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Jen's Top Sinquefield Cup Moments Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
September 19, 2013
GM Magnus Carlsen explaining why he played for the win in his post-tournament interview with GM Maurice Ashley
Inspired by GM Ian Rogers popular piece on lessons from the Sinquefield Cup, I've compiled my own top ten moments on the historic event held from September 9-15 in Saint Louis.

1.    Levon Draw Offer…DECLINED.  One of the hardest things to teach my students is the importance of declining draw offers in complex positions or against strong opponents. When Magnus Carlsen declined Levon Aronian's draw offer on move 47, even though it would clinch $70,000 and the Sinquefield Cup, he also inspired a generation of young chessplayers.


Gata Kamsky, Magnus Carlsen and Maurice Ashley
2.  Sports & Chess: The Saint Louis Chess Club arranged for the players to be on the field in both a Rams game and a Cardinals game. It was awesome to see the top chessplayers in the World and the US up on the jumbotron.

Magnus was particularly excited to attend his first NFL game.

3.    Friday the 13th and the 13th World Championship
Garry Kasparov, the 13th World Champion came on the show to talk to GM Maurice Ashley about the future of chess in America and his thoughts on Magnus Carlsen's upcoming World Championship match against Anand. It’s often been said that 13 is a lucky number for Garry. Meanwhile, one of our shows, held on Friday the 13th, was interrupted by a scary visitor!

4.    Celebrating Dan Lucas’s birthday

Chess Life Magazine editor Dan Lucas was also at the Sinquefield Cup, here pictured with the World's largest chess piece at the World Chess Hall of Fame. Since we e-mail daily, it's always great to see him in person. His birthday fell on a dinner outing for 20 organizers, players and journalists, so we got to regale him with an offkey and multilingual "Happy Birthday."

Franc Guadalupe, interim Executive Director at the USCF and Zonal President, was also able to make the trip to Saint Louis and rang the bell to kick off the fifth round game.

ChessToGo2.jpg5. Making Chess More Accessible (Literally): Gift bags included a creation by club co-founder Jeanne Sinquefield, “Chess to Go.” Originally designed for the Boy Scouts chess program she spearheaded, the set is also convenient for adults, which I could squeeze into even my smallest purse.

Magnus Carlsen and other GMs even used a "Chess to Go" creation at the opening dinner. That paper cut out set is so inexpensive to create, it could be distributed en masse to schools. Although Rex’s passion for chess makes him the more visible and vocal founder of the club, I believe Jeanne’s contributions to the game will be very powerful in the coming years.  The USCF recognized this in honoring heChessToGo3.jpgr this year with the gold Koltanowski medal.

Find out more on http://www.chess2go.net/

 6. Hikaru Nakamura and his sunglasses

 GM Hikaru Nakamura wore sunglasses to both of his games against Magnus Carlsen, who had always been a tough opponent for him. He drew both games.


GM Yasser Seirawan and I also had some fun with this in the booth:


7.   Chess Fan Frenzy: Chess fans came from all over the country to see their favorite chess players in person. Even the commentators were besieged:  One college student asked me to sign his abs! I also signed a copy of my first book, Chess Bitch, with the “B” covered by an “In and Out” sticker. The players signed hundreds of autographs and GM Hikaru Nakamura said in an interview that he was excited to hear some fans cheering for him as he entered the club for a critical round.

And take a look at the crowd which greeted Magnus after he won his final game.


8. A fashion precursor JenSTLChess.jpg We went for a more casual and stylish vibe for my wardrobe. It was always fun to see what G-star Raw outfits Magnus Carlsen was wearing, and the extra attention to chess and fashion was a perfect precursor to next month’s “Queen Gala”, which kicks off the “Queen Within” show at the World Chess Hall of Fame on October 16. Even Cosmo featured it! 

PlayersHOSlots.jpg9. Set Up Your Pieces in Style: Players were happy to draw lots at the tournament by selecting a commemorative House of Staunton set, designed specifically for the Sinquefield Cup. The affable and funny GM Levon Aronian even joked about locking his up with the included key, so no one could use them (not even his equally charming girlfriend WIM Arianne Caoli)!

Creator Frank Camaratta said, "The impetus for The House of Staunton's pursuing improving the design and adding weight to the DGT chessmen came from the nexus between Rex Sinquefield's desire to use top quality chess equipment for the premier chess events." Find more details or purchase a commemorative edition via USCF Sales/HOS .

10.    Rex Sinquefield announcing that they plan to host a 2014 Sinquefield Cup
My favorite moment of all