All Draws in Rd. 9 in St. Louis | Update: VIDEOS

All Draws in Rd. 9 in St. Louis | Update: VIDEOS

After eight rounds of streaks and subplots, the results calmed today in St. Louis. It didn't have to be that way.

For the first time all event, no one broke through for a win in the 2014 Sinquefield Cup. In round 9 both GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Fabiano Caruana, the numbers one and two in the world, missed wins in their games. 

Carlsen slipped in the endgame against GM Levon Aronian, which caused him great anguish in the post-game interview. Caruana missed a series of wins against GM Hikaru Nakamura, one of which was right at the time control.

GMs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Veselin Topalov also drew.

All graphical images courtesy Eric Mousel and Spectrum Studios

GM Fabiano Caruana failed to win for the second round in a row, which is about as much criticism as can be levied against him at this point. For GM Hikaru Nakamura, he still wasn't able to register his first win, but at least he benefitted from his first luck of the event.

Caruana already clinched clear first yesterday but still admitted to being disappointed with the result. 

GM Fabiano Caruana proved he's human, though he could have easily been 9-0

"I was trying to win," he said. "I outplayed him...I started to miss many ideas."

When asked what specific move he regretted, Caruana responded, "Nearly every move for about 10 moves."

Games via TWIC

Nakamura snagged a half point after leaving other full and half points on the table earlier in the tournament (such as the round 3 loss to Topalov).

GM Hikaru Nakamura held a Berlin endgame a day after being victimized in one
Chess.com spoke with Nakamura about the struggles in his tournament. Here's the video:

GM Magnus Carlsen missed a chance to secure at least a share of second place (a standing he's not particularly fond of fighting for). In an endgame with three extra pawns, the win eluded him. The mistake -- a superfluous nuance -- seemed facile but proved vital.
"Kc2 was just an easy win," Carlsen said of his 46th move. He wanted to push Black's king back farther but missed Black's response.
GM Magnus Carlsen said he has finished at least +2 in all of his last 20 events; he must win tomorrow to finish +2.
He called the endgame a "very simple win." During the post-game on-air interview, he could be seen throwing his hands up several times, exasperated at his play.

"It's such a stupid slip today," Carlsen said. "I had 20 minutes -- more than enough time to calculate things and recheck." 

GM Levon Aronian held the draw after the world champion's inexactness

Carlsen also admitted to missing moves like 31...Be8. He said he was fortunate to have winning chances after that.


GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave went for the King's Indian Attack against GM Veselin Topalov but the game stayed level for most of the contest.

MVL said he stayed up to watch the Roger Federer five-set comeback win against Gael Monfils. It ended at 11:30 p.m. local time, but he would have remained awake through the night to watch were he back home in France.

MVL shows off his engraved Burberry watch that players received at the opening ceremony

Asked why Federer is his favorite player, he said, "He's trying to keep an image. It's better that he's not a showoff." 

GM Veselin Topalov, 39, doing much better than GM Gata Kamsky did last year (also at 39) [photo: Lennart Ootes]

The draw ensures Topalov keeps the margin at only a half game between him an Carlsen. The two meet tomorrow in the final round. The winner takes second place clear.

Chess.com spoke with Topalov about Carlsen's focus tomorrow, his own age and his energy level. Here's the video:

The other stories playing out in St. Louis are "The decision" and to a lesser extent, "The mini decision."

The players fighting for 2nd-5th places (photo: Lennart Ootes)

The big decision is of course whether Carlsen will sign the contract to play the world championship in Sochi, Russia. His manager, Espen Agdestein, arrived in St. Louis yesterday and promised an announcement before the Monday deadline.

While Topalov refrained from giving advice, Caruana did not hesitate. "I'd probably play the match," he said. "It's going to be difficult to get back into the cycle."

Espen Agdestein, Carlsen's manager, has the information everyone wants to know

The "mini decision" will be several players' participation in the Grand Prix events, scheduled for Tashkent, Moscow, Baku and Tehran. FIDE does not guarantee players get to chose which three events they'll get to play.

Neither Caruana nor Nakamura, both American citizens, are keen to play in Iran. The U.S. has severed diplomatic relations with Iran after the American Embassy was overrun in 1979.

"I don't think I'll play in Iran," Caruana said. "It's not entirely safe to go there."

Chess.com/TV will embed the official commentary at 2 p.m. Central (GMT -6) for every round. 

2014 Sinquefield Cup | Round 9 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2801 3162 phpfCo1l0.png 11 11 1 8.0/9
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2877 2877 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½½ ½1 5.0/9
3 Topalov,Veselin 2772 2799 00 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 11 4.5/9
4 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2768 2733 00 ½½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 3.5/9 13.75
5 Aronian,Levon 2805 2723 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½½ 3.5/9 13.50
6 Nakamura,Hikaru 2787 2643 ½0 00 ½ ½½ phpfCo1l0.png 2.5/9

2014 Sinquefield Cup | Schedule & Pairings

Round 1 27.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 6 02.09.14 14:00 CDT
Aronian ½-½ Nakamura   Nakamura ½-½ Aronian
Topalov 0-1 Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Topalov
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Round 2 28.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 7 03.09.14 14:00 CDT
Nakamura ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen 1-0 Nakamura
Caruana 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave   Vachier-Lagrave 0-1 Caruana
Aronian 1-0 Topalov   Topalov ½-½ Aronian
Round 3 29.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 8 04.09.14 14:00 CDT
Topalov 1-0 Nakamura   Nakamura 0-1 Topalov
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Aronian   Aronian ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Carlsen 0-1 Caruana   Caruana ½-½ Carlsen
Round 4 30.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 9 05.09.14 14:00 CDT
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Nakamura   Caruana ½-½ Nakamura
Carlsen ½-½ Topalov   Carlsen ½-½ Aronian
Caruana 1-0 Aronian   Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Topalov
Round 5 31.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 10 06.09.14 14:00 CDT
Nakamura 0-1 Caruana   Nakamura - Vachier-Lagrave
Aronian 0-1 Carlsen   Topalov - Carlsen
Topalov 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave   Aronian - Caruana 

phpfCo1l0.png

More from FM MikeKlein
World Chess Championship Game 4: Draw Again Despite Release Of Caruana's Training Notes

World Chess Championship Game 4: Draw Again Despite Release Of Caruana's Training Notes

World Chess Championship Game 3: Caruana Repeats Rossolimo But Can't Break Carlsen

World Chess Championship Game 3: Caruana Repeats Rossolimo But Can't Break Carlsen