2023 Sinquefield Cup - Day 3 Recap

by WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova


Breaking news was delivered shortly before the start of the third round of the Sinquefield Cup, as GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda withdrew from the tournament due to health issues. This meant that GM Leinier Dominguez essentially received a rest day, as the rest of the field continued to battle it out. But once again, after the dust settled, the draw curse is still alive with all draws yet again in Round 3. Additionally, due to Duda’s withdrawal from the event, players will now play 8 games and GM Anish Giri’s draw in the first round against Duda will be voided.


Standings after the third round. GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda has withdrawn from the event.


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 3. Peace on all boards once again.


RAPPORT-FIROUZJA | ½-½, 35 moves

This game got off to a promising start, as Rapport chose 5.Nc3 against the Petroff, deviating from his choice in Round 1. Firouzja surprised everyone with 9…Nb6, opting away from the normal placement of the black knight on f6. Fire came on the board as the players contested a fresh position, with the ever-creative Rapport coming up with 13.c4!?, a move “not in the top 10 moves” of commentator GM Peter Svidler, and Firouzja responding 2 moves later with 15…Bxb2+. Just when the game seemed to reach its climax and Black’s position hanging in the balance, Rapport bailed out to a level endgame and the players split the point. 


Rapport-Firouzja: Complications strewn all over the board, and Rapport liquidated with 18.Bc7; 18.Be5! then Qg3 or 18.Qg3! first then Be5 would’ve given White the upper hand.


| Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes


GIRI-SO | ½-½, 39 moves

Two potential 2024 Candidates faced off with hopes of gaining an edge in the race for a Candidates spot, but no harm, no foul. Known for his solid style, So met Giri’s 1.e4 with the Berlin, and the two headed into the topical Anti-Berlin after 4.d3 Bc5. An unbalanced game quickly headed towards a draw after both sides locked up the position, and a repetition ended the game before time control. 


Fighting for a spot in the Candidates, will nerves play a role as the race comes down to the wire?

| Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes



Aronian opted for the less popular 4.e3 in the Queen’s Gambit, but it was not enough to deter Nepomniachtchi as he diffused the complications with accurate calculation. Soon an approximately balanced endgame was reached, and when Aronian decided on further simplifications, the game was the first to be in the books; an uneventful and accurate-played draw.



Having experimented with various lines in the Spanish recently, Caruana turned to the Zaitsev as his weapon of choice against Vachier-Lagrave. But once again a position filled with tension was turned into a quick skirmish and mass liquidation with Caruana’s 19…bxa4 followed by 20…d5. Though Vachier-Lagrave kept trying, entering a two minor pieces versus a rook ending, a draw was never far from sight and the players settled to share the point on move 42. 


Vachier-Lagrave-Caruana: Caruana’s accurate calculation led to simplification, and Vachier’s attempt to spice up the game with 25. Rxe5 here was to no avail; draw.


| Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes



Due to the health issues that were reported yesterday, Duda decided to withdraw from the tournament. On his X account, he remarked, “I regret to have to withdraw from the competition due to serious health issues. I appreciate all the effort from organizers to help me, but unfortunately I am not able to compete. I wish all players and spectators a great event.” We wish him a fast recovery and best wishes.

Round 4 Pairings


The Sinquefield Cup continues tomorrow, November 24, 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!