The second edition of the Sinquefield Cup (August 27-September 7) will go down in history as the first-ever 6-player round-robin tournament with an average Elo rating over 2800.
Six of the world’s top-nine will be playing in Saint Louis: Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Veselin Topalov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
With these six players, all currently active at the Tromsø Olympiad, the 2014 Sinquefield Cup will be the highest-rated tournament in the history of chess. The average is a historical peak FIDE rating of 2802:
2014 Sinquefield Cup Participants
Last year, the inaugural super-tournament was the strongest chess competition ever held on U.S. soil, but only four players participated: Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky. The first three will be back in Saint Louis for the second edition, which will be a six-player double round robin. It is Carlsen who will be defending his title.
“Last year we intended to go with six players also,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. “But we had a hard time with the scheduling; I think the fall is just a really busy time for professional players especially.”
For the second edition, the organizers started by sending out invites to Carlsen and Nakamura.
Mr. Rich: “We wanted to make sure that the reigning world champion would play, and obviously we also wanted the top American. Beyond that, we thought what really rounds the event out, and not just in strength but also in playing style? We wanted folks to come in and really show something.”
The tournament's prize fund has been increased; whereas last year Carlsen took home $70,000, this year the first prize is $100,000, part of a $315,000 total prize fund.
This year, there will be a bonus event titled “Ultimate Moves” to be held through Tuesday, September 9. Ultimate Moves will feature eight teams made up of a GM (the six participants and two more) and an amateur player, where teammates alternate moves. Other special events for spectators are planned.
The 2014 Sinquefield Cup will feature live play-by-play and analysis from three different teams of grandmaster commentators. Online viewers worldwide will enjoy the daily live commentary stream hosted by the legendary team of GMs Yasser Seirawan and Maurice Ashley paired with WGM Jennifer Shahade.
The tournament will be held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Live spectators will have two additional options of GM-led commentary, both at the World Chess Hall of Fame and Lester’s Restaurant on the Central West End chess campus. The commentary team will include GMs Ian Rogers, Ben Finegold, Ronen Har-Zvi, Robert Hess, and “one special surprise that we hope makes it to the event,” said Mr. Rich.
Chess.com will have coverage of the event on Chess.com/TV. Likely the official on site team of Ashley, Seirawan and Shahade will be broadcasting to our channel as well as the official website.
A free autograph session with the players will also be held before the tournament on Tuesday, August 26 at noon.
As a special complement to the Sinquefield Cup, the World Chess Hall of Fame is presenting a brand-new exhibit titled A Memorable Life: A Glimpse into the Complex Mind of Bobby Fischer, featuring a rare collection of items that celebrate one of the best chess players ever.
Tickets to the 2014 Sinquefield Cup start at $15 per round, but discounted ticket packages are available at $65 for five rounds or $100 for all ten rounds of the event.
Last year the tournament attracted about 600 spectators a day, and even more are expected to show up this year.
Mr. Rich said that asking an entry fee is mostly a way of crowd control:
“We were concerned that if there was free access, we would just be overwhelmed. In exchange, we provide catered food and beverages for all the spectators, the commentary and access to the playing hall.”
For more information on the event, including the full schedule, ticket information and lodging details, visit www.USChessChamps.com.