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Sinquefield Cup 2013 (6)

Carlsen heads for date with destiny after winning Sinquefield Cup

Carlsen, Aronian and Nakamura at the start of a distinctly uncomfortable press conference. Carlsen might consider some media training. Photo ©

Carlsen, Aronian and Nakamura at the start of a distinctly uncomfortable press conference. Carlsen might consider some media training. Photo © | http://www.uschesschamps.com/

Magnus Carlsen heads to challenge for Viswanathan Anand's World Chess Championship title in November happy with his form and with a strong 4.5/6 victory in the Sinquefield Cup. This final performance can't but add to the anticipation of this match and increase Carlsen's growing profile in the US. Organiser Rex Sinquefield more or less confirmed the event next year and with more players. One imagines that this will be contingent on getting Carlsen back and he confirmed his willingness to play if the dates were right for him. It is coming up to 4 years since Carlsen won the Pearl Spring tournament in September/October 2009 the time when he became de facto number one, now he seems more than ready for his assault on the chess summit.

Carlsen was in some trouble in his final game against Levon Aronian having been outplayed in the opening. Aronian admitted to being embarrassed that he lost this final game from such a position having rushed to capitalise on his advantage. This allowed Carlsen to set up a hold able position. Later when Aronian realised he wasn't breaking through he lost the thread of the position and finally offered a draw. The position even though Aronian was a pawn up was by that stage at least slightly favourable to Carlsen and even though a draw would win the tournament Carlsen decided the was no risk to playing on. Carlsen said that he played St Louis in part to test his form prior to the world title match and this seemed a good opportunity. Finally he said he understood that winning such a game would be "pretty sweet." Having turned down the draw offer Aronian's play and position collapsed. Aronian himself wasn't that surprised Carlsen turned down the draw offer, "We're not really playing for money here, we're playing chess". However there isn't much doubt this loss was one the most painful in Aronian's career.

Hikaru Nakamura had a chance to win the tournament going into the final round but he quickly became dissatisfied with his position in a sharp struggle against Gata Kamsky. The computers suggested the lines were "equal" but it did seem Kamsky was in reality pressing. The game finished in a repetition.

Sinquefield Cup Final Standings: Carlsen 4.5/6, Nakamura 3.5, Aronian 2.5 and Kamsky 1.5.

Sinquefield Cup 2013 Saint Louis (USA), 9-15 ix 2013 cat. XXII (2797)
1 2 3 4
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2862 * * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 2968
2. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2772 ½ ½ * * 1 0 1 ½ 2862
3. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2813 ½ 0 0 1 * * ½ ½ 2734
4. Kamsky, Gata g USA 2741 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ * * 2622
Round 1 (September 9, 2013)
Carlsen, Magnus - Kamsky, Gata 1-0 49 D15 Slav Defence
Nakamura, Hikaru - Aronian, Levon 1-0 41 C88 Ruy Lopez Closed
Round 2 (September 10, 2013)
Nakamura, Hikaru - Kamsky, Gata 1-0 42 B43 Sicilian Paulsen
Aronian, Levon - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 40 A80 Dutch
Round 3 (September 11, 2013)
Carlsen, Magnus - Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ 42 E62 King's Indian 6...Nc6
Kamsky, Gata - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 43 D02 Queen's Pawn Game
Round 4 (September 13, 2013)
Aronian, Levon - Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0 61 E71 King's Indian 5.h3
Kamsky, Gata - Carlsen, Magnus 0-1 59 C69 Ruy Lopez Exchange
Round 5 (September 14, 2013)
Nakamura, Hikaru - Carlsen, Magnus ½-½ 32 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Aronian, Levon - Kamsky, Gata ½-½ 44 A85 Dutch
Round 6 (September 15, 2013)
Carlsen, Magnus - Aronian, Levon 1-0 70 C88 Ruy Lopez Closed
Kamsky, Gata - Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ 34 B90 Sicilian Najdorf Variation

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