Even Stronger 2nd Cairns Cup Starts Today
A shot from last year's Cairns Cup. Photo: Saint Louis Chess Club.

Even Stronger 2nd Cairns Cup Starts Today

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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35 | Chess Event Coverage

After the recent Women's World Championship, more top-level chess can be enjoyed in the coming days as the second Cairns Cup gets set to start. It is one of the highest-rated all-female tournaments in chess history, with Women's World Champion GM Ju Wenjun as the top seed and GM Valentina Gunina as title defender.

You can follow the tournament here as part of our live portal. Chess.com is offering a daily, live commentary broadcast with GM Robert Hess, IM Hans Niemann, GM Roeland Pruijssers and WFM Anna Cramling on Chess.com/tv. The rounds start at 1 p.m. local time which is 11 a.m. Pacific and 20:00 Central European Time, with rounds on Feb. 7-11 and 13-16.


The official broadcast has WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Yasser Seirawan, and GM Alejandro Ramirez, and there's a Russian-language broadcast with IM Almira Skripchenko and WGM Anastasiya Karlovich, on www.uschesschamps.com.


Born a year ago, the tournament is named after Saint Louis Chess Club co-founder Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, whose maiden name is Cairns. Last year, she expressed hope that the tournament would become one of the premier chess tournaments in the world.

That seems to already be the case when it comes to women's chess. The first edition was a very successful event, full of great fights among some of the best female players in the world. Eventually, Gunina came out on top to score one of her career-best performances:

Later today the second edition of the Cairns Cup will be officially opened at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, USA. The first round will be played on Friday. Once again the Saint Louis Chess Club is hosting the tournament, from Feb. 7 through Feb. 16, 2020.

The second Cairns Cup, again a 10-player round-robin, will be one of the strongest all-female tournaments ever held. Its field features women from six different countries and consists of legendary champions, including the 2019 Cairns Cup winner Gunina, Women's World Chess Champion Ju Wenjun, Women's World Rapid Champion GM Humpy Koneru, Women's World Blitz Champion GM Kateryna Lagno and seven-time U.S. Women's Champion GM Irina Krush.

The other players are former Women's World Champions GM Mariya Muzychuk and GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, three-time bronze medalist at Women's World Championships GM Harika Dronavalli, Olympic gold medallist GM Nana Dzagnidze and the young talent WGM Carissa Yip.

2nd Cairns Cup | Participants

# Fed Title Name Rating Rank B-Year
1 GM Ju Wenjun 2583 2 1991
2 GM Koneru, Humpy 2580 3 1987
3 GM Lagno, Kateryna 2552 5 1989
4 GM Muzychuk, Mariya 2552 6 1992
5 GM Harika, Dronavalli 2518 9 1991
6 GM Dzagnidze, Nana 2515 10 1987
7 GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2504 11 1984
8 GM Gunina, Valentina 2461 25 1989
9 GM Krush, Irina 2422 42 1983
10 WGM Yip, Carissa 2412 51 2003

The prize fund is $180,000, an increase of 20 percent compared to last year. The top-three finishers will receive $45,000, $35,000, and $25,000, respectively. Apart from a world championship, such a sum has never been at stake in a women's event.

"The continued growth of the Cairns Cup in its second year is an indicator that women's chess will continue to reach unprecedented heights in the years to come," said Sinquefield.


Editor's note: The article has been updated and no longer claims that the tournament is the highest-rated tournament for women ever. For instance, the 2019 Candidates Tournament and the 2019 Skolkovo GP were stronger.

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