Added on 8/9/2019

Day 1

Rd 1

Breaking news in Rd 1. Magnus Carlsen gets crushed by Ding Liren, losing his first Rapid game of 2019! Here is the live commentary of the endgame with GMs Yasser Seirawan and Maurice Ashley, and WGM Jennifer Shahade.

The Chinese superstar literally annihilated the World Champion, who had to give up when Ding had mate in two over the board. In a round that saw only one draw, between Karjakin and Caruana, Aronian, Mamedyarov, and Rapport won their games, joining Ding in the early lead.

© Grand Chess Tour / Austin & Crystal Fuller

Rd 2

Carlsen bounced back immediately, with a nice win over Rapport. One of those games in which the Numero Uno makes it look simple, even with a Queen sac at the last move, which GM Yasser Seirawan called "A fantastically classy move."

Caruana and Mamedyarov drew their game, and so did Yu Yangyi and Vachier-Lagrave. Aronian kept up the right pace, beating Karjakin.

Rd 3

Carlsen won again, fixing his initial hiccup. In his trademark style, destroying his opponent, the newly American Dominguez. Aronian won his third game in a row, this time against Mamedyarov, finishing the first day in the lead. Ding, Karjakin, Yangyi, and Caruana drew their games. 

© Grand Chess Tour / Austin & Crystal Fuller  

Day 2

Rd 4 Second day, second loss for Carlsen. It looks like the World Champion doesn't like the first game od the day! Caruana resisted to Magnus' desperate attempts to save a lost game and got the two points.

© Grand Chess Tour / Austin & Crystal Fuller Now Fabiano sits in second place together with Ding Liren and MVL, two points behind Aronian. In Rapid, a win is worth two points, so everything can still happen.

Dominguez beat Rapport winning his first game in the event, and MVL won over Karjakin. Yu Yangyi won against Mamedyarov. Ding Liren stopped Aronian's run, forcing the leader of the tournament to a draw. Aronian is still in the lead, with 7 points.

Rd 5

Carlsen - Aronian was the top game. Carlsen trailed 3 points behind the leader, but again, with 2 points for a win, it could have been a turn in the event, with Carlsen getting back close to the top. But Aronian, who's showing an excellent form in Rapid, beat the Numero Uno and put a serious claim on the Rapid title.

© Grand Chess Tour / Austin & Crystal Fuller MVL beat Mamedyarov, who's sinking towards the bottom of the list. MVL and Ding are the couple at the heels of the leader, two points behind.



Rd 6

MVL won the game of the chasers, beating the Chinese super-GM Ding Liren. 


Karjakin beat Mamedyarov, who's having a nightmare event so far. Carlsen partially recovered after to loses in a row - which is something we don't often see - drawing his game with Yu Yangyi. Domingues held Aronian to a draw, allowing MVL to get very close to the strong Armenian. Caruana won his game with Rapport. A beautiful position (for Caruana!) over the board when Rapport (White) resigned:

Day 3

Rd 7

Vachier-Lagrave faced Carlsen with the White pieces in the opening round of Day 3. MVL was only one point behind the leader, and with Carlsen struggling to find his best form, the chance was inviting for the strong Frenchman. But a grumpy Carlsen went on to win the game, stopping MVL from his chase, as Aronian won against Caruana, putting a solid three points between him and the French player. Ding Liren drew with Karjakin and Mamedyarov managed to lose another game, this time against Rapport.


Rd 8

Magnus found himself in dire straits against Karjakin. The World Champions is struggling a lot, especially with the Black pieces. In a lost ending. Carlsen fought with all he had, but the Russian didn't let go of the Norwegian and brought home the two points. At the top of the standings, Aronian lost to Rapport in a long struggle, where the Armenian tried to save an impossible endgame, only to resign at move 89. MVL beat Dominguez, bringing himself up at only one point from the leader. 

Rd 9

In the last round of the Rapid section of the St Louis GCT event, Aronian was held to a draw by yu Yangyi, whereas MVL won his game with Caruana, catching Levon on the finish line to share first!

Carlsen played Mamedyarov. The Azeri is having a horrible tournament, being last in the standings, with only 4 points after 8 games. After a bad start of the game, Carlsen succeeded in equalizing it, thanks to a couple of weak moves by Mamedyarov. The players entered a difficult endgame, Carlsen with 4 pawns and a Knight, and Mamedyarov with 3 pawns and a Rook. After some skirmish, and with Mamedyarov with a slight advantage but in time trouble, they agreed to a draw. A disappointing event for both of them.

Day 4

Blitz is a different game. And when the strongest Blitz player ever manages to collect 50% of the available points, everything can happen. Carlsen has made us all think he is invincible, especially when it comes to playing Blitz. Well, there is a piece of breaking news: Carlsen is human. And even he, the strongest player ever - at least in the modern era - can go into an event and just play badly. 

© Grand Chess Tour / Austin & Crystal Fuller With Carlsen out of the contest, the fight for the final victory seems to be restricted to three gladiators: the super-strong Frenchmen with two surnames, the Armenian wizard and the Chinese star Ding Liren. © Grand Chess Tour / Austin & Crystal Fuller In Blitz, the players get one point for the win and half a point for the draw. Looking at the standings, with 9 rounds to go (tomorrow), these three are the ones to keep an eye on for the final triumph.

Day 5

© Grand Chess Tour / Austin & Crystal Fuller

Levon Aronian is the winner of the St. Louis Rapid and Blitz Grand Chess Tour event!

The Azeri chess genius held tight in Blitz, scoring 50%, which allowed him to keep the lead until the end of a crazy fifth day. MVL, who was there with him or immediately behind for most of the event, went down scoring 8.5/18, that's quite uncharacteristic for such a super-strong Blitz player. The two Chinese super-GMs - Ding Liren and Yu Yangyi - scored 11.5/18, and finished tied for second, together with the Frenchman. A ruffled Magnus Carlsen continued his disastrous tournament, scoring what is probably one of the worst performance in the last decade for him, 50% in Rapid and 50% in Blitz.  Garry Kasparov, during his participation in the live commentary at the St. Louis Chess Club (via Skype), hinted that the players are overworked, given the horrible level of play in this event. And just to rest up a bit, in two days the gang will be playing "normal" chess, in the much-awaited Sinquefield Cup!



Last year the event in St Louis ended up this way:

Hikaru Nakamura won't be in St. Louis to defend his title, as he is hiking mountains in Colorado.

From Instagram

Despite the absence of the American star - arguably one of the best players ever in Rapid and Blitz - the Grand Chess Tour leg in St. Louis can sport a super-group of participants:

Magnus Carlsen leads the GCT standings after three events: From the GCT official website Magnus won in Cote d'Ivoire and Croatia and didn't participate in Paris, where Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won, though with some difficulties. Maxime entered the Paris event as Numero Uno in Blitz, but after a brilliant two-day run in Rapid, he seemed out.of-form in Blitz and was barely able to keep half a point advantage over the runnerup, the eternal Vishy Anand. MVL lost the prestigious first spot in the Blitz FIDE list, letting Magnus be on top of all the three categories again.

You can check out the LIVE rating at

In the last few months, Magnus has shown the World that he is playing in a different category. The list of tournaments he's won is impressive, to say the least:

World Blitz Championship TATA Steel Grenke Chess Shamkir Chess Abidjan Lindores Abbey Norway Chess GCT Cote d'Ivoire GCT Croatia

Now the real news will be when Magnus does NOT win a tournament!  Play starts Saturday, August the 10th, at 1 PM CDT (2 PM EST - 20:00 Central European Time). Here is the schedule:

From the GCT official website ICC will relay the games, and have GM Alex Yermolinsky recap the event LIVE on ICCTV on August the 15th at 3 PM EDT!