Caruana Wins 2023 Sinquefield Cup, Grand Chess Tour

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Caruana
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To the victors go the spoils! (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)

 

GM Fabiano Caruana capped off a banner year by winning the 2023 Sinquefield Cup outright thanks to a last-round victory over Romanian GM Richard Rapport. In the process, Caruana got his live rating back over 2800 and brought his total Grand Chess Tour earnings for the year over $300,000.

 

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courtesy SLCC
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courtesy SLCC

 

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courtesy GCT
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courtesy GCT

 

We last checked in on this event with two rounds to go, when Caruana shared the lead with GM Leinier Dominguez, a half-point ahead of GM Wesley So. With Dominguez drawing his final two games and So drawing his final game before a last-round bye, the stage was set for Caruana to distance himself from his competitors:

 

 

On the 2024 FIDE Candidates front, So is in prime position to take the ratings spot. Not only does he hold a 1.2-point lead over Dominguez in the live ratings, but FIDE issued a "clarification" that Dominguez would have to play a fourth FIDE Circuit event (and one outside of the U.S., at that). 

 

All photos courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC. Dominguez had two chances to overtake So on the live ratings, and So was apparently keeping tabs on things the whole way through!

 

This leaves GM Anish Giri in pole position to claim the Circuit spot, although GM Gukesh D still has two chances to overtake Giri with a strong finish either in the London Chess Classic (beginning today) or the Gashimov Memorial later this month. 

 

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Giri
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Out of contention for the ratings spot, a Caruana loss would have made it easier for So to overtake Giri on the Circuit leaderboard. Giri and Caruana shared a laugh after their short draw in round eight (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)

 

Below are three more highlights from the tournament. First, we have So's backfired experiment against Caruana

 

 

Then, we have So's own win over Rapport's King's Indian Defense.

 

 

Finally, the complications at the end of Caruana's game against Firouzja were out of this world:

 

 

Congratulations to Caruana on his third Sinquefield Cup and first Grand Chess Tour win!

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