SAINT LOUIS, Wednesday, September 14 - This month, 13 of the world’s best chess grandmasters participated in the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz and Sinquefield Cup at the Saint Louis Chess Club. The tournaments and overall tour winnings totaled $675,000 in prizes that was the culmination of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour.
Kicking off on August 25th, the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz featured three days of rapid competition followed by two days of blitz. Running from September 1 - September 12, the Sinquefield Cup featured eight full tour players and two wildcards, World Champion Magnus Carlsen and American junior GM Hans Niemann. This year’s Sinquefield Cup was surrounded by media coverage when the reigning World Champion, Magnus Carlsen withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup after his defeat in round 3 by GM Hans Niemann.
Nineteen year old Iranian born Grandmaster Alireza Firouzja, representing France won the 2022 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, Sinquefield Cup and was also crowned the 2022 Grand Chess Tour Champion.
Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz
This event featured seven full tour players and three wildcards, which included the 2021 Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz winner, Hikaru Nakamura and American Jeffery Xiong who was a last minute replacement for full tour player Richard Rapport who was unable to participate due to US travel restrictions.
The fifth day of Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz was smooth sailing for Alireza Firouzja, who made it to the top of the standings and won the 2022 St Louis Grand Chess Tour with four rounds to spare. Alireza scored a combined 26/36 points overall and collected the $40,000 first place prize for his efforts. The 2021 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz winner, Hikaru Nakamura finished the tournament in second place with one round to go, while Maxime Vachier-Lagrave tied for third place with Fabiano Caruana.
“It was a dream come true for me to play here in Saint Louis,” stated Firouzja “I promised myself I would win a tournament while I was here and that dream came true. It means a lot to be able to win this tournament as this Rapid and Blitz was the strongest field in this year’s Grand Chess Tour.”
The Sinquefield Cup
Following the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, eight of the tournament’s full tour players returned for the Sinquefield Cup, including World Champion Magnus Carlsen and 2021 Sinquefield Cup winner, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The tournament featured a total prize fund of $350,000, the largest in the world for similar events.
Firouzja’s last round game ended in a draw against fellow Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, allowing him to clinch first in the overall GCT standings, with the Sinquefield Cup still very much undecided. Ultimately, Alireza Firouzja faced off against Ian Nepomniachtchi in a rapid playoff. The first game ended in a draw and then Firouzja won the final game and secured the 2022 Sinquefield Cup title.
“It feels great to win the Sinquefield Cup against such a difficult competitor like Ian,” said Firouzja in his post-playoff interview, “I’m really pleased with my Grand Chess Tour results for my first visit to Saint Louis.”
“In general the Grand Chess Tour is the toughest tour in the history of chess I think, so to win it is an amazing feeling and I cannot be more happy," said Firouzja after securing tour victory with a draw against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in yesterday’s final round.
“We are thrilled to have another successful and exciting season for the 2022 Grand Chess Tour,” said Executive Director Michael Khodarkovsky. “Although the Sinquefield Cup had added drama this year, our fans were able to enjoy some amazing chess play, especially by our triple crown winner, Alireza Firouzja. We look forward to bringing back the world’s best chess players again next year for the 2023 Grand Chess Tour.”
Chess fans won’t have to wait long as the next over-the-board event to be hosted at the Saint Louis Chess Club will be the 2022 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX. The tournament will take place September 13-16 and will feature ten of the world’s best players, including legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov competing in Fischer Random chess.
2022 Grand Chess Tour Major Sponsors
About the Grand Chess Tour
The Grand Chess Tour is a circuit of international events, each demonstrating the highest level of organization for the world's best players. The legendary Garry Kasparov, one of the world's greatest ambassadors for chess, inspired the Grand Chess Tour and helped solidify the partnership between the organizers. All Grand Chess Tour 2022 events will comply with local and regional COVID-19 restrictions. For more information about the tour, please visit grandchesstour.org.
About the Saint Louis Chess Club
The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.
Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit saintlouischessclub.org.
About the Superbet Foundation
Founded in 2019, Superbet Foundation is a nonprofit organization. Its role is to coordinate Superbet Group’s CSR activities and to connect with civil society organizations and the general public. Through its activity, the Foundation strives for a better world, with healthy and educated people and by supporting various projects it wants to inspire people to hold unbreakable moral values. It supports projects in domains like education, health, culture, performance in sport and, most notably, in chess. Since 2019, chess has become one of the backbones of Superbet Foundation by organizing its first tournament of the Grand Chess Tour in Bucharest. The Foundation is committed to turning GCT tournaments into a tradition for the Romanian and Polish chess communities. For more information, visit superchess.ro.