Recently, I mentioned that I always seem to be on the road or in a place with limited internet access whenever a big chess event is going on. This year’s Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis was no exception. It was billed as the Strongest Chess Tournament in History and rightfully so. The list of participants was a veritable “who’s who” of the championship chess world.

2014 Sinquefield Cup Participants

World Rank Name Age Country Rating
1 Magnus Carlsen 23 Norway 2877
2 Levon Aronian 31 Armenia 2805
3 Fabio Caruana 22 Italy 2801
5 Hikaru Nakamura 26 U.S.A. 2787
8 Veselin Topalov 39 Bulgaria 2772
9 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 23 France 2768

It goes without saying that most people expected World Champion Magnus Carlsen to show up and dominate, but destiny favored #3 Fabio Caruana who made chess history with an impressive seven wins in a row! Caruana found a way to channel his inner Fischer and was nearly flawless through those first seven games, which included a win against Magnus and gave the World Champion his second loss in as many months.

Caruana appeared calm and cool throughout the tournament.

I was surprised by watching Magnus Carlsen in this tournament. He was certainly not playing to top form and seemed somewhat disinterested in the entire experience. I know that he was battling some contract drama with FIDE during the tournament and that might have had an effect on his ability to concentrate, which might prove problematic for the upcoming World Championship in Sochi. Although Magnus is virally famous for his unusual facial expressions, he has started to look run down both on the board and in his personal appearance recently.

A frustrated Magnus Carlsen.

I hope that he is able to get some rest and relaxation time before the championship match in November, or else the world might be ushering in the era of a new World Champion.

Fabio Caruana Sinquefield Games

The television production and broadcast on Chess24 and Chessbase was first rate for this event! It is always wonderful to see my favorite female chess player and commentator, Jennifer Shahade breaking down the moves! Just don’t get me started on Hikaru Nakamura in this tournament…

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