2023 Sinquefield Cup - Day 2 Recap

by WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova


The second round of the Sinquefield Cup, the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour, was full of surprises. News of Duda’s sickness rocked Round 2 and his scheduled game against Rapport had to be postponed. Meanwhile in other games the players brought the fight as usual, but all the games fizzled to a draw as they did in Round 1.

Standings after the second round. Note that Rapport and Duda are yet to play their game.


Check out the full replay of live coverage from the day here. The event features a 10-player round-robin format with a time control of 90 minutes for 40 moves, with an added 30 minutes for the rest of the game, plus a 30 second increment from move 1.


Results from Round 2


With a quiet start to this game, both players seemed to be comfortable as a draw loomed as the most likely result. Draw indeed we got, but not in the smooth way we expected. Dominguez pressed against Nepomniachtchi’s backward d2 pawn, and a few inaccurate moves left Dominguez a pawn up with all the chances in the world. Yet a seemingly innocuous move handed Nepomniachtchi the initiative, and he rode that momentum all the way to a winning position as Dominguez’s time dwindled down. 

Nepomniachtchi-Dominguez: Nepo’s 69.d7 threw away the advantage; instead 69.f4! would’ve won the game

One misstep late in the game by Nepo and the contest finished in equality.

| Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

FIROUZJA-GIRI | ½-½, 30 moves

Two of the potential 2024 Candidates participants faced off against each other today, and as expected, the game did not disappoint. Firouzja showed opening prowess with his 9.b3, however Giri responded with a fierce counter. After 12…f5, Firouzja spent almost 20 mins calculating the position as Anish played quickly. The game reached its climax after 14…e4, to which Firouzja’s 15.dxe4 was met by 15...Nxf2, allowing liquidation and a draw shortly thereafter. 

15. dxe4 (instead of 15.Ne1) proved inaccurate, but Giri bailed out with 15...Nxf2 16. exf5 Qd1+

SO-VACHIER-LAGRAVE | ½-½, 31 moves

So essayed the trendy 6.Bd3 against Vachier's Najdorf. Both players appeared to know the line well, and reached an equal position pretty quickly. The game ended in an accurate, well-played draw.

CARUANA-ARONIAN | ½-½, 50 moves

The most exciting game was delivered by Caruana and Aronian. An unorthodox 7…exd4!? from Aronian steered the game into uncharted territory as the players kept approximate balance for a while in a complicated struggle. Then the always-creative Aronian, noticing Caruana’s lack of time, provoked Fabi into an exchange sacrifice with 27…c6!?. Caruana duly accepted, and Aronian made a critical mistake on move 31. 

Caruana-Aronian: 31…c3? allowed the white knight a passage to c5 via d2-b3

However Levon fought like a lion and Caruana was forced to acquiesce to a repetition shortly after time control.

| Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes


Citing health issues, Duda couldn't make it to the game, and hence the battle between Duda and Rapport was postponed to another time. Jan-Krzysztof posted on his Twitter, “More info will come." We hope Duda will recover soon and will get back to the battlefield tomorrow! 

The moment when Richard Rapport found out that he will have a free day.

| Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Round 3 Pairings

The Sinquefield Cup continues tomorrow, November 23, with live coverage starting at 1:15 PM CST. Catch all the action live with grandmaster commentators Yasser Seirawan, Peter Svidler, and Jovanka Houska on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels!