In the penultimate round the action quieted down with four draws, as Fabiano Caruana and Leinier Dominguez continue to lead the Sinquefield Cup heading into the final day. The only game that turned into a fully-fledged fight was Rapport-Aronian, where the Romanian No. 1 pushed for some time in an opposite colored bishop endgame, but ultimately couldn’t generate any chances.
GIRI - CARUANA | ½-½, 14 moves
A Closed Catalan led to a quick draw by repetition via the typical Nh5-Bd2-Nhf6 drawing mechanism. With Caruana having White in the last round against Rapport, he'll be able to fight for tournament victory with a win.
A short day for Caruana, who clinched the overall Grand Chess Tour yesterday. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
DOMINGUEZ - VACHIER-LAGRAVE | ½-½, 24 moves
Essaying the Sveshnikov Defense, MVL chose the rare 12…Ne7, soon forcing Dominguez to spend lots of time in the opening. In a sharp position, Leinier walked into a three-fold repetition, which seemed to suit MVL as well. With the draw, Dominguez remains in the hunt to qualify for the 2024 FIDE Candidates by rating.
Dominguez-Vachier-Lagrave: After 18…Nf5, Dominguez spent over thirty minutes before playing 19.f3, which led to a draw by repetition after 19...Qxf6 20.0-0 Qb6+ 21.Kh1 Qh6 22.Kg1
Dominguez is still just a single point behind So in the FIDE live ratings list. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
SO-NEPOMNIACHTCHI | ½-½, 37 moves
A highly theoretical 4.Qc2 Nimzo led to the players simplifying the position rather quickly, ending up in a completely drawn opposite colored bishops endgame. After the game So admitted he was unhappy with his performance in yesterday’s loss to Caruana. Since So was slated to play against Duda (who withdrew in Round 2) in the final round, his tournament is now over.
So looked to be on the way to his second Sinquefield Cup title, but a tough loss against Caruana thwarted his chances. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
RAPPORT - ARONIAN | ½-½, 57 moves
In the only full game of the day, Rapport went for an aggressive handling of the Italian Game, advancing his kingside early on while leaving his own king in the middle of the board. A timely check allowed Aronian to trade the queens off, greatly reducing the risk to Black’s position. From there Rapport had a small edge in the endgame, but was never able to make anything with it, with the players eventually landing in a drawish opposite colored bishops ending.
Rapport-Aronian: After 15.g4, White maneuvered with Nd2-f1-g3 to clamp down on the f5-square, but Black managed to create counterplay just in time.
Rapport has shown some of the most fighting chess in the tournament, but has been left winless so far. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
FIROUZJA - FREE DAY
The Sinquefield Cup continues on November 30, with live coverage starting at 1:15 PM CST. Catch all the action live with grandmaster commentators Yasser Seirawan, Peter Svidler, and Jovanka Houska on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels!
Written by IM Kostya Kavutskiy