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Sinquefield Cup 2013 (1)

Sinquefield Cup opens with wins for Carlsen and Nakamura

Carlsen at the opening ceremony. Photo ©

Carlsen at the opening ceremony. Photo © |

The first round of the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis could hardly have gone better for the organisers as both games finished decisively.

The first game to finish saw Hikaru Nakamura beat Levon Aronian after the latter committed a terrible one move blunder costing the exchange. This was at a point in the game where Nakamura was thinking about offering a draw. Nakamura said he was "expecting this line from Levon and then he played 12..c5 which surprised me." Complex play followed and Aronian was so happy with the position he briefly considered trying to play for a win before deciding to liquidate to a draw which would have happened after 30...Qc6. Instead 30...Qb5?? 31.Qxb5 axb5 32.Nd7 and Aronian could resign as this simple continuation costs him the exchange. Aronian said: "Of course it's embarrassing, I rarely make blunders like this"

Almost straight after Magnus Carlsen finished his game against Gata Kamsky. This had an altogether more satisfying conclusion. Carlsen professed himself to be happy with his opening with a potentially nice dark squared bishop but then admitted that he "drifted" but that probably helped him to win the game. Carlsen's 21.Rc2 and 22.Rcc1 were pretty aimless moves as he decided on his setup but this encouraged Kamsky to get optimistic "I started playing for a win somewhere but it wasn't based on reality I guess." Kamsky admitted that part of his motivation was "He is famous for squeezing out small advantages. I didn't want to give him the opportunity. I just decided to go attack and then I just didn't see anything."

If Carlsen was unhappy with the way the game had gone he was pleased with the next phase. "It's a good example of defending economically. Before that my play was a little bit rusty." In particular the key was 27.Rc2 where the rook both attacks and defends and the excellent 30.f3! ("the stuff of genius. It wouldn't have crossed my mind." - Conquest) "When he played f3 I realised he was just better." - Kamsky.

Suddenly the lines opened up against Carlsen's king closed and the same ones opened up against Kamsky's king. The attack was still tricky and it took Carlsen until after the first time control to accurately calculate the kill.

Carlsen was in a good mood after the game. He praised the new pieces especially designed for the event. I too think this wooden Staunton with a twist set looks really nice. After being informed he was playing Aronian in round 2 (he'd convinced himself it was Nakamura) he talked both about kicking a man when he's down and conversely Aronian being a wounded tiger. Aronian earlier had also shown class in interview directly after his loss. I'm not sure how ambitious he will be on day 2.

Round 2 7pm UK time 1pm St Louis time. Aronian-Carlsen and Nakamura-Kamsky. I will be hosting the ICC commentary with GM Lars Bo Hansen in commentary. Looking forward to that.


Pieces commissioned for the event. Photo ©

Sinquefield Cup 2013 Saint Louis (USA), 9-15 ix 2013 cat. XXII (2797)
1 2 3 4
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2862 * * . . . . 1 . 1
2. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2772 . . * * 1 . . . 1
3. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2813 . . 0 . * * . . 0
4. Kamsky, Gata g USA 2741 0 . . . . . * * 0
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

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