The tradition of no repeat winners in the Sinquefield Cup ended in the most unexpected fashion. At the end of the day, there were three winners! Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian tied for first place, while Caruana also tied for fourth place in the Grand Chess Tour standings with Wesley So. According to the rules, one of the players would have to be eliminated by a drawing of lots in a three-way tie, meaning that Caruana could potentially play two tiebreaks: One for the Sinquefield Cup and another for the Grand Chess Tour. The three players decided that they would rather share the title than have one of the players eliminated from participating in playoffs due to random chance. Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave qualified for the Grand Chess Tour Finals, while Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So will battle it out tomorrow for their ticket to the finale in London.
2018 Sinquefield Cup Recap
After another peaceful day in Saint Louis, American Fabiano Caruana remains half a point ahead of the field. He is still being chased by a pack of players, including World Champion Magnus Carlsen. In the final round, he will be facing off against his Olympic teammate Wesley So, while his other teammate Hikaru Nakamura will have the black pieces against the World Champion.
A large crowd gathered at the Saint Louis Chess Club to watch the encounter between the World Champion and his challenger. The face off attracted so much attention that only media was allowed in the playing hall for the first 15 minutes of the game, while the fans patiently waited their turn. The game eventually ended in a draw, but the final result does not tell all the drama that happened during the four hours of gameplay.
After the rest day, five players came ready to separate themselves from the pack, but only one succeeded. Fabiano Caruana is now leading the tournament after defeating Sergey Karjakin. The only other leader who had winning chances, Alexander Grischuk, let Magnus Carlsen escape with a draw. The highly anticipated faceoff between Carlsen and Caruana will happen tomorrow in round 7. This will be their last encounter before their upcoming World Championship match in November.
There were no changes in the standings after a peaceful day in Saint Louis. For the first time in the tournament, all the games ended in draws but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. Both Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura had excellent chances to score a full point but vigilant defense was the theme of the day. At the end of the day, five players still remain tied for first place as the first half of the tournament is in the books.
Magnus Carlsen’s prediction of four draws and one long decisive game came true. While the leaders drew quickly, Fabiano Caruana’s win over his countryman Hikaru Nakamura allowed him to join the pack.
The fight for first place and the ticket to the Grand Chess Tour finals in London is getting tighter as now there is a four-way tie for first place. After Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Magnus Carlsen, and Levon Aronian drew their games, the door was wide open for Alexander Grischuk to enter the leaderboard.
At the end of a marathon 88-move game, Magnus Carlsen emerged as the only victor of the round, joining Mamedyarov and Aronian in a tie for first place. Four out of the five games ended in draws within the first three hours of the day, but the World Champion was determined to put his white pieces to good use. After 6.5 hours, Sergey Karjakin finally admitted defeat – his second one in a row. Carlsen was quite satisfied with his victory, specifically because he felt as though he hadn’t had a chance to win such a game in a long time, especially during his last World Championship match. Although exhausted, he was gracious enough to sign autographs and pose with fans for photos after the game. Tomorrow’s round is crucial for the standing as Carlsen will be facing one of his closest rivals, Levon Aronian with the black pieces, while the other co-leader, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will have the white pieces against Fabiano Caruana.
Day one of the 2018 Sinquefield Cup produced two early leaders: Levon Aronian and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. While Aronian is no stranger to success in Saint Louis, having won the Sinquefield Cup in 2015 and the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz in 2017, Mamedyarov is making his debut as an official player in the Grand Chess Tour. His first ever classical game in Saint Louis was a one sided affair, where his opponent Wesley So never had any chances of equalizing. For once, Levon Aronian was on the white side of the Berlin Defense, showing off both his flexibility and flawless technique in a fine victory. The fighting spirit of the players is high and round two promises to bring more excitement!