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Sinquefield Cup Brings Grandmasters to St. Louis

sinquefield, cup, news, 2015, tournament, chess, world

Executive Director, Tony Rich, tells his story

I remember the first time I met a chess Grandmaster. It was the winter of 1999, and GM Sergey Kudrin came through Saint Louis to play against dozens of people at the same time. With just a couple hundred Grandmasters in the world, this was a rare opportunity for amateur players to match wits with a chess professional.

As he entered the bookstore where our little chess club met, the room fell silent, players took their seats and GM Kudrin followed a circuitous path around the room, shaking hands and moving pieces. Amidst the rich scent of coffee and shelves lined with books, Kudrin forced resignation out of his hapless opponents one by one. When the dust settled, the Soviet expat had lost just one game and drawn another, and I was in awe.

That sense of wonderment will be shared by many when the Sinquefield Cup returns to Saint Louis. Held August 22 through September 3, the Sinquefield Cup is the second leg of the Grand Chess Tour and has become one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world over the past two years. Featuring 10 of the best players internationally, $300,000 in prizes and an unparalleled spectator experience, the Cup promises to enthrall fans.

Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen
Country Norway
Born November 30, 1990 

Title Grandmaster (2004)
World Champion 2013, 2014
FIDE rating 2863 (April 2015)
Peak rating 2882 (May 2014)
Ranking No. 1 (Feb 2015)
Peak ranking No. 1 (Jan 2010)
Fabiano Caruana
Fabiano Caruana
Country Italy
Born July 30, 1992 

Title Grandmaster (2007)
Peak Performance 2014 Sinquefield Cup
FIDE rating 2802 (April 2015)
Peak rating 2844 (Oct 2014)
Ranking No. 2 (Feb 2015)
Peak ranking No. 2 (Oct 2014)
Hikaru Nakamura
Hikaru Nakamura
Country USA
Born Dec 9, 1987 

Title Grandmaster (2003)
Peak Performance 2011 Tata Steel
FIDE rating 2798 (April 2015)
Peak rating 2798 (May 2014)
Ranking No. 3 (Feb 2015)
Peak ranking No. 3 (March 2015)
Veselin Topalov
Veselin Topalov
Country Bulgaria
Born March 15, 1975 

Title Grandmaster (1992)
World Champion FIDE (2005)
FIDE rating 2798 (April 2015)
Peak rating 2813 (July 2009)
Ranking No. 4 (Feb 2015)
Peak ranking No. 1 (Oct 2008)
Alexander Grischuk
Alex Grischuk
Country Russia
Born Oct 31, 1983 

Title Grandmaster (2000)
World Champion Blitz (2006, 2012)

World Team (2013)
FIDE rating 2794 (April 2015)
Peak rating 2810 (Dec 2014)
Ranking No. 5 (Feb 2015)
Peak ranking No. 3 (May 2014)
Viswanathan Anand
Viswanathan Anand
Country India
Born Dec 11, 1969 

Title Grandmaster (1988)
World Champion Classical (2007)

FIDE (2000)

Rapid (2003)
FIDE rating 2791 (April 2015)
Peak rating 2817 (March 2011)
Ranking No. 6 (Feb 2015)
Peak ranking No. 1 (April 2007)
Anish Giri
Anish Giri
Country Netherlands
Born June 28, 1994 

Title Grandmaster (2009)
Peak Performance 2012 Reggio Emilia
FIDE rating 2790 (April 2015)
Peak rating 2797 (Feb 2015)
Ranking No. 7 (Feb 2015)
Peak ranking No. 7 (Feb 2015)
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Country France
Born Oct 21, 1990 

Title Grandmaster (2005)
World Champion Junior (2009)
FIDE rating 2762 (April 2015)
Peak rating 2775 (Feb 2015)
Ranking No. 11 (Feb 2015)
Peak ranking No. 5 (April 2015)
Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen cropped.jpg
Country Armenia
Born Oct 6, 1982 

Title Grandmaster (2000)
World Champion Chess960 (2003, 2006)

Rapid (2009)

Blitz (2010)
FIDE rating 2770 (April 2015)
Peak rating 2830 (March 2014)
Ranking No. 9 (Feb 2015)
Peak ranking No. 2 (January 2012)
Wesley So
Wesley So
Country USA
Born October 9, 1993 

Title Grandmaster (2008)
Peak Performance 2014 Millionaire Chess

World Youth (2007, 2008)
FIDE rating 2778 (July 2015)
Peak rating 2794 (April 2015)
Ranking No. 7 (April 2015)
Peak ranking No. 5 (April 2015)



Fabiano Caruana, who dazzled the chess world with his 7-out-of-7 start last year, will attempt to defend his title. Spectators can expect awe inspiring performances from this star-studded lineup, which includes youthful players like Anish Giri and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, World Champions like Magnus Carlsen, Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov, and the American triumvirate of Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So.

Since those early days with GM Kudrin, I have had the opportunity to organize elite events and meet many Grandmasters. Their ability to memorize myriad openings, deeply calculate variations and effortlessly coordinate their forces for battle is a testament to the complexity and wonder of the Royal Game. As the best players in the world converge in Saint Louis this fall, I look forward to that sense of wonderment again.