Saint Louis Chess Club Hosts Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX Event


The Saint Louis Chess Club hosts its annual exhibition tournament Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX, featuring living legend GM Garry Kasparov and nine of the world’s top active GMs competing over the popular variant Chess960. 

Also referred to as Fischer Random, Chess960 is a variant in which the back ranks are randomized anew in every game, using simple setup rules to total a possible 960 different starting positions, the result of which nearly eliminates the value of opening memorization and preparation. Not knowing the order of the home rank pieces until 15 minutes before each game begins, players are forced to fall back on their creativity to navigate through fresh positions.  


Hikaru Nakamura, 2019 9LX
Image Caption
Hikaru Nakamura, 2019 9LX (SLCC / Lennart Ootes)


The Chess9LX tournament will play Wednesday, September 8 through Friday between 10 of the world’s top GMs, including reigning Chess960 World Champion Wesley So, who won FIDE’s first-ever championship of the variant in 2019; as well as Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian and Russia’s Peter Svidler, who together were Chess960 World Champions for six years when the international championship was held unofficially in Germany through 2009. 


Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX Field 


URS Rating

GM Hikaru Nakamura


GM Wesley So


GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


GM Fabiano Caruana


GM Levon Aronian


GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov


GM Leinier Dominguez


GM Peter Svidler


GM Sam Shankland


GM Garry Kasparov



Peter Svidler, seated in 2019
Image Caption
Peter Svidler, 2019 9LX (SLCC / Crystal Fuller)


Before Chess9LX, the Champions Showdown will kick off on Tuesday, September 7 with the Ultimate Moves exhibition event, a casual team-based game between the super-GM lineup and Saint Louis Chess Club benefactor Rex Sinquefield. 

Ultimate Moves will begin Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. central, while Chess9LX games will begin Wednesday and daily at 2:00 p.m. COVID restrictions have kept out live spectators from these events, though the action can be watched live online on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.TV channels, along with commentary from GMs Maurice Ashley and Alejandro Ramirez. 

Games on each day will begin at 2:00pm CDT (GMT-5) from September 8-10 for Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX. The tournament will include expert commentary featuring GM’s Maurice Ashley and Alejandro Ramirez.  Due to COVID-19 precautions there will be no live spectators allowed but fans can watch the action online at or on the Saint Louis Chess Club's YouTube and channels. 

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