Nakamura, Carlsen Take Early Lead in Sinquefield Cup

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 09.09.13, 17:39.

Any risk of the four grandmasters playing it safe to open the first-ever Sinquefield Cup turned out to be unfounded. A packed house at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis witnessed a lot of drama to open the event.

Both games could have easily ended in peace, but instead GM Hikaru Nakamura pounced on GM Levon Aronian's elementary tactical oversight, while GM Gata Kamsky's desire to play an interesting game backfired against GM Magnus Carlsen.


With the American number one on the verge of offering a draw, Aronian's 30...Qb5 was a drastic mistake. Nakamura admitted he did not immediately see the problem with the move, but it didn't take long for him to find that trading queens led to the facile trick 32. Nd7, after which 32...Rfe8 is met by the fork 33. Nf6+. If instead the Black queen had retreated to c6, Nakamura said he would have offered a draw right away.

"I think he thought it was too simple," Nakamura said. "At that point we had resigned ourselves to the outcome (of a draw). He just got a little bit careless. When he played it I didn't realize it was a blunder."

"It happens," Aronian said, blaming a lack of concentration. "That's one of the things they teach little kids. If you see a forced line, check that you're not blundering anything. I've been telling that to my friends many times. It's embarassing."




Aronian remained moderately upbeat about his chances, even though the event is only six rounds. "I've lost many games and still won tournaments." He paused, and after a few seconds of recollection, he then said, "Actually I don't remember a tournament I won without losing a game." He later joked that tonight he planned to "hit my head towards the wall."

He even appreciated that losses like this can help give perspective. "There is something nice about the game of chess. It is humbling."

The Carlsen-Kamsky game turned on every pawn advance by the underdog. The relatively static structure did not put Kamsky at ease. He feared a slow expansion by his opponent, so he grabbed space with the enterprising advance 14...h5! After more aggression, Carlsen's pieces benefitted more from the space, and he was able to even his lifetime score against Kamsky (the only player in the field he had a minus score against).

"I felt like pushing," Kamsky explained. "The main idea is to get the square g3 for my knight." He said Carlsen's reputation may have also influenced some of his kingside thrusts. "He is famous for squeezing out small advantages. I didn't want to let him do that. It is easier to attack than to defend.

"I wanted to play something interesting today. This is an event where you can just play chess and there are not consequences."

Carlsen did not fully trust the whole plan. "I thought [...h5] was a very weird move," he said, but added that he was not impressed with his own play afterward. "I think I just drifted horribly over the next five to 10 moves. He got everything he wanted. At some point he should have cut his losses by playing ...g3 and closing the position." Instead Kamsky opened the position, which allowed all of White's pieces to infiltrate. Carlsen said that his wasted tempos with his rooks on the c-file may have had the hidden benefit of giving Kamsky a chance to overplay his hand.


One idea both players highlighted was White's creative defensive idea 30. f3 in response to Kamsky's continued pawn advances. "g4 was just horrible," Kamsky said. "He punched me pretty well. I didn't see f3."

"It was a good example of defending economically," Carlsen said. "You don't want to defend with more pieces than you need to."

In round two, Aronian will get his first White against Carlsen, while Kamsky gets another Black, against Nakamura. "I will try to kick him while he's down," Carlsen joked about playing his friend. The round starts at 1:00 p.m. Central, 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

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  • vor 3 Jahre



    Are you saying that Nakamura cheated to find that move?

  • vor 3 Jahre


    I find it silly when fans say that a game where a 2800 misses a 2 move combination and loses an exchange is better than some 'boring draw' just because it produces a result. As a spectator, I would prefer a boring draw anyday than such a win. 

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Unfortunately "one little bit" of cheating with a computer can wreck a hard-fought game of chess too, and has thereby ruined chess for good, unfortunately.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    The Nakamura-Aronian game  shows you how just one little bit of inattention can wreck your whole game. Its why chess is such an attractive game.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    I was wondering how did they (tournament leaders) arrive at just these 4 GMs to compete, and no others?  

    And secondly, since I did not see any mainstream Television or Cable stations for sponsorship or commercials, where does the money come from for the prizes?


  • vor 3 Jahre



    I wish IM Silman went into detail for us idiots... :-p  Since he didn't, I decided to spend some time to figure out this 49... Rg7 idea.  At least this is the fastest one I can find using the Rg7 idea.

    Then I thought about black trying 49... e5 to give the king an escape.  This is the ending I found, which is 2 turns longer.

    There might have been a shorter way, but since a near 1500 like me can find this, surely both GM's knew it was over.

    Oh, I suppose the useless queen check could have been thrown in there as well.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    With this game, Aronian is now under 2800 in live ratings. Check it out! Only Magnus is in the 2800 club right now!

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Sadly I think Lev's 2800 glory days are over, although it might be too early to tell now, just my opinion. He's a very good player and tactician, but he get's too careless sometimes for a player on a 2800 level. It's like he's bored by chess. Having said this, he's my favourite player and I wish him to recover as soon as possible. His chess style is amazing.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    hands down for magnus

  • vor 3 Jahre


    without meWink

  • vor 3 Jahre


    generally I root for Hikaru and Magnus - so today I was happy -

    having said that, I'm glad Aronian blundered - it's just a reminder that even the number 2 rated player can have a slip now and again - and that'll excuse my horrendous play from time to time :D



  • vor 3 Jahre

    IM Silman

    @ hydroxide0: 

    Black didn't lose on time, he's getting mated! The threat of Qg5+ is overwhelming and Black doesn't have any defense (49...Rg7 50.Rf8+ and mates).

  • vor 3 Jahre


    better than boring draws

  • vor 3 Jahre


    did carlsen win on time? the final position looks equal...

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Thank you for fixing them!

  • vor 3 Jahre


    nice starts Idol!!!!

  • vor 3 Jahre


    It's great to see two decisive results in the first round. Let's hope they keep up the exciting chess! Go Nakamura & Kamsky!

  • vor 3 Jahre


    exiting start!!

  • vor 3 Jahre

    FM MikeKlein

    They're good now, InfiniteFlash!

  • vor 3 Jahre


    So tell me why the board diagrams are not available.

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