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Nakamura, Aronian Meet Tomorrow for Showdown in Saint Louis Print E-mail
By Brian Jerauld   
November 20, 2014
SAINT LOUIS (November 20, 2014) – The bell rings tomorrow for a battle between two of the world’s heavyweights.

The United States’ super Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura will square off against GM Levon Aronian, the World No. 4, in the Showdown in Saint Louis, a five-round contest for the lion’s share of a $100,000 purse. The special head-to-head exhibition will include four classical games of chess and a final round featuring 16 games of Blitz. The event will run from Friday, Nov. 21 to Tuesday, Nov. 25, with each round’s first move made at 2:00 p.m. daily. Each game will be broadcast live on www.uschesschamps.com.

Nakamura, the top American player ranked No. 9 in the world according to FIDE’s November 2014 rating list, is in the hunt for his first Candidates Tournament appearance and today holds second place, halfway through the 2014-2015 FIDE Grand Prix cycle. Aronian, a veteran to the world ranks, has long-been regarded as the main rival to World Champion Magnus Carlsen and reached his career-peak rating of 2830 earlier this year. Along with providing both players with elite head-to-head match experience, the Showdown in Saint Louis will also settle the score from the players’ last meeting: drawing twice at the 2014 Sinquefield Cup in the U.S. Capital of Chess last September.

Alongside the Showdown are two specialized invitational tournaments designed for up-and-coming players attempting to earn chess’ elite master titles: International Master and, the superior, Grandmaster. The 2014 GM/IM Invitational events are two 10-player, round-robin tournaments designed to award title “norms,” or superior performances required by FIDE for player titles.

Of special focus in the GM norm event is Samuel Sevian and Ashwin Jayaram, two players who have already collected three Grandmaster norms and need just a handful of rating points to pass the necessary FIDE watermark of 2500. If Sevian clears the mark, the 13-year-old will become the youngest American Grandmaster in the history of chess.

The Showdown in Saint Louis will be streamed live on www.uschesschamps.com and feature live play-by-play commentary and analysis from the renowned commentary team of GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade. Live spectators may take in all the action as it unfolds in the upstairs tournament hall of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, with admission free-of-charge for annual, monthly and day members.