The Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz was held from the 11th to 16th of August 2018, in Saint Louis, United States. The field of ten players consisted of: Alexander Grischuk, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin, Viswanathan Anand, Wesley So and Leinier Dominguez Perez. The event is of course part of the Chess Grand Tour.
The Rapid section was a ten player round robin, which meant nine rounds. Hikaru Nakamura and Mamedyarov got the best of this, sharing first place with 6/9. Nakamura had lost to Vishy Anand in the opening round and this had cost him dear. Following this defeat, he got his act together, however, immediately striking back against Wesley So.
Further wins followed, over Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Leinier Dominguez Perez. Four points out of the last five rounds recovered his situation very nicely.
It wasn’t enough to win the section, however, with the in form Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also putting in a score of 6/9. He is fresh from winning Biel a few weeks ago, of course and seems to be feeling very good. Fabiano Caruana was Shakh’s spoiler, taking a point from him in round three. However, he recovered with wins over So, Vachier-Lagrave, Karjakin and Anand. (Anand himself, only notched up 3/9, which I have to confess to being very surprised at.)
This gave Hikaru and Shakhriyar a good position going into the Blitz section, with Fabiano Caruana just behind them. Obviously, however, as we get further into the year, Fabiano’s attention is bound to be elsewhere.
Nakamura, Mamedyarov — 6.0
Caruana — 5.5
Dominguez Perez, Karjakin, Aronian — 4.5
Vachier-Lagrave, So — 4.0
Anand, Grischuk — 3.0.
The Blitz section was a double round robin and everyone was completely upstaged by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The Frenchman won the section with a strong 13.5/18. Only Wesley So seems to have kept his sheet clean against him, drawing both of their games.
Other than So, everyone else felt Maxime’s foot in at least one game and Fabiano Caruana was among the players who dropped both to him. 13.5/18 is a great result with this level of competition.
Hikaru Nakamura finished in second place in this section, an amazing three points off of Maxime’s pace.
Vachier-Lagrave — 13.5
Nakamura — 10.5
Grischuk — 9.5
Mamedyarov, Caruana, Aronian — 9.0
Karjakin — 8.0
Anand — 7.5
Dominguez Perez, So — 7.0.
Combined Standings & Chess Grand Tour Positions
Joint first in the Rapid and second in the Blitz, gave Hikaru Nakamura overal victory in the event. With it comes a prize purse of $37,000 (£29,044 / €32,430) and 13 Chess Grand Tour points.
We now wait to see how the Singuefield Cup goes, which immediately follows this event. This sees the same field, apart from Leinier Dominguez Perez bowing out and being replaced by a certain Magnus Carlsen.
Don’t forget, the Chess Grand Tour concludes with a new format this year. The top four players will play a semi-final and final at the London Chess Classic in December. At the moment, that would be Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave, Karjakin and So.
Event finishing positions — and Chess Grand Tour Points awarded.
1. Hikaru Nakamura — 13
2. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave — 10
3. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov — 8
4. Fabiano Caruana — 7
5. Levon Aronian — 6
6. Sergey Karjakin — 5
7. Leinier Dominguez — 4
8. Alexander Grischuk — 3
9. Wesley So — 2
10. Viswanathan Anand — 1.
Chess Grand Tour Standings
Hikaru Nakamura — 33
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave — 25
Sergey Karjakin — 24
Wesley So — 23
Levon Aronian — 19
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov — 15
Alexander Grischuk — 12
Fabiano Caruana — 11
Viswanathan Anand — 9.