Reports | June 18, 2013 10:28

Carlsen, Aronian, Nakamura, Kamsky to play in first "Sinquefield Cup"

Carlsen & Nakamura at the 2012 London Chess Classic

Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky are the participants of the first Sinquefield Cup, a brand new tournament on American soil. The 4-player double round robin has a prize fund of $170,000 and will be held September 9-15 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL), the city that has been the "chess mecca" of the United States for a number of years now.

Carlsen & Nakamura at the 2012 London Chess Classic | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

There had been rumours for a while, and originally the intention was to hold it in July, but now it's official: a new super tournament in the United States. Rex Sinquefield, the retired financial executive who has been sponsoring chess events for a number of years now in Saint Louis, Missouri now goes one step further. Between September 9th and 15th, a four-player, double round robin will be held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, with Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky.

The press release notes that for the first time ever, Carlsen will play a high-profile tournament in the United States. This seems to be the case for Aronian as well. :-) CCSCSL Executive Director Tony Rich said this event marks an important milestone for U.S. chess.

“We are honored to bring the world’s best to Saint Louis this September. Hosting an event of this magnitude is yet another sign that the U.S. is becoming a major player in the world chess scene.

The tournament has a dream line-up for the local organizers, with the world's number one and two Carlsen and Aronian, and the Nakamura and Kamsky holding the #1 and #2 spots in the U.S.

The press release was send out to the media shortly after Nakamura scored his third straight victory at the Tal Memorial, where he beat the #3, #4 and #8 of the live rankings, Vladimir Kramnik, Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin. This has vaulted him back into fifth place in the world. 

Two weeks ago Kamsky scored one of his most successful tournament performances in recent years, with a second-place finish at the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece. Shortly before that, Kamsky won his fourth U.S. Championship title. He has climbed back into the world’s top 10 for the first time since September 2011.

The average FIDE rating for the field is over 2800, making it the strongest tournament in the history of the U.S. The total prize fund is $170,000. The opening ceremony will take place on September 8, and round 1 will begin at 1 p.m. CT on Monday, September 9.

The Sinquefield Cup s named after the founders of the CCSCSL, Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield. The Sinquefields were each honored by the U.S. Chess Federation with a Gold Koltanowski award in 2012, with Rex also earning the distinction in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The award is given to the person or persons who have done the most to promote chess in the U.S. each year. 

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


S3's picture

A good and predictable initiative! I remember septimus ranting when i said there is no need to popularize chess with the plebs cause there were plenty of rich chess sponsors, including this one. Boy does Septimus look silly now.

RG13's picture

It's about time the U.S. has stepped up to host a strong International tournament. However I didn't know that it would take that big of a prize fund to do it. $170,000 divided among four players is pretty good compensation for having to play in a third-world country like the U.S. ;-)

Dee-Berg's picture

Stronger than New York 1924? No way. But I look forward to it. It is a great place, and a great sponsor, and I have enjoyed visiting the St. Louis club whenever I've been in the area. Kudos to all involved in organizing this event!

anti-jonnie-foreigner's picture

Sad that seinfeld has to back a russian & a japanese player in USA chess

Anonymous's picture

there is just no us-born strong player.

look at your national-team. --

Anónimo's picture

Are you familiar with an American-born guy named Fabiano?

Anónimo's picture

Who the heck is Seinfeld, chauvinistic anti-jonnie?

filiusdextris's picture

sad that an internet troll can't rid himself of his xenophobic fixations

chesslover's picture

I really like these double round robin tournaments, because in the ususal setup with the swiss system so much is decided by luck (who has white in the critical games?)

Kamsky is not only the lowest rated player in the field, but also the underdog I guess. If he can play his best chess he might not finish last in the tournament, but if he is not at his best the tournament could get very ugly for him, because the other three will concentrate on beating him.

I look forward to this event!

peterV's picture

Me too

Morley's picture

What an interesting field! The strongest player in the world, and arguably the three most original and inventive players of the top ten. Can't wait for this one, I might even visit in person.

welwitchia's picture

Why not invite the World Champ as well? After all he is still the champ...

Anónimo's picture

Maybe they were attempting to lower the number of draws?

Morley's picture

They might not have had the money. And to invite him would mean inviting a 6th as well, 4 might have been the sweet spot for the organizers. It is also fun to have the two highest rated in the world, and the two highest rated Americans duke it out.

Anonymous's picture

waiting for that event, it was sweet to see how Magnus put Anand in the snow today !

Kamalakanta's picture

Glad to see Nakamura doing well. He has been working hard, and it shows. I've always felt he has WC potential, and I was dismayed when he first started playing in elite tournaments and a few people were saying he does not belong in the elite. Boy, has he proved them wrong!

Thomas Oliver's picture

Sinquefield managed what his German counterpart Wolfgang Grenke reportedly also wanted, and hopes to achieve next year: Carlsen and Aronian (both members of the Baden-Baden team) at the/his Grenke Chess Classic.

A candidates event interferred, and maybe (probably/apparently) Sinquefield is even more affluent or spends his money on a smaller number of events with less players - Grenke also supports the Baden-Baden Bundesliga team and used to contribute to the Mainz rapid events.

Isaac Hunt's picture

Would this be the first Category 23 tournament ever?

Anonymous's picture


Isaac Hunt's picture

What were the others then?

NN's picture

"The press release notes that for the first time ever, Carlsen will play a high-profile tournament in the United States. This seems to be the case for Aronian as well. :-)"
That would depend on whether one considers the Las Vegas 1999 World Championship to be a high-profile tournament.

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