It was a hard-fought day with four draws as GM Wesley So continues to lead the Sinquefield Cup, the final leg of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour. With So having a bye round today it was an opportunity for his competitors to close the distance, but with just two rounds left it’s only Alireza Firouzja and Ian Nepomniachtchi, who are a half-point behind, that have the best chance of catching up.
As the event stands right now, So looks poised to win the 2022 GCT–if the tournament were to end as is, he would overtake Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the final tour standings:
Projected Grand Chess Tour Standings (if the event were to finish right now)
Check out the full replay of live coverage from the day here. The time control for the event is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game; with a 30-second increment starting from move 1.
Standings after Round 7 (Caruana & MVL are yet to play their ‘bye round’)
Round 7 Results
DOMINGUEZ - FIROUZJA | ½-½, 55 moves
In a sharp Najdorf (6.Be3 Ng4), the players quickly reached a very double-edged middlegame with a bishop and knight for Dominguez against Firouzja’s rook and two pawns. With the evaluation close to equal, it wasn’t clear who was playing for the win, as both players rejected repetitions throughout the game. As the long battle entered mutual time-trouble with both sides playing on the 30-second increment, a repetition was finally found, with neither player able to make any more progress.
After 25…0-0 a very complex middlegame arose, with chances for both sides.
Firouzja will play White in tomorrow’s crucial match-up against So. | Photo Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Bryan Adams
VACHIER-LAGRAVE - NIEMANN | ½-½, 55 moves
Starting with the surprising 1.Nf3, Vachier-Lagrave decided to go for the Symmetrical Grunfeld, playing for a small edge. White was certainly better in the middlegame due to Black’s misplaced knight on a6, but MVL missed his best chances for an advantage, allowing Niemann to simplify and hold the position with precise trades.
Here White’s best was 19.Nd5! with a clear advantage after 19…Rfd8 20.Nf4 Qe4 21.Rd3! – Instead MVL played 19.Nd4, allowing trades and only keeping a small plus.
An important draw for Niemann today, who suffered his first loss of the event yesterday. | Photo Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
CARUANA - ARONIAN | ½-½, 44 moves
Facing the Berlin, Caruana opted for a long theoretical line that went deep into the endgame. Aronian, having lost in the same variation to Caruana before, was better prepared this time, knowing exactly how to generate good counterplay. With both sides having passed pawns Caruana needed to be careful not to overpress, as the game eventually simplified down to bare kings.
After 28.Rc6–although White is winning on the queenside, Black can create ample play on the kingside.
Caruana was not able to surprise Aronian today. | Photo Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
MAMEDYAROV - NEPOMNIACHTCHI | ½-½, 33 moves
A rather uneventful game, as Mamedyarov went for the 4.Qc2 Nimzo, testing Nepomniachtchi’s preparation in a long theoretical line. Nepo passed the test, as the players ended up in a completely drawn endgame and repeated moves shortly before the first time control.
Not much sweat today for Nepomniachtchi, who along with Firouzja remains just a half-point behind So. | Photo Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
The 2022 Sinquefield Cup continues Saturday, September 10, starting at 12:50 PM CT. Catch all the action live with grandmaster commentators Peter Svidler, Yasser Seirawan, and Alejandro Ramirez on grandchesstour.org and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.