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8 Handshakes, No Winners In Round 7

Round seven on the 2022 Sinquefield Cup appeared like the whole counterpoint to the thrilling sixth spherical. Leader GM Wesley So had a bye however with no winners in Friday’s spherical, no person caught as much as him.

So leads with 4 factors from six video games. GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alireza Firouzja share second place with 3.5 factors, additionally from six video games, whereas GM Fabiano Caruana has the identical rating however from seven video games.

The eighth and penultimate spherical begins Saturday, at 11:00 a.m. PT/20:00 CEST.

While the video games weren’t precisely fast attracts, they most positively weren’t that thrilling. Three video games virtually appeared preordained to change into attracts from early on, whereas one sport carried on the battle lengthy after the others had been executed.


GM Leinier Dominguez has performed six attracts however a number of of them may have gone in a single path or one other. Against Firouzja, who has fired up his marketing campaign to battle for first place and the win within the Grand Chess Tour, he went for his trusty 1.e4 and took the sport down a closely traveled freeway of mainstream principle in a line of the Najdorf Sicilian.

On transfer 19, nevertheless, he opted for 19.gxf3 which the pc assesses as equally good as the primary line 19.Qxf3 which had seen motion in practically 400 grandmaster or correspondence video games. Only after 27.h4 the gamers solely departed what was beforehand identified. 

At this level, White had a small materials benefit however as a result of his uncovered king and rotten pawn construction, it was uncertain that he may make any significant progress. 

A prolonged, advanced battle, however ultimately, the gamers needed to accept a draw. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour.

The battle went on for some time, probably longer than obligatory, as a result of Firouzja taking part in the optimistic 40…e5?!. In the tip, nevertheless, the sport led to a draw. Game of the Day Dejan Bojkov


Nobody on this match has proven extra ready strains than Caruana. Round after spherical, he has fired off prolonged strains that gave him a wholesome lead on the clock in addition to a really manageable place on the board. Today appeared to be heading in the identical path when he confronted Olympiad teammate GM Levon Aronian, who in spherical six had the chance to make use of a bit of preparation that they’d labored on collectively in the course of the Chennai Olympiad, however which Caruana did not get the chance to make use of on that event. 

In their face-to-face encounter in spherical seven, the gamers determined to move down a path they’ve trodden collectively earlier than. Back in 2018 in London, Caruana gained a technical endgame in the exact same line with 19.Kb2. Unfortunately for him, it has later been decided that Black doesn’t have many points if Black abstains from consuming the pawn on f2. Therefore, on this sport, Caruana went for the much less apparent and probably worse 19.Kc2, a line that entails a pawn sacrifice, as a result of now the perfect transfer was certainly capturing the pawn on f2, one thing Aronian fortunately agreed to.

His shirt was much less colourful than traditional, however the play was nonetheless top-notch; Aronian performed for a win however needed to accept a draw. Photo: Bryan Adams/Grand Chess Tour.

In the ensuing endgame, it appeared a bit dicey for White, however afterward the engines advised each us and the gamers {that a} draw was all the time the logical consequence.

The French grandmaster will need to have thought “with Black my Najdorfs haven’t introduced a lot pleasure and as White, I have never achieved a lot both, so how about taking part in my different favourite black opening as White?”

Whether that was the thought course of that led to GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave abandoning his traditional 1.e4 is anybody’s guess. But he went 1.Nf3 and performed the Grunfeld Indian with the white items. Technically talking although, the opening, because it turned out, is definitely categorized within the opening encyclopedia as Black taking part in the Grunfeld, not White, however who cares about that when the music is taking part in and Vachier-Lagrave is pleased?

Whether it was a Grunfeld as Black or White issues lower than the truth that the trophy is not going to come residence to France in Vachier-Lagrave’s baggage this yr. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour.

His opponent, GM Hans Niemann, who has handled a deluge of feelings, trolling, hating, sympathy, help, and so forth, appeared again to his traditional combative self. 

After getting beneath some stress, Niemann accepted a doubled f-pawn that uncovered his king a bit, nevertheless, this was compensated by him having the ability to change some items and activate the queen and remaining knight. 

This week has been an emotional rollercoaster for Niemann, however a draw as Black isn’t that dangerous. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour.

When some extra items had been exchanged, it turned clear that the gamers can be taking part in a drawn rook ending. While they took a great deal of strikes to get there, the draw was by no means doubtful. 


After the painful loss in opposition to Firouzja in spherical six, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov expressed as a lot each on the board and to his opponent afterward. The sport went like a bullet practice from transfer 1 to 34 and draw agreed in about an hour. 

Mamedyarov was not in a combating temper and performed a line that accommodated a draw. Photo: Bryan Adams/Grand Chess Tour.

His Russian opponent, Nepomniachtchi, then headed to the studio of the official broadcast the place he entertained the commentators, GMs Peter Svidler, Yasser Seirawan, and Alejandro Ramirez with insights and evaluation of the opposite openings being performed. While Seirawan appeared virtually pleasantly stunned, Svidler extra soberly identified that “the truth that he is aware of the way to play chess, generally, has been identified for a while.” In this sport, nevertheless, that talent was not required.

Hopefully, after this relaxation day, each gamers will probably be match for battle in spherical eight.


Due to GM Magnus Carlsen‘s withdrawal, Wesley So had a bye for the Friday spherical.

All Games Day 7

Standings After Round 7

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Pts SB
1 So,Wesley 2771 2872 ½ 1

½ 1 ½ ½ 4.0/6

Nepomniachtchi,Ian 2792 2819 ½ ½ 1 ½

½ ½ 3.5/6 11
3 Caruana,Fabiano 2758 2765 0 ½ ½ ½ ½

1 ½ 3.5/7 10
4 Firouzja,Alireza 2778 2808

0 ½ ½ 1 ½

1 3.5/6 9.75
5 Dominguez Perez,Leinier 2745 2755

½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½

3.0/6 9.5
6 Aronian,Levon 2759 2750 ½

½ 0 ½ ½ 1

3.0/6 9.25
7 Niemann,Hans Moke 2688 2761 0

½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/6 8
8 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2757 2651 ½ ½ 0

½ 0 ½ ½ 2.5/7
9 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2757 2637 ½ ½ ½ 0

0 ½ 2.0/6

The 2022 Sinquefield Cup is the fifth and ultimate leg of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour. The 10 gamers compete in an all-play-all round-robin for his or her share of the $319,000 prize fund. 

Coverage of the 2022 Sinquefield Cup



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