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Sleepless in St. Louis –

BOOM! If the considerably flaccid spherical seven on the 2022 Sinquefield Cup was a disappointment, then spherical eight delivered in a giant manner.

Match chief GM Wesley So was taken down in a dramatic sport by GM Alireza Firouzja. As GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi and Fabiano Caruana additionally received, the state of affairs forward of the final spherical is as follows: Nepomniachtchi and Firouzja share first place with 4.5 factors from seven video games, whereas Caruana has the identical rating however from eight video games and thus his match is over. In the meantime, So is now all the best way down in fourth place.

The ninth and final spherical begins Sunday, at 11:00 a.m. PT/20:00 CEST.

What a spherical! Your humble reporter needed to do respiration workouts to get the center price below management and to make the fingers cease jittering and begin typing.

In a single sport a fast repetition draw was doable, however White modified his thoughts, and the sport carried on and ended up being the final to complete. Within the others, each side breathed fireplace from the outset, though admittedly, for a few the white gamers that fireside was seemingly solely candlelight that was principally extinguished with moistened fingertips. However generally principally extinguished embers reignite…


Having had a day without work throughout spherical seven, So returned reinvigorated to battle for the match victory towards Firouzja, who has been surging ahead since his loss in spherical two. Forward of this spherical, he was only a half level behind So, and having the white items on this essential sport may be the benefit he wanted to deliver him to the highest of the leaderboard. 

Thus, he determinedly switched from the English Opening, 1.c4, which has served him exceedingly nicely up to now in St. Louis, to 1.e4 which was his most well-liked beginning transfer. 

One way or the other, it appeared that this improvement was not totally surprising for So, who was the higher ready of the 2. Within the post-game interview, it turned clear that Firouzja’s 12.Bb2 was not an intentional novelty however slightly the results of unfamiliarity with the place. Firouzja mentioned he felt silly after Black’s 14…Nh5 and White’s place actually left loads to be desired, much more so after So’s 15…Qf6!.

White’s place had deteriorated a lot that the commentators have been already assigning the victory to Black. After a number of extra strikes, the engines totally concurred, loading a “Black is profitable” evaluation on the pc screens internationally. 

So shortly obtained a decisive benefit towards Firouzja. Picture: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Sadly for So, and by chance for Firouzja, the previous tousled the win, within the equal vogue of an executioner who swung the axe in the direction of the convicted’s neck however missed so badly that the axe went previous each neck and chopping block and ended up within the executioner’s personal leg.  

From having a received place, So went to a misplaced one inside only a few strikes, replicating the doubtful feat of GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov to a couple rounds in the past, and as soon as Firouzja was higher, he executed with flawless precision.

This loss might nicely find yourself costing So a minimum of $100,000, the prize for profitable the Grand Chess Tour. Against this, by profitable this sport, Firouzja put himself in an ideal spot to win each this match and presumably the general Grand Chess Tour. If this sport won’t hold So sleepless Saturday evening, nothing will.

Firouzja and So conducting some post-game evaluation. Picture: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour. Game of the Day Dejan Bojkov


Nepomniachtchi’s possibilities of profitable the match massively improved after Carlsen’s early departure the place his loss now not counted towards the ultimate standings. Nonetheless, ever since, he had been in a position to play the sort of chess that received him the Candidates match and that he likes to play. Ending up in a collection of ready strains that made it not possible for him to do greater than squeezing some altogether dry rocks didn’t enable him to show his talents nor get nearer to profitable extra video games. Nonetheless, towards GM Levon Aronian this dry spell might come to an finish.

A somber shirt, somber play. Aronian didn’t have day on the workplace in spherical eight. Picture: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour.

On the board, Aronian performed a brand new transfer, 12.Nbd2?! that utterly miss fired, mainly handing Black a bonus. The state of affairs quickly deteriorated from there, leaving White with a two-pawn deficit. Commentator GM Alejandro Ramirez jokingly mentioned that Aronian in all probability hoped to be three pawns down, in order that he might resign with out additional ado.

Nepomniachtchi shortly obtained a profitable place, however ultimately, was fortunate to get the total level. Picture: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour.

However like within the Firouzja-So sport, a decisive benefit turned out to be lower than adequate to mechanically win the sport. Sloppy play took the sport from received for Black to barely higher for Black to equal to higher for White! However towards the time management at transfer 40, Aronian performed a few imprecise strikes, topped by a blunder on transfer 40. After that, there was no coming again, and the Russian grandmaster lastly transformed his two-pawn benefit.


Upon arriving on the Saint Louis Chess Membership, the gamers have been greeted by a welcome sight. A quartet of younger ladies, The Hans Women, had proven as much as assist GM Hans Niemann, who has confronted an onslaught of negativity and accusations since his round-three victory towards the world champion.

“The Hans Women” present their assist for Niemann, a lot to the delight of everybody passing by. Picture: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour.

Whether or not it was the ladies or sleepless nights that jolted Hans out of his pre-existing mind set or if it was deliberate preparation (nicely, it was in all probability… okay actually the latter…), we are going to go away it as much as the reader’s creativeness, however Hans did a reverse-Firouzja, swinging again from 1.e4 to 1.c4, the transfer that had served him so excellently in his second-round win towards Mamedyarov. 

Had Niemann visited Aronian’s closet? Picture: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour.

Caruana appeared prepared for the English and selected the as soon as very modern 2…Bb4 and seemingly reached a playable place with out an excessive amount of hassle, though objectively talking, White’s place was mildly preferable with extra space. Nonetheless, within the early middlegame, Niemann selected an aggressive however finally fallacious plan which gave Black the higher hand. An extra mistake meant that Black received the trade. After that, Caruana confirmed himself and the viewers why he was as soon as the second-best participant on the planet: his method was immaculate and affected person, taking residence the total level. 

A superb effort by Caruana and one other loss to Niemann, who has not received a sport since taking down the champ. For these claiming that stress and lack of sleep don’t have an effect on you, here’s a prime instance of when a superb begin led to a whole collapse on the shoulders of such components.


In spherical seven, Mamedyarov took a half-point bye or the enjoying equal of that, selecting a line that results in a drawn place proper out of the opening.

Towards GM Leinier Dominguez, he went for his trusty Open Ruy Lopez, a line he has performed, it appears, a thousand occasions earlier than, and steadily with good outcomes. Unsurprisingly, Dominguez confirmed up well-prepared and performed a novelty on transfer 18. The engines aren’t significantly impressed by the brand new transfer, however it gave Mamedyarov some new issues to unravel. His first inclination was to supply a draw by repetition, which Dominguez led to repeat one time, however then carried on, pursuing a bonus.

The pursuit was rewarded and White received a bonus. However on transfer 26, after 26.Ne1?!, Dominguez let the benefit slide out of his fingers, and for some time, it appeared like Black was over the worst. However then it was Mamedyarov’s flip to err and it occurred various occasions, finally resulting in a transparent/profitable benefit for White. 

Dominguez and Mamedyarov was ready for the fats woman to sing, however she by no means confirmed. Picture: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour.

Dominguez remodeled the benefit right into a significantly better queen ending the place he had an additional pawn and a centralized queen; it appeared like a win was across the nook. However for the St. Louis residing grandmaster, nothing has come simple on this occasion, and this sport was no exception. At first, the conversion was unsteady, permitting Mamedyarov some alternatives which weren’t taken, after which Dominguez thought and thought till he was working low on time.

They are saying it ain’t over until the fats woman sings, however both she by no means confirmed or would not cease singing, as a result of the sport went on and on. Ultimately, nonetheless, White, in a profitable place performed the horrible 76.Qb7??, utterly lacking 76…Qe1!! after which White might now not win. 

A horrible conclusion for Dominguez who stays each winless and undefeated, however this sport was eminently winnable however then wasn’t. Of the 2 gamers, I feel we all know, who will lie awake questioning why it slipped away.

Sleepless in Saint Louis? Dominguez stays winless. Picture: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour.

Resulting from GM Magnus Carlsen‘s withdrawal, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had a bye for the Saturday spherical.

All Video games Day 8

Standings After Spherical 8

# Fed Identify Rtd Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Pts SB

Nepomniachtchi,Ian 2792 2862 1 ½ ½ ½ 1

½ ½ 4.5/7 16
2 Firouzja,Alireza 2778 2854 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1

4.5/7 15
3 Caruana,Fabiano 2758 2799 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 4.5/8 14.5
4 So,Wesley 2771 2805 ½ 0 1

½ 1 ½ ½ 4.0/7
5 Dominguez Perez,Leinier 2745 2755 ½ ½ ½

½ ½ ½ ½ 3.5/7
6 Aronian,Levon 2759 2706 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½

1 3.0/7 10
7 Niemann,Hans Moke 2688 2710

½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.0/7 9.25
8 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2757 2654 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½

0 ½ 2.5/7 9.5
9 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2757 2651 ½

0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 2.5/7 8.75

The 2022 Sinquefield Cup is the fifth and ultimate leg of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour. The ten gamers compete in an all-play-all round-robin for his or her share of the $319,000 prize fund. 

Protection of the 2022 Sinquefield Cup



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