Kasparov Back in the Game!
Yes, that's right! The legend Garry Kasparov is back in action playing rated Rapid and Blitz in Saint Louis!
This is the fourth event of The Grand Chess Tour, starting right after The Sinquefield Cup (see my article here). The format is the same as in Paris and Leuven with six Tour Participants and four Wildcards fighting in three days of rapid chess (nine rounds) and two days of blitz (18 rounds), but points in the rapid portion count double.
Because Carlsen, MVL and So played in both Paris and Leuven, they won't be in Saint Louis. That leaves Aronian, Nakamura, Caruana, Karjakin, Anand and Nepomniatchi as the Tour Regulars playing. They will be joined by some intersting players. Let's have a look:
Kasparov defeating Fabi in an unrated competition
After the big announcement of the comeback, the chess world was buzzing and couldn't wait for the start of the competition. Even though Kasparov played some events, this would be the first rated tournament after 12 (!) years. Is he going to play more after or is he going to re-announce his withdrawal? Put your bets! Here is an "antic" blitz game against Kramnik:
Leiner Dominguez Perez
The 4 time Cuban Champion can be dangerous
Dominguez has not played any tournaments in 2017, but for the past few years he managed to maintain himself as a Super-GM. His best tournament result was in Barcelona in 2006, where he scored 8/9 and finished first, ahead of Vassily Ivanchuk, with a performance rating of 2932! He was also World Blitz Champion nine years ago. How will he play against this strong field after a long break? I personally do not think he will impress either the public or his opponents. Meanwhile, a fine attacking game from 2008:
Czech Number 1 has a degree in logic at Charles University in Prague
On the other side of the spectrum, Navara played quite a bit this year... but not so great. Most recently, he lost badly in a match against Ivanchuk and finished on a dissapointing eigth place in Biel where he started as the first seed. Nevertheless, he will be looking to regain his form and put up a fight in Saint Louis. Is he going to be succesful? Hard to believe, but you never know.
For now, enjoy this beautiful queen sacrifice:
Just graduated from the Webster University in Saint Louis in May
Vietnam's number one was very constant during the course of the last years. This remained true in 2017: he won the HD Bank Cup in his home country coming ahead of Wei Yi; finished second in the strong Danzhou tournament and second in the World Open. In rapid and blitz, he is a top performer. He even won the 2013 World Blitz Championship, so he is a player to look out for. Check out this amazing combination created by Le: