Top Players Ready For Battle In Sinquefield Cup

Top Players Ready For Battle In Sinquefield Cup

| 21 | Chess Event Coverage

It's one of the strongest round robins in 2016, and it's just around the corner. On Friday the Grand Chess Tour resumes with the fourth Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis. Preview!

Another preview by GM Robert Hess will be posted on tomorrow, with a break-down of all the participants and head-to-head stats and recent games.

Even without the participation of the Norwegian star GM Magnus Carlsen, the Sinquefield Cup is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Seven of the 10 participants are in the current top 10 of the world, two of them are rated 2800+, and the average rating is a staggering 2779.

The top seed is GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), who got his rating to 2819 thanks to victories in Dortmund and Biel.

Sinquefield Cup Participants

# Fed Name Rtg Age
1 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2819 25
2 Caruana, Fabiano 2807 24
3 Aronian, Levon 2792 34
4 Nakamura, Hikaru 2791 28
5 So, Wesley 2771 22
6 Anand, Viswanathan 2770 46
7 Giri, Anish 2769 22
8 Topalov, Veselin 2761 41
9 Ding Liren 2755 23
10 Svidler, Peter 2751 40

GM Ding Liren (China) is the wild card for this tournament. Peter Svidler (Russia) replaces GM Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), who is suffering from back problems. The other eight participants are regular 2016 Grand Chess Tour participants.

The tournament runs Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 14, with rounds starting at 1 p.m. local time (11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. CET). Wednesday, August 10 is a rest day. Monday, August 15 is reserved for both the closing ceremony and a playoff. The latter is needed in case two or more players will tie for first place.

Official preview by the Grand Chess Tour:

Normally the Sinquefield Cup is held in late August, but when the Olympiad in Baku was moved to early September the organizers in St. Louis were forced to move their tournament as well. As always the location will be held at the Chess and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis in the central west end in St. Louis.

The players were requested to arrive a couple of days early for photo and video shoots, autograph sessions and meetings with the media. On Tuesday night some of them joined Rex Sinquefield and watched AS Roma beat Liverpool 2-1 at the Busch Stadium.

A friendly football (or “soccer”) match in the Busch Stadium, normally the
host of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball matches. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

Headline photo | left to right: Eric Hansen, Robin van Kampen, Anish Giri, Fabiano Caruana, Rex Sinquefield, Vishy Anand, Grzegorz Gajewski, Levon Aronian, Yasser Seirawan. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

GM Fabiano Caruana, who won his first U.S. championship earlier this year in the same venue, was one of the first players to arrive. And what do you do when you've got plenty of time on your hands? You join the Chessbrahs for some King of the Hill chess! (Main rule: king on one of the central squares wins the game.)

Some technical details: The time control is two hours for 40 moves, then one hour for the rest of the game with an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 41. The prize fund is U.S. $300,000, with $75,000 for the winner. Grand Chess Tour points will be awarded related to the tournament final standings.

Below are the current GCT standings.

The first tournament in the Grand Chess Tour, in Paris, was won by Hikaru Nakamura. The second, in Leuven, was won by Magnus Carlsen, who will not participate in the remainder and is therefore without tour points. Wesley So's combined result in Paris and Leuven got him to shared first place with Nakamura. The Sinquefield Cup is the third of four legs; the tour finishes with the London Chess Classic in December. 

The first Sinquefield Cup, in 2013, was a four-player double round-robin. It was won by Magnus Carlsen, ahead of Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian and Gata Kamsky. The 2014 edition, a six-player double round-robin, was a historic event. The eventual winner, Fabiano Caruana, started with seven straight wins. Last year the winner was Levon Aronian, who finished a point ahead of four players.

You can watch the games of the Sinquefield Cup in Live Chess. Commentary by GMs Eric Hansen, Maurice Ashley, and Yasser Seirawan and WGM Jennifer Shahade will be available at from Friday, August 5 till Sunday, August 14, with rounds starting at 1 p.m. local time (11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. CET).

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