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4th Sinquefield Cup 2016 (9)

Wesley So wins the Sinquefield Cup

Vachier-Lagrave and Wesley So during their final round game. Photo ©

Vachier-Lagrave and Wesley So during their final round game. Photo © |

Wesley So won the Sinquefield Cup after drawing his final game against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and posting a score of 5.5/9. So had to wait for the result of Veselin Topalov against Levon Aronian to know he'd won. If that game had been decisive there would have been a playoff for the title on Monday. As it was Topalov failed to convert a winning advantage in the endgame and So could celebrate. So also leads the Grand Chess Tour going into the final event in London.

So chose the solid Ruy Lopez Berlin Defence against MVL and didn't have much trouble holding the draw. MVL had hoped the endgame he chose was tricky but So was unphased.

Veselin Topalov had a great position against Levon Aronian in a sharp 4.d3 Berlin Defence. Topalov could have gone for a more attacking game but instead they traded to an endgame where white was close to winning at move 40. I don't know why Topalov turned down 48.f4 which seemed straightforward but it was finally 57.Rd4+ that lost the winning advantage although Aronian couldn't see an answer to 64.Kc5 after which black only just holds the draw with 64...Ra7.

Hikaru Nakamura scored the most drastic win of the day crushing Ding Liren. Nakamura seemed to catch out Ding Liren with his choice of Semi-Slav variation and Ding didn't seem to have the energy to resist at the end of a tiring event for him. 17...Nh5 was a bad idea and Nakamura confidently rattled out a refutation ending with 22.Nd5! after which the game was effectively over.

Fabiano Caruana had drawn all his games in the Sinquefield Cup before defeating a struggling Anish Giri in the final round. Giri felt comfortable out of the opening but it was the precise timing of his break 15...f6 that caused all the problems. Caruana found a far from obvious continuation where he gave up two rooks for the queen. The resulting position was hugely favourable for white, a fantastic piece of judgement from Caruana and he went on to win in 46 moves.

Peter Svidler and Viswanathan Anand contested another 4.d3 Berlin Defence. Anand's kingside counterplay was just in time to secure the draw.

Final Round 9 Standings: Wesley So 5.5pts/9, Anand, Aronian, Caruana, Topalov 5pts, MLV Nakamura 4.5pts, Ding Liren 4pts, Svidler 3.5pts, Giri 3pts.

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