27 Aug 2016

Interesting games from the Sinquefield Cup 2016

Today, we analyze the most interesting games from the recent Sinquefield Cup 2016. This tournament took place in St Louis, and the most interesting point about it is that we could see ten of the strongest chess players in the world in action.
Sinquefield Cup
(photo from the official site)

They were fighting for $300,000 in prize money over the nine-round competition. Of course, the winner would also be the Sinquefield Cup Champion for 2016.

Seven of these players were:

  • Peter Svidler (2751)
  • Ding Liren (2755)
  • Veselin Topalov (2761)
  • Anish Giri (2769)
  • Viswanathan Anand (2770)
  • Levon Aronian (2784)
  • Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2819)

By the way, Maxime (or MVL as he is known) is the second-highest rated player in the world after World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Nearly all the brightest and extremely powerful grandmasters were competing in this tournament, so we can see a lot of interesting, entertaining and incredible games.

Another very interesting element is that we also had three of the best American chess players, Hikaru Nakamura (2791), Fabiano Caruana (2807) and Wesley So (2771), present.

Let’s discuss it!

Who do you think the best American player is? Who do you think is the strongest or the best player, or who do you like most? You can add your thoughts in the comments below this article. :)
American Chess PlayersWesley So is an incredibly prepared and tactical player (and he won this tournament), Caruana an extremely talented player with a great imagination and, of course, Nakamura is just exciting to watch because he is original!

Now let’s head to the lesson and check out some interesting games and positions.

Topalov, Veselin (2761) – Svidler, Peter (2751) [C88]
Topalov vs Svidler
White to play

Here is the first question for you. In this diagram, Svidler with the Black pieces played 25…Rb4. What do you think of this move? It seems that Black is attacking the d4-pawn but the knight on c6 is shaky and not protected very well. Hence, is it a good move or does Black have any tactical problems?

Suggestion: learn about the strategy behind an open file, how to obtain an open file OR how to use it effectively from our lesson here.

Anand, Viswanathan (2770) – Caruana, Fabiano (2807) [C15]
Anand vs Caruana
Black to play

This was an exciting game between young Caruana and Anand, who seemed to be in great shape in this tournament. White didn’t get any opening advantage. He gave up the bishop pair in order to make the position unbalanced and try for the win; but a little later he gave up his activity by exchanging some of his active pieces, in order to win a pawn.

Right now, White is a pawn up and would like to exchange the queens. What should Black do? If he doesn’t find a precise plan, then White can invade his position or exchange the queens. If the queens are exchanged, then White will have seriouswinning chances. So what do you think – what is the best chance for Black?

Caruana, Fabiano (2807) – Topalov, Veselin (2761) [C84]
Caruana vs Topalov
Black to play

White didn’t play too precisely or go back and forward with his pieces, so Black got a very good opportunity for a strong blow. Can you see it? What is the best move for Black?

Suggestion: you can watch recent chess battles between Candidate players 2016 (Anand, Karjakin, Aronian, Nakamura, Caruana, Giri and so on) here.

Vachier Lagrave, Maxime (2819) – Anand, Viswanathan (2770)
MVL vs Anand
White to play

This final example is absolutely brilliant. I have to tell you that this is one of the best games and is highly instructive. The problem with delay in development is that it has long-term effects on your position.

Move 30, as we can see in the diagram, is really interesting because White has a lot of options. This is the critical moment for White. Can you work out what to do? :)

Please be careful because “whatever shines is not gold”, as the Greeks used to say. White’s most obvious move here is not the best one. For that reason, please take a really close look at this position. It is White’s turn.

I must admit that not all of these positions are really hard but some are. From these games, you can learn and practice your calculation skills.

To analyze these interesting games, IM Valery Lilov has prepared a very nice video for RCA (and for you) and we thank him for that. You can watch the video below:

Note: you may like to check the solutions and complete games here.

Finally, I’d like to inform you that we’ve decided to provide you with more such “entertaining” lessons/content. I hope you really like this “new strategy”, and you are very welcome to leave your comments below – that would be very helpful for us. :)

If you enjoy watching the best moments of the TOP chess tournaments and would like to continue to watch similar videos, then you are very welcome to express your opinion with a comment.

P.S. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is very useful to observe three of the best American players in play – Nakamura, Caruana and So. What do you think of them? Who is the best?


How do Grandmasters actually think during a chess game? Get “Unlocking the Grandmaster’s Mind” now HERE.

This course summarizes how Grandmasters actually think while playing the game of chess and you will get the extraordinary skills a Grandmaster possesses!

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