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GCT St. Louis Rapid & Blitz Tournament

Levon Aronian15.5/27(+9 -5 =13)[games]
Yangyi Yu16.5/27(+12 -6 =9)[games]
Ding Liren16.5/27(+10 -4 =13)[games]
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave15/27(+13 -10 =4)[games]
Sergey Karjakin15.5/27(+12 -8 =7)[games]
Magnus Carlsen13/27(+9 -10 =8)[games]
Richard Rapport12.5/27(+9 -11 =7)[games]
Fabiano Caruana11/27(+7 -12 =8)[games]
Leinier Dominguez Perez10/27(+6 -13 =8)[games]
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov9.5/27(+6 -14 =7)[games]
* Chess Event Description
GCT St. Louis Rapid & Blitz (2019)

The Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz was the 4th stage of the 2019 Grand Chess Tour. The 10-player tournament took place in the Saint Louis Chess Club from 10-14 August. The prize fund was $150,000, with $37,500 for 1st place. Seven tour regulars including World Champion Magnus Carlsen were joined by wildcards Leinier Dominguez, Yu Yangyi, and Richard Rapport. The rapid section on the first three days was a single round-robin with a time control of 25 minutes for all moves and a 10-second delay from move 1. The final two days were a blitz double round-robin, with 18 rounds of 5+3 blitz. Rapid games counted double, with 2 points for a win and 1 for a draw. A 2-player tie for first would be decided by a 2-game rapid mini-match (10+5) and if necessary an Armageddon game (5 vs 4). Tournament director: Tony D Rich. Chief arbiter: Christopher Bird.

Levon Aronian won with 22/36 and collected 13 Grand Chess Tour points (GP):

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts GP 1 Aronian *** 1½½ 1½1 200 2½0 2½½ 0½1 2½½ 10½ 211 22 13 =2 Yu Yangyi 1½½ *** 0½1 101 101 111 0½1 210 210 21½ 21½ 8⅓ =2 Ding Liren 1½0 2½0 *** 011 1½1 210 1½1 111 11½ 1½½ 21½ 8⅓ =2 Vachier-Lagrave 011 110 200 *** 2½0 00½ 201 210 201 21½ 21½ 8⅓ 5 Karjakin 0½1 110 1½0 0½1 *** 210 101 111 011 210 19½ 6 6 Carlsen 0½½ 100 001 21½ 001 *** 21½ 0½0 2½0 111 17 5 7 Rapport 2½0 2½0 1½0 010 110 00½ *** 011 0½1 210 16½ 4 8 Caruana 0½½ 001 100 001 100 2½1 200 *** 1½1 101 15 3 9 Dominguez 11½ 001 10½ 010 200 0½1 2½0 1½0 *** 000 13½ 2 10 Mamedyarov 000 00½ 1½½ 00½ 001 100 001 110 211 *** 12 1

Official site:

Previous GCT event: GCT Paris Rapid & Blitz (2019). Next: Sinquefield Cup (2019)

 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 135  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Ding Liren vs Carlsen 1-0452019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD39 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin, Vienna Variation
2. Y Yu vs Rapport 0-1612019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
3. Vachier-Lagrave vs Aronian 0-1452019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzC53 Giuoco Piano
4. Karjakin vs Caruana  ½-½422019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD78 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O c6
5. Mamedyarov vs Dominguez Perez  1-0352019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Caruana vs Mamedyarov  ½-½232019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzC53 Giuoco Piano
7. Y Yu vs Vachier-Lagrave  ½-½662019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD93 Grunfeld, with Bf4 & e3
8. Dominguez Perez vs Ding Liren  ½-½352019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzC53 Giuoco Piano
9. Rapport vs Carlsen 0-1352019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzA06 Reti Opening
10. Aronian vs Karjakin 1-0562019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD05 Queen's Pawn Game
11. Carlsen vs Dominguez Perez 1-0302019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Ding Liren vs Caruana  ½-½382019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD39 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin, Vienna Variation
13. Karjakin vs Y Yu ½-½442019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD05 Queen's Pawn Game
14. Mamedyarov vs Aronian 0-1452019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD38 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation
15. Vachier-Lagrave vs Rapport 1-0502019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzC02 French, Advance
16. Caruana vs Carlsen 1-0392019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzB30 Sicilian
17. Aronian vs Ding Liren  ½-½342019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzB10 Caro-Kann
18. Rapport vs Dominguez Perez 0-1242019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzA14 English
19. Vachier-Lagrave vs Karjakin 1-0662019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzB10 Caro-Kann
20. Y Yu vs Mamedyarov 1-0442019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzC49 Four Knights
21. Carlsen vs Aronian 0-1352019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD02 Queen's Pawn Game
22. Mamedyarov vs Vachier-Lagrave  0-1552019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD78 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O c6
23. Ding Liren vs Y Yu  1-0492019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Dominguez Perez vs Caruana  ½-½582019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzC78 Ruy Lopez
25. Karjakin vs Rapport  ½-½412019GCT St. Louis Rapid & BlitzC55 Two Knights Defense
 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 135  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-15-19  starry2013: It was a weird tournament because it looked like several players didn't even belong there, or as if players were throwing games from the start. Some classical players just aren't that good at shorter formats so mixing the two has a strange result. Classical is given a much heavier weighting anyway, and blitz far less. So for various reasons I wonder if it's the best promotion of shorter time control. The attempt to integrate all forms together may not work.
Aug-15-19  goodevans: <Some classical players just aren't that good at shorter formats so mixing the two...>

There were no 'classical' games in this Tournament, although I'd concede 'rapid' often produces chess of a quality approaching that of 'classical'.

<...has a strange result.>

Aronian and MVL did well at rapid and averagely <not poorly> at blitz. The reverse was true for Ding Liren, Yu Yangyi and Karjak. Apart from that the results were remarkably consistent across the two formats.

The two rounds of blitz had little affect on the overall standings:

LA 1st= to 1st
MVL 1st= to 2nd=
DL 3rd= to 2nd=
YY 3rd= to 2nd=
SK 5th= to 5th
MC 5th= to 6th
RR 5th= to 7th
FC 5th= to 8th
LDP 9th to 9th
SM 10th to 10th

Aug-15-19  goodevans: Despite the consistency between the rapid and blitz results (my previous post) I think the inclusion of blitz detracted from the tournament. I found playing through the rapid games much more rewarding than the blitz.

A double round robin of rapid would have required an extra day. Would that be too much to ask?

Blitz has it's place, which is in blitz tournaments and not to be mixed with other formats.

Aug-15-19  Clemens Scheitz: Caruana's 3.5 - 0.5 against Magnus for the whole tournament was quite surprising. I'm sure it makes him feel pretty, pretty, pretty,. good about it ( thanks to Larry David ).
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <KnightVBishop:

Magnus doesn't care about speed chess>

That's how he wins world chess championships.

Aug-15-19  Pawn Dillinger: <csmath:I think it is good for him to lose a lot just to make him less supportive of this nonsense. I really do not understand what are these games for - surely not for theoretical analyses? Just to clog database with garbage chess.>

Agreed. And a whole lot of wasted analyses on Why so many mistakes and blunders? Not enough time for quality moves.

Aug-15-19  Pawn Dillinger: <LameJokes:
Kasparov thinks computers are responsible for the spate of blunders.

Just look at the scenario three decades ago. Kasparov and Karpov made blunders, but no one criticized them.

The reason? No one noticed them in the absence of computer evals.

Here is the solution. Just show analysis and not evals.>

That or find a way to get rid of the idiots calling GMs names, etc. Chess has some real beauts.

Not to mention the dumbing down of chess: "Duh, that was a red move." How about, "That was a bad move BECAUSE..."

Aug-15-19  john barleycorn: <Levon Aronian won with 22/27 and collected 13 Grand Chess Tour points (GP):>

Should not CG forego any attempt to keep track of tournament standings?

Aug-15-19  Atking: Maxime has lost his leading place in Blitz but got it on rapids Not a bad exchange.
Aug-15-19  Atking: Just realizing that Maxime in this Grand Tour finished badly one time in Croatia but at the others he finished equal 2nd or first. About the points the gap between the first place and the second is by the way a bit harsh (4) the second to the third only 2...
Aug-15-19  LameJokes: <Pawn Dillinger>

Yeah, guys on Chessbomb are amusing lot for sure. Every time Levon makes a mistake they compare him with lemon. To drive the point home, they show 25 lemons in a row.

Every time a GM makes an error and eval goes south, they waste no time to declare it a 'blunder.'

They have a peculiar way of spelling it: B....l....u....n....d....e....r!!!!

I think, they think it's funny. Being a jokster myself, I understand them to a certain extent. But yes, they do go overboard at times.

Aug-15-19  LameJokes:

As far as 5-minute blitz is concerned, blunders are nothing new. We have seen wild fluctuation in performances of GMs. Including Carlsen, MVL and Nakamura, who are considered experts in this format.

Players move pieces 40 times during first time control. In addition, they got to press the clocks. Again 40 times. During this manual exercise, they can't think.

How long do they get to spend on chess thinking? 2 minutes? 3 minutes? Is quality chess possible in this meager time?

That's why I make a case for 10-minute blitz. I am not calling for blanket ban on 5-minute format. I mean, they should try 10 minute for few events at least.

Aug-15-19  starry2013: goodevans: <There were no 'classical' games in this Tournament>

I was referring to the Grand Tour which this is part of, and the universal rating system they use as well.

Aug-15-19  csmath: I think Aronian was extremely lucky winning this. It is obvious this means a lot to him as it lifted his spirit considerably which one can see in the interview after the win with Maurice Ashley. But luck was really on his side, in rapid game with Magnus he should have lost and yet he won. In the long blitz game with Yu he was totally lost and Yu had a totally amateur mate in 2 moves but for some reason completely overlooked it and Aronian drew. So I don't think he did anything particularly great that would distinguish him from the rest of the field. Just a pure luck that was on his side. Could have easily been 2-3 points lower.

MVL and Magnus lost too many games, some of them just total junk. Caruana had a nightmare first blitz day with 1.5/9 which is something of a rarity.

Yu was probably the most consistent and with just a tad more luck he could have won the tournament. That is actually surprise to me since I always considered him behind Ding, Wang Hao, Wei Yi, and Bu but somehow here he managed to look very sharp. Her really schooled Carlsen in two blitz games how NOT to play against elite players practically destroying him in two miniatures. He actually significantly contributed to Magnus' downfall in the tournament.

Aug-15-19  Sokrates: <csmath: ... So I don't think he did anything particularly great that would distinguish him from the rest of the field. Just a pure luck that was on his side. Could have easily been 2-3 points lower.... > Have you ever played blitz games yourself? You can't have missed that in blitz games the upper hand shifts very quickly because of numerous errors on both sides, many of which are caused by zeitnot, others by bad time management. What you call luck is part of the game. None of Aronian's opponents were forced to make fatal mistakes at crucial moments. They could have managed their time better, analysed the position deeper, had a better sense of what was crucial at the moment.

I have played numerous blitzes with players who managed their time poorly. Using all their seconds to create a won position and then throw it all away because they only had 7 seconds left, when they were about to harvest their advantage. Some of them said after the game, "But I had a won position! I should have won!" I said, well, I might also have reached a won position if I had used my time as badly as you did. It's the most trivial, utterly banal fact in blitz that you are dead lost, when your time runs out, regardless of what brilliant play you performed in the process.

Aug-15-19  csmath: I play probably 20-30 blitzes daily. :-)

Nowadays that is the only chess I play.

The game Magnus played with Aronian was rapid 25 minutes each. That is plenty of time to win that game. When Magnus made the losing move he had 15 and a half minutes on the clock, Aronian 5 minutes and Aronian was completely outplayed and on the ropes so to speak.

You look at the long blitz game Aronian played as white versus Yu and check the 28th move and tell me this is not the worst blunder on this tournament. It is an amateur checkmate in two with the first move that is a check, how hard is to see that? Even a blind grandpa could find it, Yu must have been kicking walls when he missed it.

Aug-15-19  csmath: There are blunders and blunders in blitz but some are just too bad and this checkmate is one of the worst thing one can overlook, it is not something one can miss with a clear head in any time control. I don't even remember when I missed something like that. Maurice Ashley spotted it in a second.
Aug-16-19  Sokrates: Wow, <csmath>, that's an impressive number of blitzes - good on you!

Right, Yu oversaw what a <blind grandpa> would have seen and you may never have <missed something like that>, but I have seen worse, although it was among amateurs like myself (evidently).

I have seen players losing one second before mating their opponent and people wasting a clearly won position by taking too much time to mate or simply overlooking that their queen stood en prise. That even happened to Petrosian in a classical game vs. Bronstein as you know. In the heat of the battle in a blitz we can all become blind grandpas, but I would never call it luck. It's just an inseperable part of playing blitzes: the number of blunders and mistakes increases proportionally with the shortness of time available.

What I don't like about your argumentation is that you describe it as though Aronian was particularly favoured by this banal fact, because his opponents missed easily detectable opportunities. What about the opportunities Aronian missed to get into the worse position against them? Chess is all about the fact that we humans make mistakes, thus enabling the opponent to exploit them. Otherwise we'd play like computer programmes.

As said, in a blitz game many errors occur, some obvious, others because of bad judgement, but I think it's wrong to say: in that game player X was lucky because player Y made more and worse mistakes than player X. I say player X won because he - in that game - managed the conditions and rules of blitzes better.

Aug-16-19  starry2013: What won it for Aronian was Ding not being quite quick enough to hit the clock in a drawn position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Ding losing on time in the game Starry2013 mentioned.

The a5 Rook goes to b5 back to a5 then a3 then finally let go on a4 by then his time is up.


Aug-16-19  DrGridlock: <What won it for Aronian was Ding not being quite quick enough to hit the clock in a drawn position.>

Quite a bit more than just not being quick enough.

I was at the St Louis chess club, and was watching that game between Ding and Aronian. Yes, the position was a "likely draw" at classical time control. They had reached an endgame where each side had 2 rooks, and three pawns, and one of Aronian's pawns was passed. The time control was 5 minutes, and a three second delay for each move. Once the players had reached move 35 or so, Aronian had 7 seconds on his clock, Ding had 4 seconds. That meant that Ding had to make each and every move for the rest of the game in 3 seconds (the amount of the gain), or he'd draw down his precious 4 seconds. That is nearly a won position for Aronian on the clock - since he can create enough complications with 2 rooks and a passed pawn. At move 42, Ding had picked up his rook on a4 to move it, hovered it between a couple squares deciding where to move it, but did not decide before his time ran out.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Hope you enjoyed your stay at St Louis,<Dr Gridlock> !

I also saw the situation on the board like you did.

Aug-16-19  csmath: This is one of the things I hate about 5+3 blitz. The time allowed for a move should be 6 seconds or if it is less it should be with board sensing clocks (like online). 5+3 blitz that is sort of standard does not allow enough time to move and hit the clock without occasionally knocking down pieces and accidental "handshakes." I see no reason for that other than trying to force players to sit on the edge of their seats.

I never play lighting because when I did (in the past) it always amounted to a win on time. Winning on time cannot be satisfactory to either party.

In either case blitz is just instinctive garbage IMHO. I play it because nowadays I don't have time to play long games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <I was at the St Louis chess club, and was watching that game between Ding and Aronian.>

Were you the guy in the baggy polo shirt, knee-length shorts and baseball cap? Oh wait, that was every visitor in the building.

Aug-16-19  DrGridlock: Nope ... I was the bald guy!!
(Still every guy in the building).
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