By Tatev Abrahamyan
As if the last round of the Sinquefield Cup was not thrilling enough, the fans were treated to one final and less formal event, Ultimate Moves. Unlike regular tournaments that require quiet and concentration, Ultimate Moves is a fun team event that actually encourages banter and “trash talking” between the teams. The Saint Louis Chess Club was full of spectators who were excited to see their favorite players in a more relaxed atmosphere, showing the fun side of their personalities. Once again, the event was broadcasted online, with WGM Jennifer Shahade and GM Alejandro Ramirez analyzing in the studio and GM Maurice Ashley hosting the event and interviewing the players as the games were being played, sometimes while someone was making a move!
The two teams were “Team Rex”, lead by the founder of the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center and “Team Randy”, lead by Rex’s son, and the President of Spectrum Studios. As a special treat, legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov and world class commentator Yasser Seirawan joined the battle. The event was a 6-round blitz match, with the players alternating turns after five moves. The teams and opponents were as follows:
Rex Sinquefield vs Randy Sinquefield
GM Garry Kasparov vs GM Wesley So
GM Fabiano Caruana vs GM Viswanathan Anand
GM Hikaru Nakamura vs GM Veselin Topalov
GM Anish Giri vs GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
GM Ding Liren vs GM Levon Aronian
GM Peter Svidler vs GM Yasser Seirawan
The Sinquefield Cup winner, Wesley So, was extremely excited and in good spirits to be facing off with Garry Kasparov, accepting two of his resignations, as the former World Champion was forced to admit defeat after Rex Sinquefield’s dubious moves. All the players were relaxed and did not hold back while playfully insulting their opponents and cheering on their teammates. After 6 games, the score was 3-3 so an Armageddon game was played with the same format, except the players alternated turns after each move and the time control was 10 minutes each, instead of 5 minutes. Rex Sinquefield delivered the final blow and Yasser Seirawan resigned on his team’s behalf, as it was his mistake that cost them the match. Team Rex cheered on excitedly as Levon Aronian praised Randy, saying that he played exceptionally well, exceeding all expectations by a mile. Ultimate Moves has been part of the Sinquefield Cup since 2014. The score between Team Rex vs Team Randy is now 2-1, giving the Chess Club founder bragging rights over his son for the next year.