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.


31989 reads 92 comments
9 votes


  • 3 years ago


    are you talking about the coverage direct from  st.louis as opposed to chess.coms coverage? the coverage with maurice , judith and yasser was brilliant!. fantastically clear video, great commentary and above all FREE!. . some people are never happy.

  • 3 years ago


    Official direct broadcasting was organized very bad. Next time don't show commentators, better show board and chess players. From commentators leave only their voices. And make a separate video camera for each board!!!
  • 3 years ago


    To Siderian: Because they are supergrandmasters and they don't blunder rooks - after exchange black would get great compensation after move d3, Nxb3 etc. 

  • 3 years ago


    Why didn't Magnus take the rook with move 31?

  • 3 years ago


    A kitten with a cotton ball !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well played

  • 3 years ago


    how to beat levon aronian (by magnus carlsen):
    step 1. play passively in the opening

    step 2. make a plan and then deviate at the last moment

    step 3. fianchetto your rook

    step 4. go Kf1-g1-f1-g1-f1 over and over

    step 5. ???

    step 6. 1-0 ! 

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen is obviously the best.

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen takes a draw - people complain...Carlsen refuses the draw - people complain...Sigh...

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    I think Carlsen declined a draw on move 48, rather then 38.

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen declined the draw because he has too much respect for the game and for the fans to deny them a good fight.

  • 3 years ago


    I'm sure I'm not the first to ask such a question. But from what I see as prizes, something around 170K, wasn't better to make more tournaments, like 5 tournaments with a 30K prize, between more GMs, which would have involved also more amateurs? With all due respect for these chess giants.

    But maybe to attract a crowd of 1000 chessplayers for tournament, would have given a better image to chess as a sport.

  • 3 years ago


    What a tournament with outstanding live coverage! I really enjoyed the games live online. The excellent trio, GMs Seirawan, Shahade, and Ashley, made the tournament very exciting and enjoyable. Congrats Carlsen and the organizers! Having heard bad news about London Classic this year (format change to rapid tournament), I would say "Goodbye London, Welcome Saint Louis".

  • 3 years ago


    @marcokim...I think the way I said might have made you mistaken...what I meant weaker in openings is that he might be less knowledgeable in the openings than compare to Kramnik or Anand...even Kramnik from world cup advise Magnus to work more in openings...openings and theories are many...and if Anand done his openings homework and at their match show off something might be new to Carlsen or less familiar..than Carlsen might be in trouble of losing...Chess is not always determine in the middle game...sometime the first couple moves dictate the what is ahead and the outcome.

  • 3 years ago


    I am surprised to see people commenting negatively about Carlsen declining the draw. Yes, he had the win with a draw, but I liked that neither of them saw the harm in playing on, and Aronian stated that he "did it for chess," which should always be more important than winning, or even the payday. Chess itself should always win out.

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen, much like Fischer used to do, plays on in equal positions because he wants to win and trusts his abilities.  How ridiculous to say that he's wrong for not accepting draws.  He is at risk for losing just as much as the other guy unless Carlsen is superior, and he continues to prove that he is.  Personally, I like his will to win.  I do think his openings are boring though.  Smile

  • 3 years ago

    WCM menuri


  • 3 years ago


    WIshbringer do you realize that Boris Gelfand, (who is at least in the top twenty) is 45 or 46?

  • 3 years ago


    Wow. I left when Magnus played 35. Nd1, when the position still looked somewhat better for Aronian. Then I looked up the result: Magnus won!

    *jedehandmove* Videos of these two games you want to make!

  • 3 years ago


    as a mere hacker can someone explain why 31.ne1 is  such a strong move?

    If this was easy to understand Aronian would have seen it. The knight eventually comes to hold the position together when he plays 45. Ned3

    That seems simple enough. However, critical question is why did Magnus go through such a complicated series of transactions (12 moves) before placing the Knight on d3? Why did he not play 33. Nd3 earlier?

    Well maybe it might take a strong grandmaster to understand that and an even more exceptional GM to explain it to us in a way we can understand.

    It is interesting to note that non of the commentators had a clue of the meaning of Ne1. I am curious what Kasparov thought about it. Magnus is just that good. And thats why he is the only GM in the world to consistently play 2800+ chess over the last 3yrs. Anand has his work cut out.

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