The Sinquefield cup was originally created in 2013 as a 4 player round robin style tournament, of which Magnus Carlsen took home first place in, later that year Carlsen went on to become the World champion in his game against Viswanathan Anand. The Sinquefield cup was altered in 2016 to include 6 of the top players, and again in 2019, featured 12 players. Currently the tournament is at 10 players, at a $350,000 prize fund. This year it took place in St. Louis, and it featured 6 out of the 10 highest rated chess players in the world. The Sinquefield is the only tournament with most of the top rated players involved, so naturally it has also become the most followed tournament in the chess world. The results of the tournament where as follows:
1 Alireza Firouzja (France)- 2778
2 Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia)- 2792
3 Fabiano Caruana (United States)- 2758
4 Wesley So (United States)- 2771
5 Leinier Domínguez (United States)- 2745
6 Levon Aronian (United States)- 2759
7 Hans Niemann (United States)- 2688
8 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan)- 2757
9 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) -2757
Now you may be looking at the given set of data, and you may think to yourself: “What? I thought that there where 10 players, why are there only 9 data points?” Well, the 10th (and missing) data point, is: 10 Magnus Carlsen (Norwegian)-2861. The world champion withdrew from the Sinquefield, in an unprecedented turn of events, after a shocking loss against GM Hans Nieman, the lowest rated player in the tournament by almost a full 100 elo. In interviews that followed his victory, Hans stated “I think he’s just so demoralized because he’s losing to an idiot like me”. With the US chess federations delayed response in giving an official statement regarding Magnus’s withdrawal, unsupported allegations of cheating began to emerge in the several days following. The false accusations where later cleared, and Firouzja went on to win the tournament on a tie breaking blitz game with Nepomniachtchi.
A breakdown of the game:
In the final blitz match, Firouzja played the English opening, followed by nd4 (main line symmetrical variation) and black using the verry solid Anglo-Indian defense on nf6. The beginning game followed a verry forcing line by white with 5 cxd5, Qxd5, but 7e3, na1 varies from main line. With the exchange of the c pawn for the d pawn, white aims to allow for smoother development of the Night on b1. By the middle game, 2 pawns had been exchanged, and by move 16, black, although having a broken pawn structure, is in a rather solid position. But with the pull back to Qe7 on move 17, black allowed for white to play e5, a blunder that will cost black a piece and the Sinquefield cup. White is unable to re-capture with Qxe5 because of bf4, which is still a winning move.