2019 Sinquefield Cup Playoff and Ultimate Moves Recap

The 2019 Sinquefield Cup came to an exciting conclusion in a tiebreak match between Ding Liren and Magnus Carlsen. The day kicked off with two rapid games, both of which concluded in a draw. In the first game, the World Champion had to resort to passive defense to save the half point with the white pieces then went on to draw comfortably with the black pieces. From there the match moved on to blitz, the fastest time control in chess. In the first thrilling game, Ding Liren outplayed his opponent but was having difficulty putting in the finishing touch to get the full point. With seconds left on the clock, after just one second hesitation, Carlsen ran out of time, thus conceding the game. This result meant that he was in a must win situation to keep the match going. The spectacular second blitz game is how the tournament will be remembered, as Ding delivered the final blow in a lightning fast speed, stunning his opponent. The final position was so picturesque, that even the World Champion couldn’t help but smile upon resignation. Ding Liren earns $82,500 and 16 GCT points for his efforts. He is now in second place in overall GCT standings and has almost certainly punched his ticket to London Finals.


Final standings with prize distributions


Overall Grand Chess Tour standings


Ultimate Moves Recap


After the thrilling finale, the fans were treated to the relaxing and fun part of the event, Ultimate Moves. This laid back, casual exhibition included all the Sinquefield Cup players as well as legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov and well-known commentator and Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan. The players are split into two teams, with each player making 5 moves before passing the baton to the next one.

The two teams were “Team Rex,” led by the founder of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) and “Team Randy”, led by Rex’s son, and the president of Spectrum Studios.  The teams were: 


Ultimate Moves Teams


Team Randy

Team Rex

Randy Sinquefield

Rex Sinquefield

Fabiano Caruana

Garry Kasparov

Hikaru Nakamura

Magnus Carlsen

Vishy Anand

Yasser Seirawan

Levon Aronian

Ding Liren

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Wesley So

Anish Giri

Sergey Karjakin

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov


Randy Sinquefield makes a move against his father, Rex Sinquefield 


As usual, the event was fun and filled with friendly banter and trash talking. The room was full of spectators who enjoyed watching their favorite players in a more relaxed atmosphere.  Team Randy took an early lead with the win in round two but team Rex evened the score in round 4. After winning in round 5, Randy clinched the win for his team by delivering checkmate to his dad on the board. The lifetime score between the two teams is now 3-2, in favor of Team Rex.  


Team Randy cheers on as Garry Kasparov offers a draw