benajmin’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have TWO winners of the Guess the Results contest, with 5 out of 5: spand42 and Radja. They get 1.5 months of membership each!

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Posted: 01 September 2015 10:07 PM   [ # 9 ]  
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Round 9

Armenia-USA 3-0. Armenia-Rest of the World 3-3. Levon Aronian won convincingly - with 6 points out of 9 rounds - the 3rd Sinquefield Cup, incidentally beating the three US musketeers Nakamura, Caruana and So. It is a pleasure to see the kind and gentlemanly Levon back wearing the crown of such an important and uber-strong event, after his last great victory at the Tata Steel 2014. Aronian went into last round with a full point advantage, which made the final outcome quite predictable. In his game with Topalov, he forced the Bulgarian into a perpetual check, and clinched the title in style. Carlsen, Anand, MVL, Giri, Caruana and So all drew. Nakamura played an amazing game again today. A very thrilling endgame against the Russian Alexander Grischuk, which seemed infinite. After 6 and a half hours, Hikaru was finally able to go for the jugular, and secure himself second place, jointly with Carlsen, Giri and Vachier-Lagrave. MVL had a great tournament, considering he started with the lowest - by far - rating. He played well, and second place is a great result for the Frenchman. Veselin Topalov, who started with a bang - 2 out of 2 - slowed down considerably during the tournament, and shared 6th-7th with Alexander Grischuk. For Wesley So, Fabiano Caruana and Vishy Anand the Sinquefield Cup was an event to be forgotten as soon as possible, to move on to new adventures. The Grand Chess Tour 2015 standings see Topalov still leading with 17 points over Nakamura with 16, Aronian with 15, Carlsen with 14. So long folks, until the third leg of the Grand Chess Tour, the 7th London Chess Classic, in December.

GM Alex Yermolinsky’s VIDEO RECAP

Today we have TWO winners of the Guess the Results contest, with 5/5: ECP and Ohaniessian. They get 1.5 months of membership each!

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