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Grand Chess Tour 2015: Preview of the Sinquefield Cup

The Sinquefield Cup kicks off on the 22nd of August 2015; the field looks mouth-watering, and we can expect an enthralling display of tactics and strategy from the crème de la crème in St. Louis – the new age home of chess.

Top players in the world will compete for the Sinquefield Cup

One might wonder.. What is common between the cities: St. Louis, United States and Moscow, Russia? Sister cities, maybe? Nope! surprisingly it is the game of Chess!

The city in Missouri is like a young upstart trying to displace the latter as the Chess capital of the World. St. Louis has rapidly risen as one of the top destinations for promoting the game, thanks to Rex Senquefield - a financial wizard and a philanthropist. Moscow is still far ahead when it comes to grooming chess talent -- after all the long history and tradition of the game is imbibed in their culture. Going by the history between the two nations and the current political climate, it seems like there is something more than just the game of chess, and more like chess imitating politics. 

Not surprising for the history buffs since chess has been used as a political tool in the past, the prime example of course is the World Championship match in 1972 between the American Robert J Fischer and Russia’s Boris Spassky which was a cold war spectacle - the match that put The United States of America on the World Chess map. In fact, Hollywood has tried capturing the famous event on the large screen, and the recently released movie, Pawn Sacrifice, imitates the life and times of the great American World Champion.

Below is the official trailer of the movie any chess fan would not want to miss at any cost. For anyone who would like to watch the movie, there will be a special screeing at the Sinquefield cup in St. Louis.

 

 

Politics aside, Grand Chess Tour, announced in April this year, consists of three major annual chess tournaments: Norway Chess, Sinquefield Cup and the London Chess Classic. The idea behind the tour as stated on their official website appears to have a global outlook: 

 

The Grand Chess Tour was created with one goal in mind: a circuit of international events, each demonstrating the highest level of organization for the world's best players. The 2015 Tour was created in partnership between the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (Sinquefield Cup), Tower AS (Norway Chess 2015) and Chess Promotions, Ltd. (London Chess Classic). The legendary Garry Kasparov, one of the world's greatest ambassadors for chess, inspired the Grand Chess Tour and helped solidify the partnership between the organizers. His tireless efforts to popularize the game around the world mirror the goals and ambitions of the Grand Chess Tour.

 

As an avid fan, I’m looking forward to the Tour and hope it doesn’t crash and burn like the Grand Slam Chess Association

The tour kicked off this year with the Norway Chess 2015 which was won by the Bulgarian Veselin Topalov who edged out Viswanathan Anand from India. The tournament attracted a lot of attention as the home favorite, and the current World Champion, Magnus Carlsen had a disastrous campaign losing 4 games in the main event finishing near the bottom of the table. The old guards, Anand and Topalov were able to stamp authority amidst the young guns in Norway.
 
The grand chess tour points table after Norway Chess:
 
Rank Title Name Rat Fed Grand Tour Points
1 GM Veselin Topalov 2798 BUL 13
2 GM Viswanathan Anand 2804 IND 10
3 GM Hikaru Nakamura 2802 USA 8
4 GM Anish Giri 2773 NED 7
5 GM Fabiano Caruana 2805 ITA 6
6 GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2723 FRA 5
7 GM Magnus Carlsen 2876 NOR 4
8 GM Alexander Grischuk 2781 RUS 3
9 GM Levon Aronian 2780 ARM 2
10 GM Jon Ludvig Hammer 2677 NOR 1
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The second tournament of the Grand Chess Tour - Sinquefield Cup, kicks off on the 22nd of August 2015; the field looks mouth-watering, and we can expect an enthralling display of tactics and strategy from the crème de la crème in St. Louis – the new age home of chess. In a field comprising of eight players among the top 10 in the rating list, to pick the winner of the event is a tough task.

Magnus Carlsen will surely be hungry to win the event to erase the memories of his debacle in Norway. Viswanathan Anand at 46 is the oldest participant – the dinasaur, as Garry Kasparov called him once – and will need the reflexes of a Raptor to keep the youngsters at bay.

Veselin Topalov seems to have regained his touch and form of 2005 and if he is able to maintain it, then the Bulgarian Express will be unstoppable. Alexander Grishuk, the only Russian in the fray will renew his rivalry against the American Hikaru Nakamura. Last but not the least, the question on everybody’s mind is that if the bespectacled, Fabiano Caruana be able to steamroll his opposition?

Whom do you think will win the Sinquefield Cup 2015?

 
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