From the humble status of wild-card entry at St Louis last year, the US Grandmaster, Wesley So (formerly of the Philippines) has rocketed to first prize laureate this year and also overall leader in the Chess Grand Tour standings. Final scores in St Louis were: So 5½; Anand, Aronian, Caruana and Topalov 5; Vachier-Lagrave and Nakamura 4½; Ding Liren 4; Svidler 3½; Giri 3.
The overall standings in the Grand Chess Tour are:
To be fair, world champion Magnus Carlsen was absent from St Louis, preparing for his world title defence against Sergei Karjakin. Given that fact, Carlsen’s second-place slot after the Paris, Leuven and St Louis legs of the Grand Tour is remarkable.
So-Nakamura: Sinquefield Cup; St Louis 2016 (see diagram 1)
25 Qd8 Qxd8 A better try to hold the endgame is 25 … c3 26 Qxc8 Bxc8 27 Rc1 Nd5. As played, White’s king and rook quickly achieve decisive activity. 26 Rxd8 c3 27 Ke1 Bc4 28 Kd1 Bxa2 29 Kc2 Bc4 30 e3 b5 31 Kxc3 a6 32 Ra8 Nd5+ 33 Bxd5 exd5 34 a5 Not falling for 34 Rxa6 b4+. 34 … b4+ 35 Kd2 Bf1 36 Rc8 c4 The black pawns advance, but only to become hopelessly blockaded. 37 Rb8 b3 38 Kc3 Black resigns
So-Topalov: Sinquefield Cup, St Louis 2016 (see diagram 2)
White doesn’t need to defend his extra pawn, preferring instead to activate his forces and make the most of his passed c-pawn. 34 Rd1 Bxe3 35 Qd7 Qa8 35 … Qxd7 36 Rxd7 Bg5 37 c6 is crushing. 36 Nd5 Bg5 37 c6 Bh4 38 Rd2 So tidies up before the decisive advance of his c-pawn. 38 … Re1 39 Rc2 Kg7 40 Nb6 Qb8 41 Qd4+ Black resigns