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Chess Champions Crowned: 2021 Grand Chess Tour won by American Grandmaster Wesley So
American Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura Claims Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz Title;
French Grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave wins the Sinquefield Cup
SAINT LOUIS, Friday, August 27, 2021 – This month, 12 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, with a total of $475,000 in prizes, were the fourth and fifth legs of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour.
Kicking off on August 11, the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament featured three days of three-round rapid competition followed by two days of nine-round blitz chess. Running from August 16-28, the Sinquefield Cup featured five full tour competitors and five wildcards.
Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura was named this year’s champion of the 2021 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, while Grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave emerged victorious at the 2021 Sinquefield Cup.
Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz
This event featured four full tour players and six wildcards, which included the 2018 Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz winner, Hikaru Nakamura.
On the final day, Hikaru Nakamura clinched clear first place with 3 rounds to spare. Such a feat is incredibly impressive on its own, given the strength of the 2021 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz field. After 9 rapid games and 18 blitz games over the course of 5 days, the American favorite and popular Twitch streamer, did not lose a single one.
At the closing ceremony on August 16, Hikaru Nakamura was crowned the champion of the 2021 Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz. The American speed demon demonstrated impressive form throughout the event and ultimately won the $37,500 prize for his remarkable efforts. Fabiano Caruana narrowly edged out Richard Rapport to capture clear 2nd place and a nice paycheck of $25,000.
“It was nice to be back in Saint Louis, to see all the familiar faces and of course to win the tournament was certainly the best part of this experience. Thanks to all the fans who watched the tournament online, it’s great to see that chess in Saint Louis is thriving,” said Nakamura at the tournament closing ceremony.
Following the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, five of the tournament’s full tour players returned for the Sinquefield Cup, including World Number 2, Fabiano Caruana and 2017 Sinquefield Cup winner, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The tournament featured a total prize fund of $325,000, the largest in the world for similar events.
In round 9, Vachier-Lagrave played a quick draw against Mamedyarov to secure his victory, while his closest rivals were unable to catch him. MVL is the first two-time clear winner of the event, having also taken first place in the 2017 edition. For his efforts, Vachier-Lagrave earns $90,000 in prize money, as well as a bonus $50,000 for finishing second in the overall Grand Chess Tour.
“The first time I won the Sinquefield Cup, I was eager to prove my worth. Over the last few years I felt that I have proven my skill. This 2021 Sinquefield Cup win feels more like redemption,” said Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
American Grandmaster Wesley So secured the 2021 Grand Chess Tour overall by round 8. Ultimately after nine rounds, So tied for second in the 2021 Sinquefield Cup with his fellow American players, Fabiano Caruana and Leinier Dominguez.
“I am so happy to have won the 2021 Grand Chess Tour once again. I’m honestly surprised at this win as I missed some chances earlier on in the tournament. I’m very fortunate to have won the tour and I want to thank the Grand Chess Tour for continuing to put on these excellent events,” said Wesley So.
“We are thrilled that we were able to complete the 2021 Grand Chess Tour from start to finish with five over the board events while also overcoming COVID-19 challenges and travel restrictions. For all those involved with the events this year we consider it to have been a huge success,” said Executive Director Michael Khodarkovsky. “We are excited to be adding a new tournament location for the 2022 Grand Chess Tour and look forward to bringing back the world’s best chess players again next year.”
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 2021 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX. The tournament will take place September 7-10 and will feature ten of the world’s best players, including legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov competing in Fischer Random chess.
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 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 2021 events will comply with local and regional COVID-19 restrictions.
The GCT is sponsored by the Superbet Foundation, Vivendi, Colliers International, and the Saint Louis Chess Club. All Grand Chess Tour 2021 events will comply with local and regional COVID-19 restrictions. For more information about the tour, please visit grandchesstour.org