So Breaks Draw Streak At 2023 Sinquefield Cup
Will So's victory inspire the other players to take more risks? Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

So Breaks Draw Streak At 2023 Sinquefield Cup

| 29 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Wesley So scored the first victory at the 2023 Sinquefield Cup on Friday. When GM Richard Rapport sacrificed for dynamic ideas in the King's Indian Defense, So navigated his way to safety while increasing his material edge.

GMs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alireza Firouzja were also on the verge of gaining decisive advantages, but at critical moments they overlooked tactical opportunities. 

The Sinquefield Cup continues with round five on Saturday, November 25, at 2:30 p.m. ET/20:30 CET/1 a.m. IST.

Standings After Round 4

After playing round three on Thanksgiving Day, the players and organizers celebrated the holiday with a feast together.  

As round four began, one question lingered in the air, would the day bring the first decisive game?

GM Hikaru Nakamura shared his thoughts.

So vs. Rapport

So was surprised by Rapport’s choice of the King’s Indian Defense: “I didn’t expect the King’s Indian because it takes a lot of courage to play in a classical game.” Despite catching his opponent by surprise, Rapport struggled to equalize.

Facing a daunting defensive task in a worse position, Rapport sacrificed the exchange with the hopes of generating counterplay. So revealed: “Objectively, he has to defend a bad position, but I don’t think it’s his style with the bad bishop.” The first victory of the event is our Game of the Day, with analysis by GM Rafael Leitao.

Giri vs. Vachier-Lagrave

GMs Anish Giri and Vachier-Lagrave reached complications early in their game. On move 11, a series of tactical blows erupted, requiring precision from both players. How did Giri maintain his slight first-move advantage in the position below?

White to move.

The smoke eventually cleared, leaving Giri with a rook and pawn against Vachier-Lagrave's bishop and knight. After reaching equality, the French grandmaster outplayed his opponent to gain better piece coordination. When Giri made an error, Vachier-Lagrave was presented with a tactical chance. 

Giri shares his feelings on the game after it concludes. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Firouzja vs. Dominguez

Firouzja vs. GM Leinier Dominguez was another game on the verge of a decisive result. Firouzja felt the critical moment is on move 25: "I think here I came the closest to winning."

Did Firouzja hope his change of attire would inspire a win? Photo: Austin Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Nepomniachtchi vs. Caruana

Fueled by dynamic piece play, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi turned his hanging pawns into a force in the center vs. GM Fabiano Caruana. Yet, the two-time challenger pushed these pawns too quickly and allowed Caruana to escape the pressure. 

Pairings - Round 4

White Black
Nepomniachtchi 1/2 - 1/2 Caruana
Firouzja 1/2 - 1/2 Dominguez
Giri 1/2 - 1/2 Vachier-Lagrave
So 1 - 0 Rapport
Aronian Rest Day

Pairings - Round 5

White Black
Dominguez - So
Aronian - Firouzja
Rapport - Giri
Vachier-Lagrave - Nepomniachtchi
Caruana Rest Day

How to watch the 2023 Sinquefield Cup

You can keep up with all the games and results of the tournament on our live events platform by following this link.

All Games

The 2023 Sinquefield Cup is the strongest international classical OTB tournament in the U.S. and the final leg of the 2023 Grand Chess Tour. Starting November 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET/20:30 CET/01:00 (+1) IST, 10 elite grandmasters will compete for their share of the $350,000 prize fund.

Previous Coverage

More from NM NM_Vanessa
Saint Louis Breaks Webster's Winning Streak, Missouri Defeats Rio Grande

Saint Louis Breaks Webster's Winning Streak, Missouri Defeats Rio Grande

New ChessMom Initiative Encourages Support For Competitors With Children

New ChessMom Initiative Encourages Support For Competitors With Children