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Carlsen Wins, Takes First Sinquefield Cup

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 9/15/13, 4:36 PM.

GM Magnus Carlsen only needed a draw to clinch the first Sinquefield Cup and the winner's $70,000 payday. He was offered one, and declined.

Carlsen eventually won against GM Levon Aronian, securing the world number one a plus three score and grabbing the cup by a full point.


"When I finally had the better position, I wanted to use it," he explained of his decision to keep playing on his 38th move. Prior to his opponent's offer, Aronian had Carlsen's pieces in a knot. They began to unravel, and Carlsen sensed the initiative was finally his. He did not see much risk in going for glory.


American GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky had drawn earlier, so Carlsen knew that a draw or win ensured tournament victory. Had Aronian found a way to convert his earlier advantage, the Armenian grandmaster would have forced a three-way playoff.


He wanted nothing more than to create that chaos. "I had a big advantage and then I played like an idiot," a despondent Aronian said. "I played all the wrong ideas. I felt like I had to win immediately."

Carlsen guessed that Black missed the strength of White's 31st move, and Aronian confirmed that he had. "I just blundered Ne1 and I started playing ridiculous moves," Aronian said. "Losing that position is embarassing."

Nakamura's help from Aronian never came, but he was not afforded the luxury of focusing on the other game. "I would have liked to have paid attention [to Carlsen-Aronian], but considering how quickly my game got out of hand, I didn't really have a chance," Nakamura said.


He tried everything to complicate the position as Black, and although he opened lines everywhere, Nakamura was not significantly better at any point.

Overall, the top American player was pleased with his result. "Any time you pick up rating points, generally it's a good result overall," he said.

Carlsen's $70,000 payday will be his last tournament winnings before the World Championship Match with GM Viswanathan Anand in November. "I don't have too many worries," he said about his study plans.

He also moved his rating north to 2870 - two points from his record high. Nakamura wins $50,000 for second place and is currently fifth on the live rating list. Aronian takes home $30,000 for third and Kamsky $20,000 for fourth.

Club founder and tournament sponsor Rex Sinquefield thanked the players at the closing ceremony.


The host Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis also announced its intention of hosting the second edition of the Sinquefield Cup next year. Carlsen said that he wants to return if his schedule permits.

After being overrun with autograph requests (in what has become a daily routine), Carlsen had finished his business and took a walk with his father.


"The final margin of victory is a little flattering," Carlsen said.


29196 reads 92 comments
9 votes


  • 2 years ago


    USCF ratings and FIDE ratings are not the same.  How many USCF games has Carlsen played, any ways?  Probably not enough to give an accurate rating.

  • 2 years ago


    Magnus Carlsen has a USCF rating now and it's over 3000! Look it up http://www.uschess.org/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,181/

  • 2 years ago



    where can i find kamsky-aronian 5th round match ??

  • 2 years ago


    gary your student has become the master

  • 2 years ago


    Carlsen is the greatest chess player of all time!

  • 2 years ago


    Naka finally took off his glasses. Too late.

  • 2 years ago


    Further reason to get rid of the draw offer from chess once and for all.  I think the rules for this event was no draw offer before move 30 ?

    Chess will never attract serious corporate sponsorship and being taken seriously with this ridiculous draw offer. 

    You know under normal FIDE rules a draw can be offered and accepted after only one move.  In fact the rules are so vague I am not even sure a move is required.

  • 2 years ago


    Very cool.   



  • 2 years ago


    Awesome tournament.  I saw the commentators from the tournament site and thought they were great.  

    PGM feel free to organize your own tournament if you think organizers are doing it wrong.  Personally I think US chess already has plenty of master level tournaments.  It sorely needs an event like this to attract the super elite to come to the US.

  • 2 years ago


    109th Annual U.S. Open had a $40,000 dollars Guaranteed Prize Fund.

    The Sinquefield Cup had $170,000 and only four players, and then people wonder why the US only have two elite GM.

    Most US national and international masters can not afford to travel to Europe to play in the elite chess festival tournaments, therefore they remain stagnated. 

    The Sinquefield Cup organizers could have made a Chess Festival with many open tournaments just like they do in Europe. They could have used $70,000 for the prize of all this events, and they would have attracted hundreds of players from all the US, Canada, Mexico and Cuba.

    $100,000 for the main event would have been a great prize fund, specially if it only had four players.

    I'm sure FM MikeKlein would have loved to play in such chess festival.


  • 2 years ago


    Each FIDE Grand Prix Tournament prizes:

     1st  6,500 120 points + 40 bonus
     2nd  4,750 110 points + 20 bonus
     3rd  4,000 100 points + 10 bonus
     4th  3,750 90 points
     5th  3,500 80 points
     6th  3,250 70 points
     7th  3,000 60 points
     8th  2,750 50 points
     9th  2,500 40 points
     10th  2,250 30 points
     11th  2,000 20 points
     12th  1,750 10 points 



  • 2 years ago


    That young player just needs a challenge! (Right now, he doesn't really have good competition to force him to play perfect games.)

  • 2 years ago


    I think it will be close match, but I wont be suprise if Anand won in 12 games or less...those who think Carlsen has big chance of winning just dont truly know Anand...and match is a little different from tournament...if Anand could manage the draws and take to rapid like previous championship...will definitely be a great extra treat to watch...both strength level is equal.

  • 2 years ago


    mister magnus carlsen is the next world chess champion my friends

  • 2 years ago


    Mike, thanks for the great coverage ... just got your question on the press conference then the video feed went down! Bummer, so I'm glad you finished it up with this nice write-up!

  • 2 years ago


    Well put albatrosses.

  • 2 years ago


    Anand will gracefully concede defeat to the greatest chess player this millennium.

  • 2 years ago


    Carlsen vs. Anand...

    I think Carlsen is not good enough to beat Anand.

  • 2 years ago


    I think Anand will suffer in the world championship match !

  • 2 years ago


    Successful event. Thought the coverage was very good!

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